The decision will raise ticket prices for postseason events for adults from $7 to $10, while senior citizens, who got in for free before, will now have to pay $3. Students will not be affected by the change, still having to pay $5.
According to NIAA Assistant Director Donnie Nelson, the decision to increase ticket prices was a much-needed solution to a growing problem.
“To be perfectly honest, it will help us get back to a balanced budget,” Nelson said. “Right now the association, we’re losing money over the last two years. Anything that was in reserve for special projects and other events like Top 10 banquets, Hall of Fame banquets and other variety of training courses and initiatives, those reserves are being drained.
“Even though we’re a non-profit organization, at some point you have to have money to operate the various other things you do outside of particular athletic events. Right now we’re losing that at a significant rate, unfortunately. So we’re at the point where we have to look at some serious options and ticket prices was the first thing the subcommittee suggested.”
The rise in prices will take place at the start of the 2013-14 school year at which time the NIAA will pay close attention to attendance numbers. Nelson said he was unsure as to the impact that the increase would have on turnout at postseason events.
“I would not want to venture a guess in regards to whether attendance will be impacted or not with those ticket price increases,” he said. “I don’t know. To my knowledge, we’ve only raised ticket prices twice in 20 years and the times that we’ve done that, we thankfully have not seen any decrease in attendance as a result of that. So historically, we have not seen an attendance decrease after a ticket price increase, but we’ve only done that twice in 20 years, so it’s hard to have true data. We’ll know more in two years once we do a North-South cycle whether these ticket price increases helped or hurt.”
While the NIAA hopes the move will help offset its expenses, it may just be a temporary band-aid. That has the NIAA considering other options to help steady its budget.
“One thing that our subcommittee talked about in terms of budget and planning was about the use of facilities,” Nelson said. “Do we continue to use the facilities we are now, and if so at what point is the make or break dollar figure that we can’t afford or justify that anymore? That’s really it. It’s a question of evaluating the worth of a venue compared to our attendance and the need or desire to be in that venue.
“For example, state basketball week is not just 16 games being played out over three days in the arena. It also takes into account all the other things that go on in the arena such as the hall of fame banquet, a state athletic director conference and leadership training courses. So the media rooms are used for a variety of different things while the basketball tournament is going on.”
So if we were to go away from an arena, we also have to look at what we are going to do with those other events. There are a lot of factors that go into it.”