20 Year Anniversary


A Dream Come True

Great ideas often come from those dreamers willing to take a chance. When long-time Pasadena resident and businessman Ben Meador dreamed of hosting a first-class high school basketball tournament in Pasadena, he took a chance that the rest of the community would embrace the challenge.

Now, the McDonald’s Texas Invitational Basketball Tournament stands as a testimony to his vision and the willingness of a community to build and support an event that not only offers great high school basketball, but also supports its teachers and students in a significant way.

Ben Meador

The MTI, one of the most ambitious high school basketball tournaments in Texas, celebrates its 20th anniversary, hosting 48 boy’s teams and 32 girl’s teams in a flurry of games over three days in mid-November. The event, staged in 10 gyms across the Pasadena and Deer Park school districts, annually draws about 35,000 spectators to its more than 190 games.

Drawing some of the top teams and players from the Houston region and across Texas, the MTI has grown so popular that the event organizers keep a 40-team list of coaches wanting to get their teams into the prestigious tournament.

Meador said, “I felt if we could articulate a vision and a plan that was understood and embraced, then our community could do anything as well or better than any other community. Pasadena is known for many great things,” he added. “Now, the city is also known as ‘the home of the McDonald’s Texas Invitational.’ That’s a good thing and a tribute to hundreds of great people who made it happen.”

That the tournament is more than a basketball event, is one thing that makes the tournament attractive to those who support it financially and those who volunteer to work. It is a significant fund-raiser for the education foundations in Pasadena and Deer Park.

Corporate sponsors, ticket and t-shirt sales produce a net revenue that enables the foundation to give more than $250,000 annually to the education foundations. When all is settled up at the end of this year’s tournament, the total amount given back to the school districts over the past 20 years will exceed $3.3 million.


Meador believes the infusion of funds to the education foundations is just one of the benefits of the MTI. “Millions of dollars now benefit the education of our youth. Fans are seeing and enjoying the great facilities we have in Pasadena,” he said.  “The estimated $2.1 million economic impact of the tournament each November is substantial.”

The McDonald’s Texas Invitational is a joint effort of the City of Pasadena, the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce and Pasadena ISD. Each organization provides funding, venues and volunteers to support the event.

The Honorable Jeff Wagner, mayor of Pasadena, believes the event is a boost to the city’s image. He said, “The McDonald’s Texas Invitational brings a value to our city that is measured far beyond dollars and cents. The amazing $2.1 million dollar impact to our city is undeniable, and this event also embodies Pasadena’s commitment to promoting education, supporting local businesses and fostering strong partnerships.”

He added, “It unites families, friends and communities from across the state to forge connections and a legacy far beyond the basketball court.

Cristina Womack, CEO of the chamber, assists in recruiting volunteers to work the tournament. “Anytime you can get members of the city, business community and school district employees working side by side, it opens lines of communication and understanding that can’t help but make all areas better.”

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