Danedri Thompson
USD 231 spent a lot of money to make the district’s appearance on national television an exciting experience, but financially the big game was a net gain for school coffers.
“Yes there were expenses, but the revenues did outweigh the expenses,” District Business Director, Eric Hansen, said.
School officials estimate that more than 6,000 people attended the game netting gate ticket sales of more than $20,000. Hansen said the number in attendance was probably a school record, although officials don’t keep track of actual attendance numbers at football games. As a comparison, Hansen said about one-third fewer people attended the first home football game of the season.
In addition to the large gate pot, Hansen said many of the big expenses for the game were donated, provided by ESPN or paid for by corporate sponsorships. For example, the district leased a $10,000 JumboTron for the game. But, to pay for it, school officials solicited sponsorships.
Hansen said eight corporate sponsors donated between $750 and $3,000 for a total of $12,000. The funds paid to rent the big screen and to supplement pre-game fireworks.
In exchange, the sponsors were featured in JumboTron ads and with banners displayed during the game.
“They certainly helped us out in one of the largest, successful evenings we’ve ever had in the school district,” he said.
Additional field lighting was provided by ESPN while the district rented extra lights to brighten supplemental parking areas. The Booster Club and corporate partners help fund commemorative programs and the Blue Valley School District loaned Gardner-Edgerton four temporary bleachers.
The district also estimates they sold more than $7,000 worth of t-shirts before and during the game.
“There were a lot of people who worked very hard to make sure the event went without a hitch,” Hansen said. “It just took a lot of effort on the part of a lot of people to make it a special night. I think everyone is very appreciative of what was done.”
Hansen said home football games have earned revenue for the district this year, and that money is used to supplement other student activities at the high school.
For example, there were three concession stands operating during Friday night’s game. One stand was staffed by members of the GEHS soccer team. Drama Club members worked another stand and the third stand was operated by members of the band.
Hansen said the district estimates concession sales Friday night topped $12,000. Purchasing concession items to sell hasn’t been backed out of that figure, but Hansen said he believes the group’s running the stands will see a profit.
Those funds will be used to supplement activities for those groups.
“It’s special events like this that provide the school district with the opportunity to generate quite a bit of revenue,” Hansen said. “There are just so many things we do involving students where you don’t have the atmosphere that can generate a lot of profit.”
The football team is at the center of it all, but Hansen said other school groups will benefit from the exposure.
“It’s kind of neat to see how the ripple effect works,” he said. “(The football games) allow the school district and mainly the high school to make sure other programs have some additional operating money that they can use. It’s certainly a great thing all around.”