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All 9 Horry County high schools saw decline in football ticket sales likely due to COVID-19

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The Carolina Forest student section during a football game on Oct. 2, 2020. Nick Masuda/Staff

HORRY COUNTY — Each of the county’s nine high school athletic departments saw a decline in ticket sales at home football games compared to the previous season, likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic and capacity limits at stadiums.

On average, HCS’s high schools bring in about $285,789 in football ticket sales, but this year the school district had about $127,700 in ticket sales.

The sales number represents a budget shortfall of $96,995.

Four high schools — Aynor, North Myrtle Beach, Conway and Loris — collected less than 50 percent of what was budgeted for ticket sales for the season.

The other five — Green Sea Floyds, Myrtle Beach, Socastee, Carolina Forest and St. James — collected more than 50 percent, with Carolina Forest High collecting 119 percent of funds the school expected to receive from tickets.

Though Carolina Forest High brought in more than its athletic department budgeted, it still brought in less than the 180 percent in ticket sales it brought in last season, according to an analysis of HCS gate receipts.

Here is what each school collected from gate receipts and what was budgeted.

  • Aynor High: $6,106 collected; $20,000 budgeted
  • North Myrtle Beach High: $13,951 collected; $38,000 budgeted
  • Conway High: $8,897.75 collected; $27,000 budgeted
  • Green Sea Floyds High: $8,593 collected; $12,057 budgeted
  • Loris High: $9,008.94 collected; $21,055 budgeted
  • Myrtle Beach High: $18,557 collected; $24,850 budgeted
  • Socastee High: $16,921.54 collected; $32,000 budgeted
  • Carolina Forest High: $23,705.21 collected; $20,000 budgeted
  • St. James High: $21,959 collected; $30,000 budgeted
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About mid-season, all teams were in the red, according to a football gate receipt analysis on Oct. 14. On average, North Myrtle Beach collects the most in ticket sales out of all of the district’s high schools, followed by Conway, Carolina Forest and Myrtle Beach high schools.

Here is a list of 5-year average collections from each high school’s ticket sales:

  • Aynor High: $24,107
  • North Myrtle Beach High: $46,189.17
  • Conway High: $40,373.31
  • Green Sea Floyds High: $17,334
  • Loris High: $29,193.93
  • Myrtle Beach High: $35,493.94
  • Socastee High: $28,3604.90
  • Carolina Forest High: $35, 604.90
  • St. James High: $29,131.91

Athletic directors develop budgets for all sports prior to the beginning of academic years, said Lisa Bourcier, spokesperson for HCS. Gate receipts, sales of athletic passes and support from local booster club organizations are incorporated in revenue projections, she said.

Any estimated expenditure budgets for supplies, equipment, officials and travel are determined by the amount of revenue expected to be received, Bourcier said, adding the district does provide $428,700 in additional funding to assist with security, officials and travel. All athletic coaching supplements, costing about $2.7 million, are funded by the district.

HCS did not respond to emails requesting how the decline in ticket sales will impact schools in time for this report.

Reach Hannah Strong at 843-277-4687. Follow her on Twitter @HannahLStrong.

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