High school football fans in Rock Hill might have to pay more to see the Bearcats, Stallions and Trojans play next year.
Northwestern High School athletic director Lauren West said at Monday night’s Rock Hill school board meeting that Region 3-AAAA is recommending an increase in ticket prices.
The plan calls for Rock Hill and Northwestern high schools to increase their gate ticket price from $6 to $7 a game.
Tickets for inter-city games, meaning games played between two of the three Rock Hill school district teams, would increase from $7 each to $10.
South Pointe will compete in Class AAA next year, so Stallions fans would be affected by the inter-city ticket price increase but not by the $1 increase recommended for other Region 3-AAAA games.
“As our costs have increased to operate football, our ticket prices have not (increased),” West said. “As we try to make ends meet, we’re coming forward with a recommendation, not just by our district, but by our region, as well.”
The football teams’ proceeds are barely covering the teams’ costs, West said. Money raised at the gate covers both the price of operating home games and the cost of traveling to away games.
Home games cost each school between $4,000 and $4,500 per game, to cover event staff, security and officials.
Some board members were concerned Monday that ticket prices were getting too high for families to afford.
“You realize what it’s going to cost a family of four to come to a football game on a Friday night,” said Walter Brown, who said he’s already heard complaints that the games are too expensive to attend as the prices stand now.
Attendance at football games has been declining in recent years, so Brown said he was unsure if increasing ticket prices would to help or just drive more people away.
A lack of loyalty to specific high schools by middle school students could be contributing to the declining spectator numbers, said board chairman Jim Vining, who asked if it was possible to offer a lower price for students than for adults.
West said that couldn’t be ruled out but said it would make things difficult on the accounting side with two separate sets of tickets and receipts to reconcile after each game.
West said she saw the point board members were making about raising ticket prices but that there wasn’t any other solution.
“We’ve got to come up with some way to make ends meet,” she said.
Several other districts in the region, including Fort Mill, already approved the ticket price increase, West said.
South Pointe principal Al Leonard said the AAA schools in the Stallions’ region next fall haven’t had discussions about increasing ticket prices.
The school board will vote on a ticket price increase at its April business meeting.