If there was ever any question that the Texas 5A Division I quarterfinal matchup between Euless Trinity (Texas) High and rival Coppell (Texas) High could have drawn plenty more fans than the 12,000 who packed Southlake Caroll (Texas) High's Dragon Stadium, those questions were answered by some amazing TV data. According to the Dallas Morning News, via Dallas/Forth Worth-area TV station KTVT, nearly 100,000 in the station's viewing area watched Trinity scrape past Coppell on the final play of a game, 41-40, which some have called one of the best in the long history of Texas' premier high school tournament.
Not only was the game the second-highest high school football broadcast rating ever pulled in by KTVT (which routinely broadcasts big high school games), it was also a standout performer among all sports broadcasts in the Dallas area last week. The Trinity-Coppell showdown's 1.5 share and 4 rating was only a tiny shade below the 1.8 rating and 5 share that LeBron James and the Heat's return to Cleveland received on Thursday night.
Considering the fact that the LeBron-Cleveland 5 share was the second-most viewed program on Thursday night, that speaks volumes about just how many people were watching high school football on television Friday.
Of course, 100,000 watching on TV also underlines just how much revenue was missed out on by playing the game at Dragon Stadium, too. As we wrote last week, the two teams passed on hosting the game at 30,000-plus Ford Stadium on the campus of SMU. Such a move would have generated a huge additional cash flow for both schools, a number somewhere in the realm of $75,000 or more per school, according to the Morning News' Corbett Smith.
Given the current economic recession and tight educational budgets, rejecting that extra money seems a bit foolhardy, just as turning away so many potential fans could be a drastic decision. Yet something tells us that Trinity could get another 40,000 fans at its state semifinal game against Round Rock Stony Point this week in Waco (the teams will play at Baylor's Floyd Casey Stadium) or, if it advances, in the state finals back at Cowboys Stadium.
At the end of the day, whether fans felt jilted or not in earlier rounds, this is still excellent high school football in the state of Texas, and that's what fans want to see, whether in Dragon Stadium or the much larger venue it deserves.
- the Dallas Morning News