From professional franchises that are valued in the billions (the Dallas Cowboys are valued by Forbes at $4 billion) down to local youth sports, there is no arguing the major impact of sport on global, regional and local societies. The direct economic impact from just a single sporting event can be significant and easy to measure in the form of stadium construction and operational costs, player salaries, initial ticket sales, merchandising and concessions. As a business and real estate lawyer operating for nearly a quarter century in The Woodlands, an area that has grown to one hundred thousand plus, we have seen the ripple effect of sport on our community. The impact is often tough to quantify but the benefits are abundantly evident in our daily lives.
Let’s start with the basic and obvious examples of the impact of sport in our local society. In the late 1980s, when I first arrived, The Woodlands, with a population of about 20,000, was already on the map with quality schools and competitive high school sports. State championships in swimming, cross county and golf began to stack up in the 1990s due in no small part to the investment in The Woodlands Athletic Center (WAC), quality golf courses and miles of running trails. Little League baseball (ORWALL) and football (SCFL) began building championship-caliber programs that became contenders for state titles. Parents, local government, businesses and the community invested in fields and facilities to foster involvement and a sense of community built around sports. More success brought more families, more businesses and more investment.
Over the decades, stadiums, natatoriums, convention centers and hotels were constructed to host visitors who want to come and be a part of this active community. Public amenities like The Woodlands Waterway, the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, Lake Woodlands and the hundreds of restaurants and shops have continued to attract hundreds of companies and tens of thousands of workers. Events like Ironman Texas, The Woodlands Marathon, NCAA Swimming Championships and Pro Golf Tour Events sell hotel rooms, fill restaurants and bring families and shoppers.
The ripple effect, which we see every day in our legal business, manifests itself in more real estate development, retail outlets, sports clubs, charities, sponsorships, trainers and coaches, sporting good shops, clothing stores and millions of dollars and hours poured into a healthy life style for all. The economics are obvious. The impact on health of individuals and the overall well-being of our community is immeasurable and invaluable, and we are so happy to be a small part of making a difference in the life of our home town.