On Thursday, February 1, 2024, a Frisco first happens when the East-West Shrine Bowl is played at Ford Center at The Star. It's not a new game. In fact it's the 99th time it's being played and is the nation’s oldest college all-star football game. But, it's the first time it's being played in Sports City USA at the home of the Dallas Cowboys world headquarters and practice facility.
The East-West Shrine Bowl takes a unique approach to the game and the why behind the game. First off, NFL coaches are at the helm leading 130 top college players ready to shine. They'll showcase their talent in front of NFL scouts, agents, and media before the 2024 NFL Draft. Now that you know the stakes of the football on the field, let's scout out the scoop on this meaningful tradition and how it made its way to Frisco.
Shrine Bowl in Frisco, Texas
It makes sense that the historical game finds a home with America's team right in a bustling burb in Texas. Shriner's Hospitals has owned and operated this game for 99 years, which is unique in itself that a game of this magnitude is 100% focused on a charitable mission. Dustin Johnson, National Director of Sports for Shriners Children’s says many Texas children have received care at Shriners Children's, with their first burn hospital being located in Galveston, Texas. It was the first pediatric burn hospital in the world dedicated 100% to children.
When the Shrine Bowl was in search of a new home, Frisco's Ford Center at The Star rose to the top of the list because of the venue, the community, and the Cowboys. Bob Roller, Vice President, Sports for Shriners Hospitals for Children talks about the importance of finding a city that could not only hold the game, but also give the right feel for this important event.
We tested a lot of cities looking for the right atmosphere for the Shrine Bowl. With The Star holding right under 12,000 and the football-crazed area of Frisco, we knew this would be perfect to partner with the Dallas Cowboys.
- Bob Roller, Vice President, Sports, Shriners Hospitals
A Path to the Draft
The Shrine Bowl gives 130 football players the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to earn a spot on an NFL roster. The thirty two NFL teams will send approximately 500 scouts and representatives to Frisco to take notes on what is a week-long job interview for these collegiate athletes. Scouts will line the field watching for all-out effort at practice followed by interviews to get to know the players. After Shrine Bowl week concludes, the next stop is the NFL combine and draft.
Consider the caliber of players in the game. They are hand-picked senior collegiate football players vying to follow in the footsteps of greats like Dallas Cowboys legend Roger Staubach, Tom Brady, Walter Payton, Lawrence Taylor, John Elway, Gale Sayers, and Jimmy Garoppolo. It starts with the Shrine Bowl 1000, a list of all-star game eligible players. As the list of players who have accepted invites takes shape, players hope to get the chance to experience what the East-West Shrine Bowl has to offer, including being coached by NFL coaches, in an NFL facility, and access to NFL Players Association educational resources, NFL facilities, player-friendly schedules, and opportunities at the highest level.
Shriners Hospitals Making a Difference for Kids
As leaders in innovation in pediatric specialty care and world-class research and education, Shriners Children's has treated more than 1.5 million children over the last 100 years. The hospitals rely on the generosity of donors so they can provide care to families regardless of their ability to pay. The patient's financial or insurance status does not matter - they get the same top level of care at Shriners Hospitals. Events like the Shrine Bowl highlight the mission of Shriners Children's, raise funds, reach future donors all over the world, all while shining a national spotlight on patient ambassadors to share their own inspirational stories.
Children with burns, spinal cord injuries, orthopedic conditions, and more get advanced care from Shriners Children's and have come from more than 170 countries to Shriners hospitals in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Everyone involved in the East-West Shrine Bowl experience gains a deeper understanding of the patients and their stories and the ways they can help.
The special bond formed between football and Shriners Hospitals goes back to 1974 when a 2-year-old patient with a genetic condition that affects bones in the arms and hands left an impression on a group of football players visiting the hospital. Mike Esposito took the timid girl's hand to walk down the hallway together, and the image of the football players and young girl has been the logo and inspiration for the East-West Shrine Bowl ever since.
Ready to see today's stars, tomorrow's legends in the 2024 East-West Shrine Bowl in Frisco, Texas on February 1st? Tickets are on sale starting at just $20. For those not attending the game in person, watch on NFL Network. Game begins at 7 p.m. Catch other Frisco events from sports to arts and culture and plan your trip today.