WIAA aims to bring 2021 Gridiron Classic back to three outdoor football venues for high schools in Tacoma area – High School Sports News, Scores, Videos, Rankings
The Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association is in the process of securing leases for the state football championships to return to three outdoor venues in the greater Tacoma area.
WIAA said SBLive it has verbal agreements with Sparks Stadium in Puyallup and Mount Tahoma Stadium in Tacoma and has yet to secure Harry Lang Stadium in Lakewood as a third site.
“We are targeting the same three sites,” said WIAA spokesman Casey Johnson.
Johnson said the WIAA is waiting for the Lakewood School District, which operates the Harry Lang Stadium, to confirm that it is ready to host and that the stadium is available on December 4.
A final decision on the venues could be made at the next WIAA board meeting on September 26.
From now on, the standings will be split across the same venues as in 2019, with 1G and 4A matches at Mount Tahoma, 2G and 1A at Harry Lang Stadium, and 2A / 3A at Sparks Stadium. Unless the WIAA can secure Harry Lang Stadium, in which case Matches 2B and 1A will be staggered at the other two venues.
After the fall 2018 season, the WIAA moved away from the Tacoma Dome, where events have been held since 1995, citing rising rental costs and declining spectator numbers, due to comments that the Spectator experience has been diminished by renovations to improve the concert. ongoing experiment. Prior to the Tacoma Dome, the event was held at the Kingdome in Seattle from 1977 to 1994.
Learn more about the three stages:
Returning to a more cost-effective outdoor multi-site setup was not the only option discussed.
The WIAA has met with the University of Washington about the potential to bring the six-game event to Husky Stadium, although a deal could not be reached due to lack of available changing rooms and rental costs. students.
“UW has contractual obligations from a staff perspective that really make the cost of the venue out of reach for us,” Johnson said, “which we need to keep in mind as the event goes a long way in sustaining other events and programs. “
The last state football title was in December 2019. The state championships did not take place in the 2020-21 school year due to the pandemic.
After the Gridiron Classic 2019, the WIAA said the reviews were largely positive, although they are open to discussions about finding a larger venue. The COVID-19 pandemic dealt the association a financial blow as it did not host a state event – its biggest source of income – during the last school year.
“Good crowds, kids have to play in noisy and crowded stadiums, rather than empty museums,” Hoffman said after the Gridiron Classic in 2019. “It’s great, that’s what football should be like in the world. high school, that’s exactly what high school football should be like at the end of the day. “
In 2019, 11,178 people attended the six league games, a new historic record of over 2,000 spectators. Several games appeared to be close to their capacity. The combined capacity of the three stages is approximately 13,000.
Active high school football coaches interviewed by SBLive in July and August broadly supported the decision given the financial constraints of renting a large arena, although many expressed nostalgia for a one-venue format where athletes could compete in a large stadium and spectators could see all six games in one place over the course of two days.
“The kids were looking forward to playing in the Tacoma Dome,” said a 1A coach, “but I understand the issues around the financial cost of hosting the games there.
(Main photo by Jeff Halstead)