Postseason tournament brings in big money at Seymour


Hoosier Hysteria brought in much more than games of national interest to the Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium. Big games equaled big bucks.

Over the course of three weeks, Seymour High School served as the hotbed for prep boys hoops.

No other high school gymnasium in the country commanded the crowds that SHS drew in that span.

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The third-largest high school gym in the country, at 8,110 seats, hosted crowds larger than most college arenas.

Whether the fans came to Seymour to see national phenom Romeo Langford and New Albany, Floyd Central, Center Grove, Warren Central or any of the teams in between, tickets proved hard to come by in the postseason.

Sellout crowds lined up outside the gym up to eight hours before the opening tip of each game in hopes of getting the best seat for a special experience.

The influx of patrons at the Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium brought a sea of cash with it.

In total, the gym hosted 10 postseason boys basketball games this winter between the sectional, regional and semistate. Seymour was the only school to host all phases of the tourney before the state finals.

IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox said after expenses, Seymour’s site brought in $173,392.49 in ticket sales across all of the games.

Across all sessions, 45,839 tickets were sold, Cox said.

By comparison, for the state finals at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, 26,879 fans attended.

The sectional featured two games Feb. 27 and March 2 before the championship March 3.

At the sectional, Seymour brought in $67,000 of net revenue in ticket sales, according to a recent story by The Indianapolis Star.

The IHSAA took 2 percent of the revenue, while the remaining 98 percent was split between the six schools in the sectional: Bedford North Lawrence, Floyd Central, Jeffersonville, Jennings County, New Albany and Seymour, Cox said.

Of the 64 other tournament sites, none compared to Seymour’s sales.

“Seymour was the No. 1 site in terms of profit at each level significantly,” Cox said via email. “At the sectional level, Westview was the second-highest net profit for their schools at $25,758.43.”

Ticket money during the sectional, after expenses, was split among the schools for their athletic departments.

“The money made from the sectional goes right into the athletic department’s general budget,” Seymour Athletic Director Kirk Manns said. “We will use that for the sports that we feel need it at a time. It’s not sport-specific or facility-specific. It’s what we feel needs it at the time.”

Manns said he, Assistant Athletic Director Dave Urbanski, tournament director Mickey Beck and athletic secretary Shirley Knecht poured in countless hours to make the tourney a success.

The Saturday after the sectional was the regional, which was broken up into two sessions with three total games. The finals were in the evening March 10 after semifinals were played in the morning.

The Seymour semistate featured two games with teams from Class 4A and Class A.

The ticket sales for the regional and semistate didn’t go to the schools like the sectional. They solely went to the ISHAA.

“Tournament revenue is the No. 1 source that sustains the association, and it is used to operate the business,” Cox said.

Tickets for all sessions cost $10 for the sectional and regional, while the semistate cost $8 to attend both games. The sectional and semistate only sold all-session passes. The regional had some single-game tickets sold, left over from Evansville North’s allotment, which were $7 each.

Each individual all-session pass accounted for either three or two tickets depending on which event was attended.

Money that wasn’t shared by Seymour came off of concessions.

Seymour High School Principal Greg Prange said in March, Seymour had concession revenue of $63,765.53 and expenses of $23.730.23. He said concession workers who were paid received checks last week, so that amount should be taken out in April.

Student volunteers earned hourly credit for National Honor Society and other clubs, Prange said. Some groups, clubs and classes volunteered in return for field trip expenses. Some students who work year-round are paid.

Prange said the money made in concessions goes to a variety of causes in the school corporation.

“We use that money for a variety of items not in our general budget,” he said. “This money is used for concession supplies and equipment. Popcorn poppers, pretzel machines, refrigerators, hot dog rollers, nacho cheese machines have all been purchased.

“Food for the hospitality room during tournaments and food for referees throughout the year is paid for with concession money,” he said. “Staff breakfasts at Christmas and numerous staff lunches throughout the year are funded, as well. Staff appreciation gifts were purchased this year from Owl Manufacturing.”

Last year, he said polo shirts celebrating diversity were purchased for the staff. Also, pizza party celebrations for classes, student workshops, field trips for student groups and fees for bowling and archery teams have been paid. Professional development for teachers has been partially funded either through registrations and mileage or instructional materials.

“This year’s revenue far exceeded previous years,” Prange said. “We will work this summer and into next year to determine what other expenditures we should make. It is doubtful that we will have this type of balance in our account for quite a while, so we will use it carefully.”

Outside the sectional ticket split and concessions, Seymour received around $125 to act as the host site.

Urbanski, who was in charge of concessions, said his pedometer showed that he walked 15 miles on the day of the regional.

The entire postseason experience, an outlier compared to most years, became more than just a series of games.

“It took on its own life, I think,” Manns said. “With social media today and all the hype that came around with New Albany and Romeo, it took on its own life. It was a fun time here, but it was a stressful time for the people working in this office. There was a lot of stress on our time and demands on us all around.

“We are a high school athletic department, and I feel that we do a good job and have a lot of good resources, but dealing with 8,000 people in a gym night after night takes its toll,” he said. “Our primary focus was still the students of Seymour High School. You really have to budget your time and do a good job of planning ahead and things don’t get missed. The Owls are who we are taking care of first.”

Prange said the school gained massive exposure from the tournament.

“Being the host of these events, especially this year, gained us nationwide exposure,” he said. “It wasn’t just the school that was enveloped this year. It was the highways and streets lined with cars. The neighborhood churches and businesses had their parking lots full {span class=”aBn” data-term=”goog_1640948637”}{span class=”aQJ”}on Saturday{/span}{/span}. Locals driving through town had to reroute their normal paths.

“We had a wedding at First Baptist on regional {span class=”aBn” data-term=”goog_1640948638”}{span class=”aQJ”}Saturday{/span}{/span} that required many considerations that aren’t normally in the wedding plans,” he said. “I did have one business owner tell me that his business revenue was up considerably during the tournament. I’m sure his wasn’t the only business to prosper.”

Prange also said he saw Seymour High School alumni who have spread out around the world post pictures of a capacity crowd at the Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium and make positive comments about their high school gym.

“Having lived here my entire life in Seymour, being a graduate and former athlete at SHS and having spent my entire working career in this building, I enjoy the awe and amazement that visitors express and the pride shared with me via social media or in person,” Prange said.

Cox said Seymour does a good job of hosting the postseason tournaments.

“Seymour always hosts our events with a high level of professionalism and efficiency,” he said. “Most all our hosts do a great job of hosting. Seymour always excels and has demonstrated consistently over time that they are equipped to host large crowds.”

While Langford will move on to the next phase of his career, announcing his college decision Monday, the stories of the postseason tournament have already become legend.

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