Girl Power

On July 27, athletes from around the world will march into Olympic Stadium to participate in the Opening Ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

As avid sports fans, we always look forward to watching the world’s best athletes compete on the biggest stage of them all. As Americans, we enthusiastically cheer on our own, taking pride in every athlete who dons the red-white-and-blue uniform.

During the 2012 Olympics, a total of 530 athletes will represent the United States in 25 different sports. What’s significant to note is that this year—for the first time in U.S. Olympic history— the women finally will outnumber the men.

The U.S. team is made up of 269 women and 261 men who will be vying for medals in London. Included in that count is equestrian Karen O’Connor, who, at age 54, is the oldest Olympian on the entire team, and swimmer Katie Ledecky, 15, the youngest.

It somehow seems appropriate that our nation’s most accomplished women athletes would achieve this feat on the 40-year anniversary of Title IX, the landmark legislation that has increased sports opportunities for millions of women since its implementation. This statistic also reverberates with all of us at Dallas Fan Fares, a company comprised of mostly female employees.

Throughout the years, we have taken great pride in distinctions such as “Top 500 Women-Owned Businesses in America,”  “Top 100 Women-Owned Businesses in Texas,” and “Top 500 Diversity Businesses in America,” as bestowed by and other industry organizations. And much like the U.S. Olympic squad, our “team” is filled with accomplished and talented women, ranging from recent college graduates to mothers of college graduates.

It’s a versatile group, reflecting a diversity of ages, backgrounds and skill sets (not to mention a few men who are as equally talented and accomplished as their female counterparts) and, together, we make one heck of a team!

And speaking of formidable teams, we can’t wait to start cheering on all the women and men who will be competing for our country at the London 2012 Olympic Games. It’s already a history-making squad, even before the first competition (which, interestingly enough, is women’s football) gets under way.

May the 2012 United States Olympic team continue to make history and headlines with its performances … and let the Games begin!

Did You Know? Dallas Fan Fares got its start 32 years ago when Kaye Burkhardt, a former schoolteacher and soon-to-be single mother needed to return to the workforce in order to provide for her four young children. The company has grown from its humble beginnings on Burkhardt’s kitchen table to a globally recognized leader in the fields of meeting management, incentive travel, destination management and sports hospitality, with a client list that includes Fortune 500 corporations and major sports conglomerates such as the National Football League.

North Texas, with a Capital ‘T’

Memo to all you die-hard college football fans out there: Go ahead and mark your calendars for January 12, 2015, and start making your travel plans for Arlington, Texas.

That’s when and where the 2014 national champion will be crowned, based on the culmination of the inaugural College Football Playoff. The heralded product of much discussion and debate, the new system is designed to determine that season’s No. 1 team in a process as straightforward as its name…replacing the existing and sometimes controversial Bowl Championship Series (BCS), which incorporates a combination of polls and computer rankings to determine its participants.

Much like the NCAA Basketball Tournament, the College Football Playoff will pit the nation’s top four teams in a bracket to decide which two programs will advance to the championship game at Cowboys Stadium. The winners of the Rose and Sugar Bowls, both played on January 1, 2015, will match up two weeks later in Arlington, centrally located approximately 12 miles east of downtown Fort Worth and 20 miles west of downtown Dallas.
Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas

Following the inaugural season of the College Football Playoff, the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic (also played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington) will join the six-bowl rotation (including the Chick-Fil-A, Fiesta and Orange Bowls) and will host the national semifinals once every three years, with its first semifinal game on Jan. 1, 2016.

“We think the new playoff will be the most dynamic improvement to college football in a generation,” said executive director Bill Hancock.

It’s also a victory for North Texas, which was selected as the site of the inaugural championship game by BCS commissioners in April, despite a heavy blitz by organizers in the Tampa Bay community.
Thirty-seven years after North Texas last played host to what resulted in the national title game—when fifth-ranked Notre Dame surprised No. 1 Texas, 38-10, on January 2, 1978, at the Cotton Bowl, vaulting the Irish to No. 1 in the final rankings—local organizers say they’re planning to “put on a show that all of North Texas will be proud of.”

Eight times the national championship has been won or lost in North Texas, all at the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic. The ninth time will be history-in-the-making, as the much-anticipated College Football Playoff replaces the BCS as the definitive factor in that season’s national champion.

Notre Dame vs. Alabama in the 2013 BCS National Title Game

The four-team College Football Playoff and its kickoff Championship Game marks a new era in the storied annals of NCAA college football…as well as an exciting time in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Nine months earlier, North Texas will play oh-so-gracious host to the 2014 NCAA Men’s Final Four, also at Cowboys Stadium.

That heady championship run begins and ends at the $1.2 billion, 100,000-plus seat home of the NFL’s Cowboys and the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic…which, apparently, turned out to be North Texas’ ace in the hole in securing two of sports’ biggest events.

“The stadium itself was the biggest determiner [in how North Texas was chosen as the inaugural site of the College Football Playoff Championship Game],” Hancock said. “It’s still the stadium with a capital ‘T.’”