* HOUSTON –*The 2007 East-West Shrine Game will be played in Houston, it was announced today.
Executives representing Lone Star Sports and Entertainment, the Shrine Game, Shriners Hospitals for Children and the City of Houston announced an agreement in a press conference at the Shriners Orthopedic Hospital in Houston.
"We are proud and thrilled," said Jamey Rootes, president of Lone Star Sports and Entertainment. "We think this is a wonderful relationship that will continue to grow and be bigger, be better for the benefit of the entire community."
The annual college all-star game, which will be played in January, has raised more than $14 million since 1925 to help support the Shriners Hospitals for Children. This year will be the 82nd edition of the Shrine Game, which makes it the second-oldest post-season college football game. Only the Rose Bowl, which will enter its 93rd year of existence, has been around longer.
Hundreds of East-West Shrine Game alumni have gone on to play in the National Football League, including current Houston Texans defensive end Jason Babin, who played in the game in 2004, and center Drew Hodgdon, who played in the 2005 game. Fifty-seven Shrine Game alumni have gone on to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including Doak Walker, John Elway and Bob Lilly. Other notable alumni include President Gerald Ford, Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy and Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre.
The game will bring together over 100 of the top collegiate players in America, hundreds of NFL personnel and more than 5,500 Shriners from the Houston area for a week of activities. One of the annual highlights of the East-West Shrine Game is the players' visit to local Shriners hospitals.
"This is going to be a city-wide entertainment special, if you will, where we can bring the top college all-star players from around North America to come in and visit this hospital—one of 22 hospitals throughout this country run by Shriners Hospitals for Children," said Ralph Semb, chairman of the board of directors for the Shriners Hospitals for Children.
Over 770,000 children have been helped in the 83-year history of the Shriners Hospitals for Children. The hospitals serve patients under the age of 18 that need spinal cord, orthopedic and burn care and are unable to pay. The Shriners provide $1.7 million in free medical care each day at 22 hospitals nationwide.
Specific information regarding the game date, kick-off time and ticket information will be released in May.