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Statistically speaking: City gets $500,000 football playoff bump

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They say everything is bigger in Texas. Evidently that sometimes includes the amount of total revenue produced by the high school football playoffs, at least in small cities like Abilene.

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Abilene's Shotwell Stadium

Abilene's Shotwell Stadium

That was made clear by a recent story from Abilene's KTXS News, which reported that the city brought in more than $500,000 from hosting playoff games in 2010 at sites like Shotwell Stadium, which is pictured above. That total would be a notable windfall for any civic area, but for a city of just 117,000, it's a potential game-changer for area businesses across a one-month period.

Incredibly, that $500,000 number only gets more impressive when you consider the fact that the city -- which is approximately a three-hour drive from Austin and a 2 1/2-hour drive from Dallas -- only hosted six games in 2010.

That's right, Abilene, Texas, brought in between $80,000 and $90,000 per playoff game in 2010. And unlike major sporting events like the Super Bowl or Final Four, nearly all the money generated in Abilene stayed in Abilene; all the concession stands were staffed by Abilene school members and generated profits for Abilene schools, fans stayed in Abilene hotels run and staffed by Abilene citizens and ate at Abilene restaurants.

That genuine income generation stands in contrast to the numbers cited for events like the Super Bowl, at which major companies can parachute in before an event, generate major profits on the back of fans in temporary locations and then leave without reinvesting their new revenue in the local economy.

Perhaps the best part about the high school football bump is just how steady it could prove to be. Abilene will again host Texas' six-man state championship game in 2011, and while it's unknown how many other playoff games will be played at one of the city's facilities, Abilene's relatively central location makes it an ideal neutral site for area and regional playoff games where schools situated hundreds of miles apart have to come to a compromise on where to face off.

Based on the fact that the city already hosted one game in the current playoffs, it would be shocking if it brought in fewer than six this time around.

That in turn means that the 19th-biggest city in the state will stand to gain nearly $5 per citizen during the holiday season. That's just more proof that in Texas, football truly is king, in every way imaginable.

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