Wellsville makes out with its home games

Gate receipts are in from the 11 local schools that hosted sectional basketball games this season, with Wellsville and Lisbon showing the most profit.

After expenses, the Tigers showed a total profit of $6,200 for the two boys games and one girls game they hosted, while Lisbon made 3,690 for its two boys games.

Each host school was alloted $400 by the state to cover game workers (ticket takers, clock operators etc…). Whatever was left of the $400 had to be returned to the Northeast District, in addition to all profits. If a school lost money, it was reimbursed by the district.

“We wound up drawing better than average for all three of the games we hosted,” Wellsville athletic director Don Elliot said. “The community did a great job of supporting the team. “When we played Leetonia we were almost completely sold out.”

Before this season, the Northeast District Athletic Board elected to have sectional tournament games held at the home gym of the higher seeded school rather than at a neutral site. The move cut down on travel costs, while also alleviating the Northeast District from paying gym rentals. Host schools for this years sectional games did not get paid for use of their gyms.

Several local administrators anticipated that the district stood to make a lot more money than under the old format.

“I think finances had a lot to do with it,” former Crestview athletic director Andris Baltputnis said. “When the final numbers come out, I think they will show that the district made a lot more money this year.”

South Range athletic director Wayne Allegretto said his school charged $200 per game when they were a sectional/district host site in previous years and also thought the district stood to make out well.

“No question, I think finances had to be a big part of why the district decided to do this,” Allegretto said.

In all, area schools hosted 14 tournament games this season, making around a combined $16,530 for the Northeast District.

“There is no question the district took in a lot more money this year,” Lisbon athletic director Don Feren said.

“Our primary purpose has never been to line our coffers,” Northeast District president and Richfield Revere athletic director Bill Schumacher said. “We took a lot of factors into consideration and thought this approach would ease travel for some schools and provide the best experience. A lot of coaches that we’ve talked to were fans of it.”

Salem High School-traditionally a sectional/district host site-hosted just three district games this year. Athletic director Todd Huda said the school made between $12-13,000 for its three district games, about 5,000 more than last season’s district round.

“I think having two local teams (Springfield and Lisbon) reach the district round helped with the gate,” Huda said. “Having Lisbon in the district final helped a lot.”

The one point of contention shared by nearly all local administrators was their inability to sell presale tickets-as mandated by the Northeast District-for the sectional games. Typically, schools see a small percentage of presale profits for tournament games.

“If nothing else, it would have helped with congestion,” Feren said. “We had a line out the door for one of our games. It made no sense to me why we couldn’t have any presale tickets.”

“If schools stood to gain financially from this format, I think it would be easier for people to take,” Allegretto said. “I know a lot of fans and coaches liked the old format where they could watch multiple games on the same night.”

Schumacher said the issue will be addressed.

“To be honest, we didn’t really think too much about it,” Schumacher said. “We thought it would simplify things if all tickets were sold at the gate. However, we have heard some complaints and we will try and work something out.”