Coppell Chronicle Bonus Edition: The Battle
Who’s playing in these basketball games? How can you watch them? And how much money will Coppell ISD make?
Hey, everybody! I normally wedge my way into your inbox on Sundays, but there’s an unusual event coming up at the Coppell High School Arena on Friday called The Battle that I wanted to brief you on. I didn’t have a lot of this information last Sunday, and some of it will be irrelevant by this Sunday. Hence this bonus edition.
Let’s Prepare for The Battle
As mentioned in Coppell Chronicle No. 35, The Battle is a showcase for top high school basketball talent. The original lineup was a tripleheader featuring these matchups:
Coppell High School vs. Vertical Academy
McKinney High School vs. San Antonio’s Wagner High School
(Donda Academy was founded by rapper Kanye West, who named the school after his mother. Is there a chance that Ye will be at CHS on Friday to see his team in person? I’ll be checking the district’s social media, with my fingers crossed, hoping to see a picture of him scowling next to the always-smiling Superintendent Brad Hunt.)
The outfit behind The Battle is called Gold Level Sports and Entertainment; it’s run by Philadelphia 76ers guard Danny Green and Darren Duncan, who played professionally in Europe and Canada. Since announcing that original Battle lineup, Gold Level has added two more teams — iSchool of Lewisville and Houston’s Premier Academy, for which I can find no website — to make this brouhaha a quadrupleheader. Here’s the revised schedule:
One other major change since I first wrote about The Battle: Based on an announcement from Coppell ISD Athletic Director Kit Pehl, I reported that these games would be broadcast on Fox Sports 1. But when I searched through Friday’s scheduled programming for Fox Sports 1 (and Fox Sports 2), I didn’t see any high school basketball games. So I contacted Gold Level Sports and Entertainment to ask what I was missing.
The unsigned email I received in response said previous editions of The Battle were indeed shown on Fox Sports 1, but Gold Level recently inked a new deal with NBC Sports. Sure enough, Coppell’s 4 p.m. game against Vertical shows up on DirecTV’s program guide for the NBC Sports Network, as does the 8:30 p.m. nightcap between Link Academy and iSchool. I assume the second and third games will be streamed on NBC’s Peacock platform.
Coppell’s Ryan Agarwal, who just signed a letter of intent to play for Stanford University, is one of six players featured on The Battle’s promotional poster:
The others are Donda Academy’s Robert Dillingham (who has a scholarship offer from Kentucky), McKinney’s Ja’Kobe Walter, Link Academy’s Omaha Biliew and Jordan Walsh (who just signed with Arkansas), and Vertical Academy’s Mikey Williams. Williams, who is still a junior, made headlines recently for endorsing Puma products. According to this ESPN article, he’s “the first American high school basketball player to sign a sneaker deal with a global footwear company.”
If reading about all of this hyped hoops talent has you tempted to buy a ticket to The Battle, you’d better hurry. The courtside seats ($150 base price) and lower bowl ($40) are sold out, as is the student section ($20). At the time of publication, you could still get upper-bowl seats for $25 apiece, plus a $3.16 fee per ticket.
Some CISD residents were wondering how much money the school district will be paid for hosting this event, so I filed a Public Information Act request to find out. Angela Brown, the district’s Executive Director of Communications and Community Engagement, sent me a link to the Coppell ISD Non-School Facility Use Packet, which says the rental fee for the CHS Arena is $750 for the first three hours, plus $250 for each additional hour.
“The company will be invoiced for the total amount due, based on the number of hours of the event, at the conclusion of the event,” Brown said. “This includes rental fee ($750 for first 3 hours plus $250 each additional hour), supervisor fee, custodial, officials, security, game workers, etc.”
These four games will take at least six hours, independent of any setup or breakdown time. The packet says CISD charges $45 per hour for security guards; let’s say there will be at least three of those. A rental supervisor, a technical supervisor, and a sound technician each go for $33 per hour. Custodians cost $27 per hour, and event workers (table, gate, etc.) are paid $15 per hour; let’s conservatively estimate that this event will need three of the former and six of the latter.
All of that adds up to a bill for Gold Level Sports and Entertainment of at least $3,900. Kanye probably has that much in his money clip.
If you enjoyed reading this and you’re not a paid subscriber, upgrade your status before I send out Sunday’s Chronicle, which will include articles on Coppell ISD’s latest demographics forecast, a major facelift for a Coppell shopping center, and the ongoing efforts to fill the empty seat on the Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD Board of Trustees.