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Old 02-19-18, 10:15 PM
firewatch firewatch is offline
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Originally Posted by my2sense View Post
In Joe Scalzo's article in the Rep yesterday, the OHSAA was thrilled about the 2017 state finals in Canton. According to Tonja Marshall, a VP of marketing and communications at Visit Canton.

"It was all very positive said Marshall who met with the OHSAA last week. They got a lot of great feedback from all the schools, teams and coaches who were part of the games. The treatment at the field level was the same the NFL teams get on HOF weekend and they couldn't say enough about their treatment, the amenities and the locker rooms. "

"One of the concerns was that with Canton not being in a central Ohio location, how will that impact attendance. But with us having such a good showing (61,502 in attendance, the 4th highest total ever) it's evident that that no matter where teams are from, fans will travel."

"The best part about the 60,000 plus attendance figure, is that those people spent money in Canton. Stark County's hotel rooms had an overall occupancy rate of 70% from Nov. 30 - Dec. 2. The rest of the month was about 47%. Seven hotels were were either at capacity or nearly sold out. The average Ohio tourist spends $111 per day on a trip in Ohio and that jumps to $360 for overnight visitors. This year's finals brought somewhere between $6.7 million and $13.3 million in Stark County."

"Some of their (the OHSAA) questions were about the state of the (HOF) campus and the state of construction in 2018. (After our discussion) they've even started to throw out the question of our interest in hosting 2019 and 2020 as well. Our understanding is that it would be an ongoing rotation between Columbus and Canton. "
I am curious why you omitted a big section of the article? Let’s see what did you leave out....

The OHSAA has not decided which city will host the 2018 finals — OHSAA spokesman Tim Stried told me this week that “discussions continue, but there’s nothing new to report on any decisions or anything concrete” — but the original plan was for Canton to get the 2017 and 2018 games before they return to Columbus.

It’s unlikely the OHSAA will make any long-term decisions until it decides on a new commissioner. Dr. Dan Ross will retire on Sept. 15.

That said, Marshall has made it clear that Canton wants to host as often as possible for as long as possible.

“They are so important, not just for the economic impact in the community but there’s so much pride and history and tradition here,” she said. “From being the birthplace of the NFL to being a football at every level of the sport, it means a lot to be the home for the state championships.”

Three things to improve

Good feedback aside, this year’s finals weren’t perfect. Here were the three major issues:

1. Parking.

This was the biggest complaint from fans. To be blunt, no one likes parking at the Stark County Fairgrounds and taking a shuttle to the stadium, especially since so many people are used to parking in the student lot at McKinley High School. Marshall said they’re looking to move some of the credentialed parking (like the media, for instance) to a different location to open up some spots at McKinley.

Adding a parking deck to Hall of Fame Village will also help, although it won’t be finished in time for the 2018 finals.

2. Tickets

The OHSAA used a new ticketing software for the finals and there was a little bit of an adjustment period.

“I don’t think the OHSAA got a great response with the advance sale ticketing,” Marshall said. “Based on our conversations, we’re assuming whoever hosts in 2018, all the ticketing will be done by the venue directly.”

Fans also complained about the long lines at the entrance gates, although some of that is unavoidable when you’re playing three games per day.

“We’re definitely looking at improving the process, like widening the gate so that once the gates do open, they’ll flow through more quickly,” Marshall said. “But some of that (wait) is just from the fact that you’re playing back-to-back-to-back and people are waiting to get into the stadium when the gates aren’t open yet and the last game is still clearing out.”

3. Village construction.

Benson Stadium is terrific, but the OHSAA — like everyone in Stark County — is keeping an eye on progress for all of Hall of Fame Village. There needs to be some.

“Some of their main questions were about the state of the campus and the state of construction in 2018,” Marshall said. “They’ve even started to throw out the question of our interest in 2019 and 2020 as well.

“Our understanding has been that it would be an ongoing, continuing rotation between Columbus and Canton. I think that’s just understood in the background. But especially with the change in leadership with Dr. Ross, I don’t think we can have any sort of certainty. We’ll just continue to put our best foot forward. We would love to see it come to Canton permanently.”

I know how you and Mac are sticklers for the details..