OHSAA signs 3-year deal to keep state football finals in Canton

Published 10:01 pm Monday, November 27, 2023

By Tim Stried

OHSAA Media Director

COLUMBUS – The Ohio High School Athletic Association and the Pro Football Hall of Fame have announced a new three-year contract that will keep the OHSAA football state championships in Canton at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium through 2026.

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The agreement includes two option years. The current three-year contract is set to expire after this week’s state finals.

OHSAA Executive Director Doug Ute made the announcement Monday in Canton at the Hall of Fame Luncheon Club. Ute was in Canton to speak to the members as part of his annual visit with the group on Monday of state championships week.

“We are excited to continue to grow this partnership with the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” Ute said. “They have been so good to work with and are just as excited as us to take the next steps with the finals in Canton and have people experience all that the Hall of Fame, the surrounding Hall of Fame Village, and Canton have to offer in addition to state championship football.

“We also thank Visit Canton for their support of the state championships and appreciate their support to host the games in Stark County.”

“The Pro Football Hall of Fame is proud to partner with Visit Canton and the OHSAA to keep the seven state championship games in Canton for the next three years,” said Jim Porter, Hall of Fame president.

“The Hall wants this relationship to continue long into the future. Our staff will look for additional ways to build the weekend into a full community celebration – making the experience even more special for the teams playing in Canton and creating memories that will last a lifetime.”

After Ohio Stadium in Columbus hosted the state championships throughout the 1980s, the finals moved to Massillon and Canton in Stark County from 1990 through 2013.

The finals moved back to The Ohio State University from 2014-16, which was also when Fawcett Stadium in Canton was torn down and Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium was built, which has hosted the state finals since 2017 except in 2020 due to the pandemic, when the finals were hosted in Obetz and Massillon.

“Visit Canton is delighted that the OHSAA has selected Stark County to continue as host of its state high school football championship games. Without question, this event has become a cornerstone for our community for several decades,” said Allyson Bussey, president and CEO of Visit Canton.

“We continue our commitment to support this longstanding partnership with the OHSAA and Pro Football Hall of Fame and look forward to welcoming the teams, coaches and fans to Canton.”


Located in Canton, Ohio, the birthplace of the National Football League, the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Mission is to Honor the Greatest of the Game, Preserve its History, Promote its Values, and Celebrate Excellence Together.

Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium is a 17,000 seat NFL-caliber stadium that annually hosts the NFL Hall of Fame Game and Enshrinement Weekend, the Black College Football Hall of Fame, and numerous other high school and college football games. It is surrounded by Hall of Fame Village Powered by Johnson Controls, a mixed-use development project, that features shopping, entertainment and dining options.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. AAM accreditation is national recognition for the museum’s commitment to excellence and the highest professional standards of museum operation and public service.

Hundreds of thousands of fans from across the globe travel to Canton annually to experience “The Most Inspiring Place on Earth!”  that chronicles America’s most popular sport.

Fans can also enjoy the Hall of Fame Store at the Hall, and online at www.profootballhof.com/store, for merchandise from all 32 NFL clubs plus the Hall of Fame. Proceeds from the Store support the Hall’s Mission.