WIAA playoff games benefit New Richmond schools and community
The recently completed WIAA basketball tournaments proved to have a positive financial benefit for the New Richmond School District and the local community.
Because of the capacity of the New Richmond High School gym, it has become a popular spot for the WIAA to place tournament games. On the weekend of March 6-8, New Richmond hosted four WIAA tournament games within a three-day span.While these games require a significant amount of effort, there is a financial reward.The biggest event New Richmond hosted in terms of paid spectators was the boys Division 3 basketball game between Somerset and Prescott. The March 6 game attracted 1,548 paying customers. Two days later, New Richmond hosted the Division 4 sectional title game between Unity and Mondovi, which attracted 1,340 paying customers.There is an equation used to figure out how much money schools receive for hosting WIAA tournament games. The equation starts with the home school getting 20 percent of the gate receipts to pay workers and cover costs for hosting the game. The WIAA then deducts 15 percent of the receipts to cover its administrative costs. The costs for the officials are then deducted from the total. New Richmond Athletic Director Casey Eckardt said that cost can range from $200-400, depending on how far the officials have to travel for the game.After those deductions, the profit is left. The WIAA takes 75 percent of the profit and the host school gets 25 percent of the profit.Eckardt used the Somerset-Prescott tournament game as an example of the reasoning for hosting games.“On a night like that, the school makes about $2,000,” Eckardt said.The funds made from hosting a WIAA tournament game in New Richmond go directly into the school district's general fund.Where the athletic department benefits is in the sales of concessions. Eckardt said that for an average game, concessions bring in around $300. He said a sectional tournament game can bring in $1,000 from concessions.The funds raised by concessions sales do stay in the athletic department. He said those funds pay for a number of things for the athletic department. He said supervision of the weight room and the large team schedules are examples of items funded through the concession sales. Those funds will also help pay for this Friday's excursion by the New Richmond baseball and softball teams to the Woodside Sports Complex in Mauston. Rental of this artificial turf facility is $600, and there are also substantial bus fees for the three-hour one-way trip.The tournament games also helped the local economy. Local restaurants and other businesses saw a significant increase in customers on those tournament days.“We're happy it helps the community,” Eckardt said.