LAS CRUCES—After holding two rivalry football games at Aggie Memorial Stadium last week, Superintendent Dr. Greg Ewing said  the district will continue to discuss the long-term feasibility of continuing the tradition of holding the high school games at NMSU.

Figures compiled by the LCPS Athletics Office showed that approximately 12,940 people attended the two, consecutive-night football games last week, Nov. 2-3 at Aggie Memorial Stadium. Records show that 2,987 were in attendance for the Oñate-Centennial game, while 9,953 attended the Las Cruces High-Mayfield game.  The figures don’t include those who attended for free, such as the band members or the players.

“Yes, we had an additional expense to hold both games at the university stadium but the cost of what it meant to our student athletes was priceless,” said Superintendent Greg Ewing.

LCPS officials won’t have official numbers until all invoices are received from NMSU, but Athletics Executive Director Ernie Viramontes estimates the costs will be approximately $75,000 for both games.  The cost includes rental of the stadium, gate workers, and hiring security and law enforcement to monitor the crowds and traffic.

Viramontes-commemorative coinWEB

Ernie Viramontes was presented with a unique commemorative coin from former athletes who played at the Aggie Stadium when they were in high school in 1967. The coin has the Bulldawgs on one side and the Trojans on the other. It was created for the rivalry’s 50th reunion. The coin was used during the coin-toss at the beginning of the recent cross-town rivalry game for LCHS and MHS.

Viramontes said revenue from paid tickets is estimated to be $58,956 — creating an estimated loss to LCPS of $16,044.

Viramontes-mhs-sideWEB“We knew it would be a challenge to fill the stadium for two games,” Ewing said. “But this wasn’t about the money — it was about providing a great opportunity for kids to experience something very few high school student athletes throughout the country get to experience, playing in a collegiate arena.”

“Adding the Organ Mountain Rivalry (Oñate and Centennial) was an important addition this year,” Viramontes said. “I heard from many students and fans who thought it was finally time to recognize the match-up. You just can’t put a price on what this kind of experience gives to students and how it impacts this community that’s had a long tradition of attending the ‘big’ game at Aggie Stadium. But, at the same time, we have to be fiscally responsible to the community.”

Ewing said district officials will continue to discuss the expenses and whether it will be financially feasible to continue holding the games at the university in future years.

Ewing said he also wanted the community to know that the high school football programs are typically self-supporting and the district doesn’t tap into other operational funds in order to cover those costs.  The athletics department typically uses funds generated from gate receipts in order to pay for the expenses incurred by the program, he added.

In this circumstance, Ewing said the attendance at both games was not large enough to pay for all the fees needed to hold the games at the university.

 

 —For more information, contact Executive Director of Athletics Ernie Viramontes, 575.527.5812, eviramontes@lcps.net