Entries in Football (5)


$60 Million for a High School Football Stadium?

Darrin Klimek/Thinkstock(ALLEN, Texas) -- To say that football is a big deal in Texas is a bit like saying it snows in Alaska.

“There’s a long tradition in both film and novels of how important high school football is in Texas,” said Tom Palaima, a professor at the University of Texas, Austin, and a former representative of the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics, a faculty organization that monitors sports expenditures on college campuses.

Friday Night Lights, anyone?

Still, it’s hard to imagine that a high school would invest $59.6 million in its football stadium. But that’s precisely the cost of the sparkling new Eagle Stadium at Allen High School, in Allen, Texas, a Dallas suburb. The stadium -- which boasts a video scoreboard, artificial turf, a multi-level press box, a weight room, a wrestling room and seats for 18,000 -- opened Thursday with a pep rally and introduction of the 2012 team.  The new season begins on Aug. 31.

While students and their parents seem to be thrilled with it, some Texans are less impressed. Yes, the stadium was funded with a $119 million bond package approved by voters in May 2009 -- passing with 63.66 percent of the vote, no less. (The bond issue also includes $36.5 million for a transportation, maintenance and nutrition center and a $23.3 million auditorium for the district’s performing arts programs.)

But does a high school need a $60 million football stadium, especially when state education budgets are so slim? Never mind that the median household in Allen is $95,000 per year, almost double the national average.

“It’s lamentable that people want to do this with their own money and the money of their community,” said Palaima.  ”Young men and women are now understanding at the age of 8, 9, and 10 that their way to get into a good college or university is by participating in sports and not putting a focus on academics.”

Allen High principal Steve Payne disagreed. “We are an exemplary high school,” he told ABC News. “I think our first class facilities tell everybody that we have first class academics and first class kids. Without them, we wouldn’t have those first class facilities.”

U.S. News and World Report ranked the 5,700-student school 99th out of 1,842 schools in the state of Texas, and 1,219th out of 21,776 schools nationwide. Eighty-five percent of students go on to college, said Payne.

Allen football coach Tom Westerberg told Fox Sports Southwest that most of the negative publicity comes from people outside of town.  "I don’t really worry about that a whole lot,” he said.  "We’ve drawn quite a few people to the games and I think for the majority of the big games it will be full.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Nike Unveils Light, Sleek New NFL Uniforms

Nike(NEW YORK) -- It wasn’t your average fashion show. The NFL unveiled new uniforms, made by Nike, for each team in pro football Tuesday. The uniforms were shown at a gridiron-themed presentation attended by NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell and New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz, among other players, and featured 32 models who weren’t exactly sample size.

The new designs are a result of Nike’s new licensing partnership with the NFL. The league’s previous apparel partner, Reebok, had been in charge of the NFL’s gear for more than a decade.

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The new uniforms feature lightweight materials and a tighter fit that, the company says, allows for easier movement.

“It feels good,” said Seattle Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor, who said there was a better range of motion in the new uniform. “The way they have the uniform cut, I mean, I think they have it down to a T.”

In addition to uniform’s new fabric, they also feature “customizable baselayer padding” that can be moved and helps to protects players.

From a distance, most of the uniforms do not look dramatically different.  The Seattle Seahawks did use the occasion to update their look, which now features a bit of neon green and a few design elements that give more emphasis to the Native American heritage of the Pacific Northwest.

For most teams the most striking change will be on the player’s gloves, difficult to spot from the stands. Each pair of gloves will feature the team’s logo, visible only when a player interlocks his fingers.

The new uniforms will make their debut on the field during the upcoming 2012 season.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Seized: $5 Million In Fake Super Bowl Souvenirs

The Official NFL Logo (NFL)(WASHINGTON) -- The New England Patriots aren’t the only ones who had a bad Super Bowl Sunday. Counterfeiters and vendors trying to make a buck hawking fake NFL t-shirts, caps and souvenirs, found themselves in the crosshairs of a federal crackdown that seized more than $5 million in counterfeit NFL goods, according to federal officials.

The nationwide, multi-agency law enforcement operation targeted stores, flea markets and street vendors selling knock-off, game-related sportswear in Indianapolis and throughout the country.

And the effort didn’t end with the retail outlets. Special agents and officers also targeted illegal counterfeit imports into the United States, and seized hundreds of websites engaged in selling counterfeit NFL gear or illegally streaming NFL games.

“In sports, players must abide by rules of the game, and in life, individuals must follow the laws of the land. Our message is simple: abiding by intellectual property rights laws is not optional; it’s the law,” ICE Director John Morton said in a statement.

The Super Bowl is traditionally a bonanza for counterfeiters, who rip-off NFL team logos and images to create knock-off t-shirts, caps, jackets and trinkets to sell to souvenir-hungry fans. But this year, law enforcement and the NFL geared up to defend against the counterfeit offensive. “Operation Fake Sweep,” launched Oct. 1, was a joint effort of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Indiana State Police, all in partnership with the NFL.

ICE issued these points on Tuesday to illustrate the impact of Operation Fake Sweep:

  • Authorities seized 50,703 items of phony Super Bowl-related memorabilia, and other counterfeit items, with a total value of $5.12 million.
  • In addition to Super Bowl gear, another 22,570 items of counterfeit merchandise and clothing representing other sports leagues, including Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association and National Hockey League were seized by law enforcement.
  • In total, the operation netted 73,273 counterfeit items worth $6.69 million.
  • On line merchants were not exempt; special agents seized 386 websites. As many as 370 domain names were illegally selling and distributing counterfeit merchandise. And 16 of the sites illegally streamed live sporting telecasts over the Internet, including NFL games, according to ICE.   Authorities placed a banner reading “Seized” over the websites, and are investigating the operators.

Yonjo Quiroa, 28, allegedly operated nine of the 16 websites seized by authorities for illegally streaming live sporting events from his home in Comstock Park, Mich. He was arrested last week and charged with criminal infringement of a copyright.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


NFL Lockout Threatens Chicken Wing Business

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- With NFL owners and players in a standoff, the CEO of one of the nation's largest chicken farms warns that a long-lasting football lockout would be bad news for a gameday staple, the chicken wing.

"It will be a major blow," said Joe Sanderson Jr., CEO of Sanderson Farms, the fourth largest poultry company in the U.S. "If we don't have Sunday football, the demand will go down tremendously, and of course, if that happens, the price will go down."

Chicken wings are big business. According to Sanderson, wings account for 12 percent of his company's output, and the National Chicken Council estimates that in 2011, more than 13.5 billion wings will be marketed. Of course, football and wings are inextricably linked.

"We sell about three million pounds of wings a week," Sanderson said. "And a lot of those wings to go sports bars."

And while all game days are big business for wings, the "absolute peak," Sanderson said, comes on Super Bowl Sunday. According to the National Chicken Council, more than 1.25 billion wings were consumed during last Super Bowl weekend.

Pro football owners and the players union are in a disagreement over how much pay players should earn and how long the season should last. If there is no season next year, the effects will be profound, Sanderson said.

While Sanderson says that while the NFL lockout won't force layoffs at his company, he believes that plenty of other businesses, like restaurants that cater to sports fans, will be in trouble if the season is scrapped.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Americans to Spend Big on Super Bowl

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) – A new survey suggests that Americans won’t just be watching the Super Bowl, a.k.a. the big game, but spending big money on everything from food to fan apparel in preparation.

AdAge reports that consumer spending for the Super Bowl is expected to reach $10.1 billion, according to the survey from the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association.

The figure would represent the largest spending for Super Bowl Sunday in the history of the survey.

"The consumer is feeling more optimistic," said Mike Gatti, executive director at RAMA. "Spending is starting to come back, and it's on these little splurgy things. It's not crazy. But people are saying we're going to crack open the wallet and do something."

Eighty-three percent of those surveyed said they would be purchasing Super Bowl-related items. The average amount that will be spent rose from $64 per person in 2010 to $71.51 this year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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