$70M high school football stadiums-Only in Texas

In Celina Texas, a suburb of Dallas-Fort Worth, sits Bobcat stadium current  capacity 3,800, regularly packed, might soon be unable to cope with demand for tickets. Is a new stadium under consideration? You bet. Like their nearby neighbors in McKinney with a new $70, 12,000 seat stadium under construction. The stadium will be shared by the city’s three other high schools.

That followed hard on the heels of a $60m, 18,000-capacity venue for neighboring Allen – which has one high school – completed in 2012. Local media have called the sprouting of expensive stadiums among rival school districts in affluent suburbs an arms race. The adjacent Frisco, meanwhile, entered a partnership with the Dallas Cowboys for its schools to play in the NFL team’s new indoor practice facility built in the city. The Frisco independent school district is chipping in $30m so area kids can run out at The Ford Center at The Star, capacity 12,000.

High school football is a big deal in Texas, and communities are looking to expand. People pay more taxes and are willing to support these stadiums and facilities that from the outside looking in look terribly grandiose or overdone to some degree. But I haven’t heard any apologies. People aren’t apologizing for having good facilities for their students, and obviously especially for athletes.”

These new stadiums are a boon for their communities. Kids from smaller towns like his look forward to the opportunity to play in them.

In most cases these new stadiums are funded by bonds approved at the ballot box by voters living within the relevant school district. And as tax money used to repay these bonds is exempt from wealth equalization, school districts are free to use this local money for the construction of new facilities at the discretion of local voters. Robin Hood does not apply.

Some argue the stadiums provide lucrative revenues streams – scoreboards, for example, could be attractive to advertisers. Particularly in the south, the popularity of high school football is immense. Texas might be considered the epicenter.

This is the same direction colleges have taken 30 years ago and marks the beginning of power schools and power conferences in Texas high school football.


November 18, 2016