Texas' passion for high school football is reflected in the size of the stadiums.
It’s not uncommon to see out-of-town travelers stopping at Allen High School’s new Eagle Stadium, even when there is no game taking place. They simply want to see this $60 million, 18,000-seat jewel that vividly illustrates the passion that Texas has for high school football.
“We actually have tourists come to Allen and drive over to look at the stadium,” says Tim Carroll, public information director for the Allen ISD. “We’ve drawn national attention.”
Allen’s old stadium had only 7,000 seats, and by the 1990s, as many as 14,000 people were showing up for games. So since a new facility was needed, the community approved construction of one of the best high school stadiums in the country, complete with double-deck seating, a giant HD video screen/ scoreboard, a three-tier press box and entertainment plazas behind each end zone.
The stadium opened in 2012, and the Eagles regularly drew crowds in excess of 15,000. Carroll says 9,000 season tickets were sold for the 2013 season.
Allen is hardly alone in the state’s love of what has been famously called the Friday Night Lights of high school football. A number of teams play in front of crowds of 15,000 to 20,000, and stadiums throughout the state reflect that passion.
San Antonio’s Alamo Stadium, which was built in 1940, remains the largest high school stadium in Texas with a seating capacity of 23,000. The Frisco Independent School District plays home games at 21,193-seat Pizza Hut Park, whose primary tenant is the FC Dallas Major League Soccer team.
High school games also are played at Mesquite Memorial Stadium (20,000), Farrington Field in Fort Worth (18,500), Buccaneer Stadium in Corpus Christi (18,000), Ratliff Stadium in Odessa (17,931), San Angelo Stadium (17,500), Veteran’s Memorial Stadium in Pasadena (16,800) and Stallworth Stadium in Baytown (16,500).