The mistake that forced the University Interscholastic League to move its state championship games to NRG Stadium in Houston has proved to be a costly one.
According to records obtained by the Dallas Morning News, the UIL was charged nearly half a million dollars to use NRG Stadium for the three day event.
SMG World, the property managing firm who operates NRG Stadium among other venues, charged the UIL a staggering $495,000 for using NRG Park. The Park, which is owned and leased by Harris county, houses five total venues, including the no longer in use, eyesore of a structure, the Astrodome.
Dropping half a million to use NRG Stadium may not sound like a lot, but for comparison, Cowboys Stadium L.P. charged the UIL $150,000 to use AT&T Stadium for four days in 2014. AT&T Stadium was selected as the site for the state championships once again in 2015, but the event dates conflicted with the Dallas Cowboys schedule, forcing the UIL to find a new home.
The cost is just one of the countless reasons why Houston may not see another UIL football state championship for a while.
The contingent of fans who are in favor of having a rotation among a handful of cities have limited options at their disposal. The only other stadium that meets the UIL requirements for a state championship is San Antonio’s Alamodome, which is currently undergoing a $43 million renovation that won’t be completed until November 2017. Meanwhile, Houston still faces criticism for lack of attendance of the championship games after the UIL saw a drop of 94,509 in attendance over the three day span, leading to the state championship being a net loss for the league.
Unless the UIL relaxes its standards and requirements for the games (an outdoor venue wouldn’t be the worst thing), AT&T Stadium could easily wind up being a permanent home for the foreseeable future.
Discussions and plans for next year’s title games have already begun, with an announcement likely to come near the end of summer.