MSHSL Could Increase Tournament Ticket Prices

March 30, 2018 06:53 AM

The price of watching the state's high school athletes play in tournaments at some of the state's biggest professional sports arenas could soon go up.

On Thursday, the Minnesota State High School League approved a new five-year contract to keep hockey, wrestling and volleyball state tournaments at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. However, the cost of doing so will go up roughly 5 percent in year one of the new deal, rising to $750,000.

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By the fifth year of the contract, rent will cost the league $877,000.

"When we work with the Xcel, they are foregoing or perhaps foregoing Wild hockey on Friday and Saturday night and full houses," new MSHSL Executive Director Erich Martens said, "and we fill it for our hockey tournaments as well, but there is a going price when you look at those kinds of events."

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Hockey games at Xcel are popular, meaning tickets are hard to get.

"When people talk about high school tournaments, they often talk about Texas football, Indiana basketball, and they talk about Minnesota hockey," Martens said.

According to a legislative auditor's report from last year, the league will pay nearly $500,000 for events at the University of Minnesota and $400,000 for events at Target Center. Use of Target Field and U.S.Bank Stadium is free.

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The rising cost is part of why the league is looking to increase ticket prices for fans.

"If the will of the board is that we want to stay at what we consider the best venues, we're probably going to have to do something to change our revenues," Martens said. "And that would include ticket prices."

Hockey ticket prices are currently $17 for adults and $11 for students. Most other activities cost between $5 and $14.

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Martens said those prices haven't gone up in seven years. Raising them by a dollar would bring in an additional half-million dollars, Martens said.

"Obviously we want our families to follow, and our community members to follow, their teams when they go to state events," he said. "So we want to keep that price as affordable as we can and still be able to afford the venue we're in." 

The MSHSL board will take up the issue of ticket prices at their next meeting in June.

In a statement Thursday, Xcel Energy Center officials said they are pleased MSHSL state tournament events will remain at the venue:

“We were excited to hear that the Minnesota State High School League approved a contract extension for the four tournaments we are honored to host at Xcel Energy Center," the statement read. "We look forward to welcoming the state’s best volleyball players, wrestlers and girls and boys hockey players for the next five years.” 

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Jessica Miles

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