If you thought Texas high school football stadiums couldn't get any more lavish or costly, just wait. We take our football games on Friday nights very seriously so the investments the state makes into their high school stadiums might shock you. Did you expect anything less from the state that inspired Friday Night Lights?
Katy Independent School District (ISD), located just west of Houston, has a $72 million sports facility that broke the record set by McKinney ISD. Why spend money on a Cowboys game when you can get season tickets to one of these massive high school stadiums?
Officially named "Legacy Stadium," the facility supplants McKinney ISD's $70 million 12,000 seat facility as Texas's most expensive high school sports venue. This dubious honor was previously held by Allen Eagle Stadium from Allen High School outside of Dallas, which seats 18,000 and cost $60 million. The new stadium (as of 2017) hosts eight Houston area high school football teams. The Allen ISD stadium is still considered the largest high school stadium in the state as Katy only holds 12,000 spectators.
The Katy ISD school board voted to approve "Legacy Stadium" as the name for the new $72 million facility. School officials agreed to name the field inside the stadium after longtime Katy High School coach Mike Johnston. Johnston coached at KHS for over 20 years and led the team to three state championships.
The name announcement came after the school district signed a 10-year sponsorship contract with Academy Sports & Outdoors, which will recoup just over two million dollars for the school district.
According to the Houston Chronicle, the sporting goods giant supplied Katy's naming committee with a large binder full of possible names such as "Tradition Stadium" and "Katy Prairie Land Stadium".
McKinney ISD made national headlines when word got out of plans to build a $70 million stadium which also seats 12,000. The project even caught the attention of the folks at Comedy Central's Adult Swim, which reportedly referred to Texans as "asshats" for approving such a sum.
Katy ISD originally approved the plan in 2014.
"I don't want to belabor the 2014 bond and where we are in the cost," Superintendent Lance Hindt told the Chronicle. "I believe when the stadium opens, that all of that will be a distant memory because the community will rally around ... the stadium. Legacy Stadium was something that was needed for our students and district." Hindt wasn't at Katy ISD three years ago when the costs were approved.
This was originally posted on August 14, 2017 but has since been updated.