Dallas gets interactive football experience space

There was a time when football was the undisputed king of professional sports in Texas, especially in Dallas. We kind of grew to love baseball, basketball, and maybe even hockey, but that’s about it. Football was so low on the popularity list that it might as well have been an extreme ironing.

Of course, that all started to slowly change when Dallas started its own football team, the Dallas Burn, in 1995. The team changed its name to FC Dallas nearly a decade later. Then the USA women’s team became a dominant force, winning four World Cups. After David Beckham took a big leap from top-seeded Manchester United to the Los Angeles Galaxy, the Hank Hills of the world gave up trying to convince their children that football is just European ballet with a ball.

Then Ted Lasso past. ‘Nuff said.

All of this skyrocketed the popularity of football, not just in Texas, but across the country. A national Gallup poll published in 2018 revealed that football was just as popular in the United States as baseball.

A new sports entertainment experience called TOCA Social focuses on America other national hobby. And it makes perfect sense that Dallas was chosen for its first installation in America.

Former English Premier League midfielder Eddie Lewis founded TOCA Social in London as “the world’s first interactive football and dining experience combining immersive games and world-class food and drink”, according to the official website.

The soccer experience is essentially a combination of motion-tracking game technology, a “modern American-inspired menu,” and the ability to rent stellar soccer cleats instead of bowling shoes that seem to come from the era of the Great Depression.

The game rooms consist of a playing field, soccer balls, and a large flat screen that provides players with hitting targets. Each pod has four interactive games of varying degrees of difficulty. Beginner games include simple target shooting Strikerstrategic team play Eliminator and the chain reaction Atom Separator. The TOCA Challenge consists of 15 levels of specialized targets that get harder and faster with each completed shot and allow players to use only one bullet per level.
The 56,000 square foot space at Dallas’ TOCA social facility will offer four bars with food service and 34 football pods for games for up to 12 participants. The three-story attraction will be built in the Design District on Riverfront Boulevard, with views of the Dallas skyline. The opening is scheduled for next year.

Soccer isn’t the only professional sport that isn’t soccer growing its presence in Dallas. Major League Cricket (MLC) reached an agreement with the City of Grand Prairie earlier this year to turn the former Airhogs baseball ground into a professional cricket oval, after the team retired from play in 2020 in due to the coronavirus pandemic. MLC’s proposal shows that the new facility is expected to open in the spring of next year.

The cricket stadium will have 7,000 seats for the public and 1,000 club and premium seats for fans who can afford them. The stadium will host home matches with a squad to be announced later this year, as well as further professional International Cricket Council T20 World Cup matches in 2024.

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