What are the costs of selling out for football?
Children’s Health System of Texas, the top pediatric health care provider in Dallas and the eighth-largest in the nation, has agreed to pay $2.5 million to put its name on a high school football stadium in Prosper.
That’s right, it’s high school football — although the new stadium rivals some college facilities, costing $53 million, seating 12,000 and featuring a giant video board.
Children’s business rationale is obvious. Prosper is Texas’ fastest-growing school district, and the city’s median household income ($134,000) is more than double the state and national median. Just 6% of Prosper residents have no health insurance, far fewer than in the rest of the region, and that must be part of the calculation, too.
But here’s the rub: Children’s Health isn’t just in business. It’s in the business of health care, and kids’ health care at that.
By putting its stellar brand on Children’s Health Stadium at Prosper, it’s formally endorsing a sport whose long-term dangers are becoming increasingly evident. Children’s seal of approval may signal that it’s safe for kids to play tackle football. Experts say it’s not.
The sponsorship deal raises another question: With health costs climbing and many Texans unable to afford care, how does a top nonprofit hospital justify spending resources this way?