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It’s often said high school football in Texas is like a religion. From the prolific players and intense fans to the multimillion dollar stadiums that rival many college stadiums, Texans love high school football.
In a little more than two weeks, towns across the state will fire up the Friday night lights for yet another season. But how many stadiums and how many fans?
According to Texasbob.com, the state of Texas has 1,305 active football stadiums. Together, those stadiums hold a staggering 4,130,440 people. That’s more than the population of 25 states.
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While many teams continue to play in their original stadiums, some teams have hit the jackpot and play in stadiums that include state of the art weight rooms, locker rooms, field turf, and video scoreboards or even more modest newer facilities.
LBJ High, part of the Johnson City ISD, will be calling a new place home for the first time in more than 60 years. Eagle Field will replace Shockley Stadium, a stadium that opened its gates in 1949. Shockley Stadium is a natural grass field with a capacity of about 1,200 people.
The largest home field in terms of capacity last season with Toyota Stadium in Frisco, home of a Major League Soccer franchise, but Frisco ISD is moving its games to the Dallas Cowboys’ new practice facility.
Nine stadiums in Texas hold more than 16,500 fans, with schools seeking options every year for bigger and better stadiums.
While bigger districts have more financial resources when it comes to building new stadiums, small schools throughout the state have made the switch from grass to artificial turf, which costs upwards of $1 million. Some schools have offset those costs with outside agreements for naming rights.
As the Friday night lights glow across the state in 2016, a new generation of fans will walk into the stands as their team takes the field. Every player will hear the roar of the crowd, look into the stands and remember that moment, because high school football will be back.
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