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High School Sports Blog

The latest news and analysis on high-school sports around the Seattle area

September 3, 2007 at 3:41 PM

High-school football and big business

Every once in awhile, I’d like to bring you stories from around the country about trends in high-school athletics and try and get a pulse for what you think about them.

Today, I finished this story from Sunday’s Washington Post about the commercialization of high-school football with conflicting opinions. Really, it was the final paragraph, a quote from a senior VP for a sports marketing firm operating a high-school football event, that caught me:

“We hope it to be a for-profit venture,”[Ira] Stahlberger said. “The two big parts of the revenue model are sponsorship and attendance. We’re feeling good about sponsorships. We’ll see who shows up this weekend.”

I read that statement with cautious concern. As a reporter, it’s refreshing to hear someone tell the truth, rather hiding behind a statement like “It’s all for the kids.” And it’s encouraging to see people embrace high-school football. But when I read “a for-profit venture,” I doubt I’m the only one at least a little worried about how financial influences could have an impact on the sport and high schools themselves.

I’d hate to extrapolate any more from a single story, so I’ll leave it at that. A pair of writers from the Northy County Times in Southern California had a debate about this that you can read here. I do tend to agree with this statement: “It’s exciting, yes, but let’s not forget that these superstar athletes have math homework to do.”

I’d like to hear your opinions and kickstart a discussion here. What are your thoughts and concerns about the increasing business interest in high-school athletics? As always, you can comment below or e-mail me at twyrwich@seattletimes.com.

I hope you’re ready for another big week of high-school news. Our volleyball and girls soccer previews are on their way, and with those seasons getting a move on, we’ll have even more ground to cover here in the blog. I’m looking forward to it.

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