The IHSAA announced today that the Indianapolis Colts are the new presenting sponsor for the IHSAA Football Tournament Series. As presenting sponsor, the Colts will sponsor and support the entire Indiana high school football state tournament starting from the sectional games up to the championship stage.
The championship games will remain at Lucas Oil Stadium through the 2011-12 school year.
"This one-of-a-kind type of sponsorship is like no other that I know of in the country," said IHSAA Commissioner Blake Ress.
"The Indianapolis Colts commitment to the local community and the community at large certainly made this type of sponsorship agreement possible."
As presenting sponsor for the next three years the Colts will support a number of program elements that promote scholarship, leadership, and service to the communities throughout Indiana
"The Indianapolis Colts have a long standing commitment to youth football in Indiana. This felt like a natural fit," said Tom Zupancic, Colts Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing.
"It really made sense for the Colts to be a part of the memory making process."
Last year the IHSAA Football tournament had a record tying 317 teams participate with over 23,000 individuals. Nearly 400,000 people attended the 312 tournament games.
Attendance at the state finals in the newly completed Lucas Oil Stadium reached a staggering 56,050 – a new state record.
While the 2008 football tournament was a success, the increase in operating expenses to hold the state finals at Lucas Oil Stadium was potentially problematic for the IHSAA.
"This plan has been more than a year in the making and [the Colts'] financial involvement will help reduce the ever-increasing expenses associated with holding the state finals at Lucas Oil Stadium," added Ress.
"Without this deal we would not be able to continue playing at Lucas Oil Stadium."
The revenue generated from the football tournament is used to offset the costs of 11 non-revenue sport tournaments. Those 11 tournaments have also met with increases in overall operating expenses.
"We hope this relationship goes far beyond the three years in front of us now," said Zupancic.