ASAA allows free admission to some tournaments, despite financial losses

Published: Mar. 7, 2021 at 2:54 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) -Palmer and Homer High Schools provided plenty of excitement during the recent Division 2 State Hockey Tournament.

Few could see the action at Wasilla’s Menard Sports Center due to limited attendance because of the pandemic.

“It’s awesome,” said Amanda Heard, one of the parents at the game. “I have a senior and a freshman playing for Palmer this year.”

She and other families could not beat the price. The Alaska School Activities Association (ASAA) did not charge admission.

“We’ve gone into the year with a good reserve account,” said ASAA Executive Director Billy Strickland. “The board has basically okayed us to use reserves to run state tournaments at a loss.”

ASAA expects big losses this year.

“We would project losing $150-160,000 this year on activities,” Strickland said. “Because without the gate revenue, we’re still paying officials, facilities and so forth.”

ASAA typically takes home about $150,000 from its events. The goal is to stay solvent. ASAA has had plenty of help.

“We’ve had great corporate sponsors for many years now. They’ve let us build up our reserves,” said Strickland. “That’s why you have your reserves. It’s a rainy day fund, and it’s pouring.”

But Strickland and the rest of ASAA see brighter days coming after the pandemic.

Basketball will likely be the first state tournament that will charge admission. But, it will be at a discount. Elders will still get in free.

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