Bill would help Arlington's Cowboys Stadium score college football championship

Posted Friday, Feb. 08, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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ARLINGTON - State Sen. Kelly Hancock has authored legislation to help Texas sports venues, including Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, score a BCS National Championship game in future years.

The current NCAA Bowl Championship Series is among events eligible to participate in the state's Major Events Trust Fund, which the Legislature created to attract events to Texas that are normally held in other states.

Hancock filed Senate Bill 398 this week to add language so that the NCAA's new subdivision championship format, which will change to a four-team, three-game playoff system in 2014, remains eligible for funding.

"These events benefit sponsoring communities, participating member institutions and student-athletes. It is important that our community not be left out because of something as simple as a name change," Hancock said in a prepared statement.

Tommy Bain, chairman of the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association, told the Star-Telegram last month that bowl officials are "cautiously optimistic" about bringing the 2015 national championship game to Cowboys Stadium. The AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic has been held at Cowboys Stadium since 2010. Bowl officials are campaigning to have the Cotton Bowl Classic become part of the BCS under the new format.

Cowboys spokesman Brett Daniels said Friday that the team is working closely with the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic about bidding to become a host venue.

"The college football world is still trying to define what that bid would be. It's definitely something we are interested in pursuing once we get those details," Daniels said.

Arlington has previously used the Major Event Trust Fund to recover expenses for hosting the 2010 NBA All-Star Game, Super Bowl XLV in 2011 and the Offense-Defense Bowl at the city-owned Cowboys Stadium.

The state comptroller sets aside millions of dollars in sales, liquor, rental car and hotel occupancy tax revenue projected to be generated from out-of-town visitors and uses that money to help cities, counties or committees defray the expense of hosting an event.

"Major sporting events like NCAA Bowl Championship Series playoff games or the Super Bowl bring an immense amount of economic benefits to our state and local economies," Hancock wrote. "SB 398 will ensure the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision's eligibility to compete for these funds in the future."

Super Bowl XLV, for example, brought an estimated $7.7 million to the North Texas region based on applicable city and county tax rates, Hancock said. The state received an estimated $294.7 million in direct spending associated with the 2011 game at Cowboys Stadium, he said.

Susan Schrock, 817-709-7578

Twitter: @susanschrock

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