Raising ticket prices during a pandemic wasn’t ideal timing for the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association, but it was a necessary move in order to keep up with the rising costs of holding championship events.
During its April board meeting, the OSSAA Board of Directors unanimously voted to increase ticket prices for championship events to $7 for preliminary rounds and $10 for championship events.
For the past four years, the OSSAA has charged fans $5 for preliminary playoff games and $7 for championship events. The two exceptions have been for football and soccer, where each game charged $7 per ticket. Those prices are the lowest in the region and possibly the entire country.
“I did have a chance to look at those that are part of our section in the National Federation and we, in fact, do have the least expensive ticket of those states,” said OSSAA Executive Director David Jackson at the board meeting. “New Mexico is close. There’s is $5 and $10 on one end and Texas is about $15 and $20.
Oklahoma is a member of Section 6 of the National Federation of State High School Associations. Other states in Section 6 include Texas, Arkansas, Colorado and New Mexico.
“We’ve been talking about this for two years now,” said OSSAA Board President and Oklahoma City Millwood Superintendent Cecilia Robinson-Woods to members of the board.
“Prices for venues and referees continue to increase. We have to balance what the need of the Association is with everything else that’s going on.”
The OSSAA and its Board of Directors were sensitive to the fact that many in Oklahoma have been affected economically by COVID-19. Initial ticket price discussions started with tickets being $8 and $12 for championship events. They even considered a flat $10 ticket fee for all fans for all playoff rounds.
“We do know that when we come out of this, our economy in Oklahoma is going to be depressed,” said Jackson. “We absolutely understand that. While we absolutely see the need for a ticket increase, we don’t want it to be to the point where we discourage people from attending our activities.”
“I’m in full support,” OSSAA Board Vice-President Dr. Mike Simpson said of the ticket increase. “We have been behind what others are charging. There are some economic realties that we must face as well.”
Due to COVID-19, the OSSAA was forced to cancel most of its boys and girls basketball state championships, as well as championship events for all spring sports.