I've recently heard a little mumbling and grumbling about the increased ticket prices for Thomson High School playoff football games.
Quite a bit of the discussion that I've heard came from students, those most affected by a price increase.
I'll also add that a lot of what we hear students say comes from their parents.
Increased ticket prices for these games did not come about because THS Principal Bill Reese and Athletic Director Luther Welsh decided to gouge the Bulldogs' adoring public. Playoff gate receipts are handled entirely different than are regular season games.
According to Mr. Reese, the Georgia High School Association mandates a $7 minimum for tickets to games in rounds one and two.
The two schools can then agree on a price above $7 if they wish. The kicker is that the money has to be divided between the two schools. The home team keeps all of the gate receipts during the regular season.
"The GHSA gets 12 percent of the gross gate receipts for a playoff game,' said Mr. Reese.
"After the GHSA fee comes off the top, the visitors are paid $4 per mile one-way and then the officials are paid,' Mr. Reese said. "The remaining net amount is split equally between the two schools.'
The fact that the home team is responsible for paying game expenses such as security, ticket-takers, electricity, etc., actually results in the hosts making less money on a playoff game than the visiting team.
If you use the Griffin game as an example, you can see that Thomson High doesn't rake in the cash on playoffs that one might expect.
This is compounded when the visitors bring a relatively small crowd like Griffin did.
Using a hypothetical figure of $30,000 as a gross amount, the GHSA would get the first $3,600; a visitor traveling one-hundred miles would collect $400, and the officials' figure for the Griffin game was $772. This would leave $25,228.00 to be divided 50-50 by the two schools, an amount of $12,614 each.
With so many extra hands reaching into the playoff cookie jar, it is necessary for the ticket prices to be higher.
Most high schools depend on football to carry the financial load for their entire athletic program.
As long as there is such a great demand for playoff seats, one should expect to pay extra for these games.