Wildcats don't bring in much money - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Wildcats don't bring in much money

November 1, 2005

Albany -- Between six and seven thousand people attended each South Georgia Wildcats game this year. But attendance wasn't good enough for the city to make any money. In fact, Albany is $226,000 in the hole at the end of arena football's first season here.

35,000 fans packed the Civic Center to cheer on the South Georgia Wildcats throughout the season. Even though the team only won three games, leaders say the first season was a success and next year, the city should start making money.

Civic Center Director Maddie Goddard said, "Sure, we plan to make money because Mr. Storen will get more people there. We will sell more season tickets and more single tickets. We hope to have more than 35,000 people there next year."

Goddard told city commissioners the Wildcats still owe the city about $28,000 from concessions sales. But that won't get the city out of the red. Goddard says the city spent more than $61,000 to staff the eight home games, including ticket takers and security. That's about $40,000 more than contracted.

Goddard says the city must now work with the Wildcat's Managing Partner Mike Storen to either up the amount the team pays the civic center for game and box office staff or make the team take on those responsibilities themselves. "We're just asking for a little bit more money to subsidize us so we won't have to go in the hole so badly on staffing," said Goddard.

Storen says this was the first time he'd heard these numbers from the civic center director and isn't sure they're right. But he says you can't judge success solely with dollars and cents. "None of that is really important, quite frankly.

The issue in my mind is when we came in here a year ago, the people said can you play one game, can you play one season, and can you be a success. And thanks to the fans and the people of Albany, we've been a great success," Mike Storen said.

His goals for the 2006 season are to win more games and to draw more fans, and then to make more money. "The probability of accomplishing that is a long term program, and we're here for the long haul," Storen says.

The Wildcats open the 2006 season April 8th.

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