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September 08, 2004

Report: Texas High School Football Is Big

FROM THE LONE STAR STATE comes a thorough analysis of the huge popularity of high school—and middle school—football.

Texans delight in brashly boasting of their bigness in all manner of physical, cultural, geological and attitudinal attributes. Sometimes this boasting is bluster, sometimes it’s factual.

A recent report by the Dallas Morning News has verified that in football—especially at the middle school and high school levels—Texas is indisputably big—in fact, the biggest by far.


Consider:

• Texas has far more high school football players than any other state. About 160,000 play football in grades 9-12 for Texas' approximately 1300 public and private schools, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations. California, with a population half again larger than Texas, ranks second with less than 100,000.

• Taking consideration of the multiplier effect, Texas high school football rolls up to almost a billion (with a “b”) dollars--an estimated $900 million--in total fan spending each year and the equivalent of 8800 full-time jobs.

• For game tickets, programs, concessions, merchandise, travel, meals and lodging alone fans spend at least $275 million a season.

• Nowhere is the impact more visible than in the stadiums built by school districts. Just in the Dallas area alone, at least $180 million will be spent on new varsity stadiums in the four year period ending in 2006.

• In the Dallas-Fort Worth area alone, there are 21 stadiums that seat 10,000 or more. In other states considered to be football hotbeds (California, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida) 7000-seat high school football stadiums are considered large.

• There are an estimated 16,000 and 18,000 football coaches in Texas for grades 7-12.


In typical Texan hyperbole, says Johnny Bledsoe, president of Waco-based Sturdisteel Co., which builds stadiums throughout the country, says, "Other parts of the country think their high school football is big. It ain't."

It’s official. Texas high school football is big.


(this 316 word excerpt—with attendant commentary—was extracted from a 2448 word article in the Dallas Morning News of 9-6-04)