Bill would help land BCS title game at Cowboys Stadium

Posted Friday, Apr. 12, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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State lawmakers passed a bill Friday geared to help Cowboys Stadium land a BCS National Championship game in future years.

The measure that ensures the stadium in Arlington is eligible for state funds to help draw the college football competition to North Texas -- even after the NCAA subdivision championship format changes next year -- gained final approval by the Texas House and now heads to Gov. Rick Perry for consideration.

"It is my hope that this bill allows Arlington to compete as the host site for the first National Championship game under the new playoff structure, which would be the first time Texas has hosted such a game in 35 years," said state Rep. Diane Patrick, R-Arlington, who shepherded the measure through the House.

The proposal, Senate Bill 398, was crafted by state Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, and has already been approved by the Texas Senate.

The bill adds 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 through the state's Major Events Trust Fund.

The fund is among the primary incentive programs managed by the comptroller's office to help the state and its cities attract or keep high-profile events ranging from football bowl games to auto races.

This bill ensures the NCAA will still be able to participate in the program by "including the name of its new format, a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Football Bowl Subdivision postseason playoff or championship game," according to a statement from Hancock's office.

"It is important that our community not be left out because of something as simple as a name change," Hancock said in an earlier statement.

No one has registered opposition to this bill, but supporters include the Texas Municipal League, Texas Association of Campground Owners, Texas Travel Industry Association, the Downtown Arlington Management Corp. and the cities of Arlington, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Dallas.

"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 has said. "SB 398 will ensure the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision's eligibility to compete for these funds in the future."

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

Patrick credits her North Texas colleagues -- including state Reps. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, Bill Zedler, R-Arlington, and Chris Turner, D-Arlington -- for helping the bill pass the House with bipartisan support.

"This legislation ensures that Texas has the opportunity to continue to participate in hosting this most treasured college football event," she said.

This article includes information from the Star-Telegram archives.

Anna M. Tinsley, (817) 390-7610

Twitter: @annatinsley

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