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Ohio House leader sets goal: passing some action on football playoff ticket prices

A football on grass with yard lines visible behind it/
A football in front of yard lines

The season of Friday night lights is in full swing, and as high school football playoffs kick off Friday, House Speaker Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) said he’d like to tackle what he sees as problematic student ticket pricing.

Under a provision in Ohio’s two-year state budget, which took effect earlier this year, “qualifying” schools are under a mandate to offer cash payments at school-affiliated events—from games to musicals.

Qualifying schools, according to House Bill 33, include public, STEM, college preparatory and boarding, and chartered nonpublic schools that participate in athletics through conferences like the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA).

For games beginning Oct. 27, student tickets are going for $9 and adult tickets are going for $12 online, according to an OHSAA spokesperson, with service fees ranging based on the number of tickets being bought. But come Friday night, ticket prices are $15 at the gate, whether they are for student or non-student entry.

“I think that is really unfortunate,” Stephens said Tuesday morning. “For 15 bucks for a kid to go to a football game, I think is something we need to look at.”

Cash can only be used at the gate, so part of the concern is the pricing gulf between online and offline payments. Stephens didn’t have a particular dollar amount in mind, but said that he believes students should be treated differently.

“When your team gets to go to the playoffs or makes a playoff run, they could go to five different games,” Stephens said. “By the time you travel and do all the other things, it can be real expensive to follow your team. I think it needs to be something that we put in that equation.

The OHSAA spokesperson did not comment on the legislature’s possible action, which Stephens said could come in the “near future.”

Sarah Donaldson covers government, policy, politics and elections for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. Contact her at
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