A record $1 million in football state tournament proceeds has the Minnesota State High School League anticipating more money to share with its schools.
Charging higher ticket prices, moving tournament semifinals and finals back indoors at U.S. Bank Stadium and getting the new facility rent-free fueled a revenue surge and drop in expenses in both football and soccer.
Projected proceeds of $1 million in football and about $159,000 in soccer likely are records, said Rich Matter, the league’s director of finance. While nothing is final until the end of fiscal year, Matter said he doesn’t expect much change in the numbers.
That means more money to reimburse schools with state tournament teams in all activities through the league’s “revenue-sharing plan.”
“We do have to wait until the end of the fiscal year and see what the general, administrative and all tournament expenses are,” Matter said. “But all projections are that there will be a nice pot of money to return to member schools.”
Proceeds from football, which played the semifinals and finals outdoors in 2014 and 2015 after decades inside the Metrodome, plummeted from $584,909 in the final year of the Metrodome to $118,596 the first year at TCF Bank Stadium.
Dollars from soccer, playing games outdoors in St. Cloud, also dipped.
In August 2015, the league’s board of directors voted to suspend tournament reimbursement to schools for a year.
Schools had grown accustomed to as much as thousands of dollars in reimbursements. The revenue-sharing plan considers three factors: travel distance from a school to a tournament site, how many students are participating, and how many days they are competing. Teams or individuals more than 50 miles from a tournament site are reimbursed even if they don’t compete on consecutive days. Cheerleaders and bands also count toward reimbursement.
In August 2016, the league’s board of directors approved ticket price increases in football ($1 increase to $14 for adult tickets) and soccer ($2 for adult semifinals and finals tickets to $12 and student tickets $1 to $8).
Getting U.S. Bank rent-free for all eight soccer and football state semifinals and finals dates came from legislation approved to build the stadium that stated the league will not be charged for services such as security, ticket takers, custodial or cleaning services at those events.
The effect of the rent-free arrangement contributed to a $191,000 drop in direct expenses for the soccer and football tournaments between 2013, when they were last held in the Metrodome, to last fall.
Football, second only to boys’ hockey as a tournament revenue generator, was budgeted to bring in $910,000 after expenses for this season, according to the high school league. That compares with an annual average of $548,317 for the last 10 years that the tournament concluded at the Metrodome.