May 20, 2009
FOOTBALL STATE FINALS TO REMAIN AT LUCAS OIL STADIUM
Indianapolis Colts Sponsorship and Mayor’s Involvement Allows Indianapolis
To Continue as Host for the Next Three Years
The Indiana High School Athletic Association, Inc. today announced a three-year presenting sponsorship agreement with the Indianapolis Colts that will result in the IHSAA Football State Finals remaining at Lucas Oil Stadium through the 2011-12 school year.
The Indianapolis Colts will sponsor and support the entire Indiana high school football state tournament – including sectional, regional, and semi-state games across Indiana and culminating with the championship games at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts are believed to be the first professional sports franchise in the country to partner with a high school association for this type of sponsorship.
“We are extremely pleased and appreciative of the Indianapolis Colts involvement in making sure high school football continues at Lucas Oil Stadium,” said Blake Ress, IHSAA Commissioner. “This plan has been more than a year in the making and their financial involvement will help reduce the ever-increasing expenses associated with holding the state finals at Lucas Oil Stadium. This one-of-a-kind type of sponsorship is like no other that I know of in the country. The Indianapolis Colts commitment to the local community and the community at large certainly made this type of sponsorship agreement possible.”
“The Colts organization has a long standing commitment to youth football in Indiana and our new relationship with the IHSAA is an extension of that commitment,” said Tom Zupancic, Colts Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing. “The IHSAA and the Indianapolis Colts have a common goal of developing the core values of young athletes. It is an honor to join forces with such an outstanding organization.”
“The IHSAA would also like to thank Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard for his leadership in making sure we continue to play championship high school football in Lucas Oil Stadium in front of thousands of fans,” said Ress.
Mayor Ballard understands the importance of keeping the football state finals here in Indianapolis. “It is critical that the capital city of our state remain the home of our high school championships and I am thrilled the IHSAA and the Indianapolis Colts worked together to make this happen,” said Mayor Ballard. “I continue to believe that Lucas Oil Stadium is a community gathering place for our entire state and I am pleased that we will continue to call it the home of the IHSAA Football State Finals.”
The IHSAA has been looking for ways to continue to provide the football playoff system in a professional and exciting fashion while keeping in mind that individual team costs and the expenses to host the state championships were becoming an issue.
Last fall’s state championships, which were played in Lucas Oil Stadium for the first time, drew a record crowd of 40,680 to Saturday’s three games (Class 3A, 4A and 5A). Coupled with Friday’s attendance (Class A and 2A), the state finals drew an overall record total of 56,050.
The football state finals have been played in Indianapolis since 1984. They were played at the RCA Dome from 1984-2007 before moving into Lucas Oil Stadium in 2008.