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Hot dog or game ticket? You decide

Published: Thu, September 8, 2011 @ 12:16 a.m.

By Karl Henkel


Average price for a Cleveland Browns ticket? $55.

How about the Pittsburgh Steelers? $74.

Any high school football team in the Mahoning Valley? $6.

Or, to put that in context, slightly more than a hot dog at an NFL game.

Pro-football ticket prices have climbed nearly 30 percent during the past five years, according to a 2010 survey by Team Marketing Report.

But one ticket price remains relatively unchanged — high-school football tickets.

In fact, in a five-year span from 2005 to 2009, the average NFL ticket increased $15 — a $5 hike per season.

High-school football tickets, said Clem Zumpella, commissioner of the All-American Conference, which consists of 15 Mahoning Valley schools, have increased three times in the past three decades.

Zumpella remembers the 1980s, when tickets increased from $3 to $4, and ticket attendants had to worry about having enough singles to last the night.

The last increase for AAC schools like Canfield, Niles, Poland, Struthers and Girard happened three years ago. AAC schools now charge a standard $6 fee for nonstudent football tickets.

“When the prices were cheaper, it was a different time,” Zumpella said. “If anything, we probably aren’t charging what we need to be comfortable.”

Football, the most popular high-school sport in the Valley, is responsible for a large portion of each school’s athletic revenues. At Canfield, Greg Cooper, athletic director at Canfield, says football ticket sales make up nearly half the athletic department’s $90,000 total revenue.

“Football, in almost every school, is driving the bus,” Zumpella said. “And you can only be in the red so many years before the school asks for cuts.”

With 3,000 to 4,000 fans attending each game at Canfield, the numbers add up quickly.

They’re just as quickly taken away when a school factors in the cost of officials (six per game at $58 each), announcers and other game assistance.

What’s the school left with? Maybe a thousand or so dollars for necessary equipment upgrades and not much more.

Cooper said despite stagnant revenue levels at times of increasing costs, keeping ticket levels at affordable rates is important to the overall financial health of high school athletic departments.

“Even though we’ve had increased costs, we don’t want to price our selves out of competition,” Cooper said. “We don’t want to suffer the same price inflation that’s happened at the college level and pro level.”


1AtownAugie(892 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

Will Gerberry and Hagan be at Fitch Stadium soon with a compliant news crew, as they did with their pure publicity stunt not long ago at a gas station? (If Uncle Dave approves your idea of course.)

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2michael1757(490 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

I'm 54 & when I was in school,did WE use 6 official's? For some reason,I don't think so. Parent's are taking this a little too far. It should really be there,(football) for these kid's to have fun,but they're treating it like the kid's already a pro,which in all likelyhood, he's barely good enough to play on the high school field,but if he didn't get out there,the parent's would be on the coach's A$$. In a H.S. game,3 official's are good in my opinion. Plus,having to pay 6 guy's $58.00 is a little steep. Doesn't anyone do anything for nothin' anymore? Maybe it's the,if you call a foul on my kid,I'll see you after the game,& not after school thing. haha

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3ts1227(137 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

Good article, I was talking to some people about HS FB ticket prices just last week. It's impressive that they've only averaged an increase about once every 10 years, keeping it as much of a value as possible.

As the AAC commissioner mentioned, $6 is just enough to scrape by, as most schools have been charging $6 for many years. I personally would pay $7, maybe $8 (8 would be pushing it), for an adult ticket simply because I know where the money is going (right back into the program or stadium) and still feel it is worth the value because I enjoy the games. Don't price the students out of coming... after all, it's for them. But if another dollar on my ticket will keep the athletic department in an advntageous position... to spend an extra $10 over those 10 weeks assuming you go to every game, seems reasonable.

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4rob092359(8 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

To add to the above article. I believe that most schools also charge the parents a certain amount for the kids to play the sports of their choice as well.

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5AnotherAverageCitizen(1194 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

The $90,000-$120,000 need to help support ALL sports programs. Not just football. The $58.00 for officials is only for Varsity football games. All other games, the officials don't make anywhere near that.

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6AnotherAverageCitizen(1194 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

Yes dodge, all 12 that go to the Jr High pay their $1.00 to get in.

Guys Basketball is the only other sport that brings in any sizable money to a school.

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