The Minnesota State High School League will pay more starting next year to hold state tournaments at Xcel Energy Center and ticket prices could go up as a result.
The league’s board of directors approved a new five-year contract Thursday at its March meeting. It will cost about $750,000 to rent the St. Paul arena for volleyball, wrestling and boys’ and girls’ hockey state tournaments next school year, according to the deal. By contract’s end, the annual cost increases to about $877,000.
Not long after approving the contract, league staff and board members began discussing ways to increase revenue through two primary streams: ticket prices and school activities fees.
Volleyball and wrestling tickets have cost $14 for adults and $9 for students since 2010-11. Boys’ and girls’ hockey tickets ($17, $11) also have remained the same during that span.
Meanwhile, Xcel Energy Center is raising its facilities fee from $2 per ticket to $2.50 beginning next school year.
Board members also discussed tournaments without a fee for spectators such as cross-country, golf and tennis.
Rich Matter, the league’s director of finance, recommended further discussion about raising ticket prices at the next board meeting June 4.
In addition, the board discussed per-sport activities fees charged to schools to participate in league activities. Schools pay $100 annually for league membership, plus an additional $90 per activity offered, such as football, dance team or soccer.
Raising those fees $10 per activity, Matter said, would bring the league an additional $100,000. Activities fees were last raised 11 years ago.
New executive director Erich Martens, who assumed his role March 1, said revenue discussions will continue into the fall. Aware that schools set their budgets in advance, Martens said any activities fee increase would begin no sooner than the 2019-20 school year.
• Girls’ basketball tournament games won’t be played at Target Center in 2019. The arena, home to the Timberwolves, has conflicts with the NBA schedule and Disney ice productions. Winners’ bracket games in girls’ basketball will be played at Maturi Pavilion and Williams Arena while consolation games will be at Concordia (St. Paul).