Bearcat football brings in revenue for school system over span of 14 games

Published 7:47 pm Friday, December 18, 2015

The Bainbridge High School football team won not only on the field this season, but also on the balance sheet. The teams’ prolonged success enabled the athletic department, the band, and the community as a whole to fill their coffers.

After being forced to draw from its reserves for several years, the athletic department saw a return on its investment this season as the football team made it to the state semifinals.

“Three years ago the system had to make an investment to bring in a coaching staff,” superintendent Dr. Fred Rayfield said. “We made a strategic plan to make sure we had those [teaching] spots so we could have good teachers and a successful program.”

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The plan came to fruition this season as the Bearcats went 10-0 during the regular season and hosted three playoff games at Centennial Field. The season long success of the program enabled athletic director Stan Killough to replenish the department’s reserve account.

“We are showing a profit this year,” Killough said. “This is a foreign thing.”

The money brought in during football season is then used to fund the athletic department as a whole.

“Football is the only sport that makes a profit,” Rayfield said. “That profit is the way the AD sits down and helps across the board. It helps shore up the sports that don’t bring in enough gate receipts to help themselves.”

The football team played in 10 games this season, five of them home games, two scrimmagess and three playoff games. In all, 21,818 fans saw the Bearcats play this season totaling $200,240.35 in revenue. Of that total, Bainbridge’s athletic department received $135,492.38.

During the regular season and for scrimmages, the athletic department received 100 percent of the gate total except for a $1500 fee that was paid to Pelham as part of the scrimmage contract. The department’s revenue from the seven combined scrimmage and regular season games totaled $88,508 with the game against Thomas County bringing in the highest amount at $19, 404.

Once the playoffs begin, the Georgia High School Sports Association receives a 12 percent cut of the gate receipts. The host team also pays the officials and gate workers. Additionally, the host team provides the visiting a travel allotment of $5 per mile one-way. The remaining total is split evenly between the two teams.

The average attendance increased by more than 1,500 fans during the playoffs, thanks in large part to the 4388 fans that attended the quarterfinal game against St. Pius, but the revenue sharing caused the games against Griffin and Sandy Creek to be two of the three least profitable homes games during the season. The St. Pius X game proved to be the most profitable of the season as ticket prices increased to $14 and the largest crowd of the season was in attendance.

“The visiting teams make more, but you didn’t have to travel,” Killough said.

Killough and the athletic department are still waiting to find out their share of the gate from the semifinals game at Cartersville but it is expected to be the largest payout of the season. A total of 4685 fans were in attendance and ticket prices increased to $16. Bainbridge will also receive a travel allotment for the game.

The athletic department wasn’t the only one to reap the benefits throughout the season. The Band Boosters, who run the concession stands at every home game, saw a 40 percent increase in sales thanks to the large crowds attending the games.

“The bigger the crowds the better,” band director Paschal Ward said. “It’s a tremendous benefit, and I’m real proud of our football team.”

The athletic department is hoping this year’s success also translates to an increase in advertising and donations prior to next season. They are currently in talks with businesses about sponsoring nets behind the goal posts in addition to the continued effort to sell signs along the bottom of the bleachers.

“You can’t beat winning,” Killough said. “Winning fixes a lot of things.”