About an average of 100 per championship game in football (more in 6A/5A, fewer in smaller).
15 for each team in soccer, so 60 make "State" there (They take the top four).
12 per team in basketball, times four, 48 kids make "state" here.
15-20 on each "team" in OAP.
I'm willing to bet the smallest 5A band we see tomorrow is about 200 students - and there are 33 bands qualifying in 5A alone. I'm willing to bet the average is 250. That's 8,250 kids. That's a far cry from ANY other activity on campus. That's eight thousand kids (in 5A alone, remember) that need transportation, housing, food - and 2500 of those kids (10 finalist bands) plus teachers plus chaperones plus support staff will have to stay overnight AGAIN to play finals the next day, unless a band from the greater San Antonio area makes finals.
If we want to compare ourselves to football or any other activity, fine. But we need to compare apples to apples. We would need to institute mandatory levels of marching contests:
District (replaces current Region - make it a head to head contest where each "district) is ranked 1-X, and the top four in each district advance)
Bi-District (combine two districts, top four again advance)
Area (combine two bi-district contests, top four advance)
Region (combine two areas, top four advance)
State Quarterfinals (Prelims, top eight bands)
State Championships (top four in the state, replaces Finals)
and have six rounds of contests like athletics does.
Maybe it's time people realize that the "old guard" aren't denying you your opportunity to advance out of age, but out of fiscal responsibility. SMC costs tens of thousands of dollars per program at the 5A level. That cost is borne by local taxpayers. Make that cost happen every year and you'll start seeing districts needing to cut staff to afford it.