SBD/June 22, 2011/Events and Attractions

High School Football All-Star Games Experiencing Recent Boom, Business Success

High school football all-star games becoming important part of recruiting process
High school football all-star games have become “very professional and part of the big business that surrounds college football recruiting,” according to Jim Halley of USA TODAY. Before ’01, there were “no national high school football all-star games.” The launch of the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in January “will make it five.” All American Games Dir of PR Adam Liberman, whose company runs the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, said, “It’s amazing where this has all gone. I didn’t start with the company until August and had no idea how big this has gotten.” Halley notes the games are “advertising vehicles for enterprises seeking to reach an elusive demographic: 18- to 22-year-old men.” Intersport Associate VP/Sponsorship & Events Drew Russell, whose company promotes the Under Armour All-America Game, said, “Sponsorship drives these games … the right sponsor who is looking to make an impact in the high school space.” The games have “become a way for players to draw national attention by announcing their non-binding college intentions.” The games also “make money off underclassmen combines that draw future players.” Virginia high school football coach Patrick Kane said, “I don’t put a lot of value in combines. They’re part of the marketing scheme.” High school coaches also are “concerned about a new form of recruitment that has accompanied all-star games’ growth.” NCAA rules “limit seniors to two postseason all-star games,” and the “competition among game organizers for top players is fierce.” Halley notes some players “begin committing to the games as early as a year in advance” (USA TODAY, 6/22).
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