Mo’ Bull: Economic impact of PBR events expand in second year
The Don Artemio Restaurant in Fort Worth had only recently opened in March 2022 when its location near the Will Rogers Coliseum area began to pay off.
The reason? The Professional Bull Riders World Finals event was being held in Fort Worth at Dickies Arena for the first time.
“When we were looking for locations for the restaurant, we thought it would be good for us to be near the coliseum for the Stock Show,” said Don Artemio, general manager and co-owner of the acclaimed Mexican restaurant at 3268 West 7th St.. “We didn’t really think about events such as the PBR, but those have really helped us.”
Visit Fort Worth estimated last year’s economic impact of the PBR championship at about $23 million to the area. Attendance for the first year was about 150,000. Visit Fort Worth expects a $28 million annual economic impact over the course of the three-year contract.
Artemio notes that, because the PBR events begin about 7:30 p.m., the diners tend to come early about 4 p.m., a time when the restaurant is typically not as busy.
“It really starts our dinner business early, which is great for us,” he said.
Farther away from the Dickies Arena, Reata Restaurant in downtown Fort Worth sees much of the same impact.
“I would say the early diners usually come here before the shows usually,” said Mike Micallef, president of Reata Restaurants. “That’s extremely helpful to us and a lot of other restaurants. It fills in those gaps.”
Reata is also doing catering for the PBR, he said.
For Visit Fort Worth, seeing PBR attendees spend their dollars locally is what they have been counting on, said Jason Sands, vice president of sports for Visit Fort Worth.
“People are going to be in the Stockyards, they’re going to be at Dickie’s Arena,” he said. “They’re going to enjoy that authentic experience that we provide at Fort Worth, and we’re excited about it because PBR is doing better than they’ve ever done before. All this momentum’s all going in the same direction for a great World Finals in Fort Worth.”
Fort Worth has been courting the Professional Bull Riders Inc. and its high-profile events for some time. The event had been held in glitzy Las Vegas since 1994.
“It makes sense for them to be in Fort Worth,” said Sands. “We’re a modern city that can offer an authentic Western experience.”
Fort Worth and Tarrant County invested $3 million to fulfill Visit Fort Worth’s agreement with Professional Bull Riders Inc. The city approved that $1.5 million allocation in October 2021 as part of a $6 million investment of American Rescue Plan Act dollars into Visit Fort Worth. Using state funds from an economic development program, Tarrant County approved a $1.5 million agreement with Visit Fort Worth.
Area officials also are working to extend that contract beyond 2024, Sands said.
The first year was a little different, Sands said. The previous championship had been held in Las Vegas in November, so there were only a few months to turn around and do another, Sands said.
“This year, we’ve had a full year to plan and get ready for the event, and I think when we’re finished this year, we’ll have a better idea of what the economic benefits will be,” he said.
While the spotlight is on Dickies Arena, the league will also bring World Finals-related events and programming to Cowtown Coliseum in the Stockyards, the Fort Worth Convention Center and the Will Rogers Complex in Fort Worth, and the flagship PBR Bar at Texas Live! in Arlington.
The Stockyards Heritage Development Co. recently completed a $3 million upgrade and expansion to Cowtown Coliseum. In partnership with the city of Fort Worth, ASM Global and PBR, the 120-year old Cowtown Coliseum is debuting state-of-the-art technology, including all-new sound systems and 4K video displays, expanded premium seating options and 300 additional seats.
If Fort Worth residents aren’t heading to the PBR events, the PBR may be heading to them. PBR has launched its first dedicated boutique with a new mobile merchandise truck that will be based in the Stockyards.
According to PBR officials, the Mo’ Bull merchandise truck will “help us increase our presence in the Stockyards, while promoting World Finals.” The PBR will also be testing new Western lifestyle products to see if a stand-alone store might make sense, PBR officials said. This new pop-up boutique truck will have exclusive styles, focused on fashion-forward women’s styles.
Fort Worth also is receiving plenty of publicity from the PBR partnership, Sands said.
“They’re in 40 different arenas throughout their season from LA to New York, and in every single one of those markets, they’re promoting the World Finals in Fort Worth,” said Sands.
PBR is on CBS Sports every weekend and they have commercials and signage touting Fort Worth, he said.
“It’s just a great partnership to really tell the Fort Worth story on a national stage with an international entertainment partner,” he said.
The PBR also is attracting several new sponsors who have events tied into the World Finals.
Ariat Boots, which has a large warehouse in Fort Worth, is a PBR partner and the company is adding a 5K/3K fun run in the Stockyards on Saturday, May 20. The fun run ties into the brands emphasis on their boots which are designed more like athletic shoes.
“As a member of the Fort Worth community and longtime sponsor of the PBR and Ariat Texas Rattlers, it was a natural to be the title sponsor of the Ariat PBR 5K/3K race,” said Susan Alcala, Ariat’s vice president of partnership marketing.
Other events related to the PBR
- The PBR Team Series Draft on May 17 at Cowboy Channel Studios in the Stockyards (fans can watch on Cowboy Channel and RidePass on Pluto TV)
- The Dirty 30 Party at Billy Bob’s on May 17 will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the PBR. The event will be hosted by Larry the Cable Guy, with Ryan Bingham of “Yellowstone,” and Chris Janson performing as headliners.
- The Red Carpet Premiere of “The Ride” will be 6 p.m. Sunday, May 14, at Cowboy Channel Studios. “The Ride” is an eight-episode series looking at the 2022 inaugural season of the PBR Team Series. It will debut on Amazon Prime Video later this month. About half of the series was shot in Texas.
If You Go
2023 PBR World Finals Schedule
Events are held at Dickies Arena, Cowtown Coliseum and other areas around the city.
For the full schedule, check the Professional Bull Riders page.
Bob Francis is business editor for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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