HELENA – Clear your calendars, basketball fans.
For the first time ever in 2020, all eight of Montana’s high school basketball state tournaments will be held on the same weekend. Class C schools voted 69-5 to combine their boys and girls state tournaments in March of 2020. The Montana High School Association executive board approved that request on Monday.
Class AA has held combined state tournaments since 2005 and Class B followed suit in 2013. Class A is first combining its state tournaments in 2019, and Class C will join in 2020. The MHSA executive board announced the 2020 tournament sites on Tuesday.
The 2020 State AA tournaments will take place in Bozeman, the State A tournaments in Billings, the State B tournaments in Butte and the State C tournaments in Missoula. The tournaments are scheduled for March 12-14, 2020.
The 2018 combined tournaments – Class AA in Billings and Class B in Missoula – recorded gross incomes of $108,375 and $122,447, respectively. Once expenses were accounted for, the Class B tournaments were the second-most profitable of the six sites. Only the Class A boys, which netted $45,015.61, generated more revenue. Income is based solely on ticket sales, and any profits are redistributed to the classification’s member schools.
The financial breakdown for each state tournament is as follows:
|Tournament||Gross Income||Fac./Admin. Expenses||Referees||Team Expenses Paid||Total Profit|
|Class AA Combined||108,375.00||18,941.71||11,343.81||49,345.00||28,744.48|
|Class A Boys||75,535.00||408.00||6,941.39||23,170.00||45,015.61|
|Class A Girls||44,371.00||5,408.00||6,371.45||25,805.00||6,786.55|
|Class B Combined||122,447.00||3,756.49||13,413.71||61,425.00||43,851.80|
|Class C Boys||79,862.00||408.00||6,861.71||29,215.00||43,377.29|
|Class C Girls||29,400.00||408.00||7,413.77||21,578.23||(9,341.77)|
Like last year, the State C girls tournament was the only tournament to lose money. MTN Sports reported last April that Class C administrators planned to revisit the idea of combined state tournaments. Because bids for the 2019 state tournaments have already been awarded, that plan will come to fruition in 2020. The 2019 State C girls tournament is scheduled for Feb. 28-March 2 at Great Falls, while the boys tournament is scheduled for March 7-9 at Billings.
Weather wreaked havoc on winter sports tournaments across the state in February and March. The all-class state wrestling tournaments recorded the lowest profit in its existence at Rimrock Auto Arena in Billings, totaling $42,911.43 this year, down approximately $6,000 from the 2017 tournament.
Eight of the 12 divisional tournaments lost money in 2018, including both the Eastern and Western AA tournaments. The 2017-18 season was the first year Class AA brought back divisional tournaments, hosting the Western AA boys and girls in Helena and the Eastern AA boys and girls in Butte. The Western AA tournament nearly broke even, losing just $1,665.47, while the Eastern AA tournament lost $22,174.00, the second-largest loss of any divisional tournament. The Western B lost $22,691.64.
None of the Class C district basketball tournaments turned a profit, with District 9C losing money for the first time in at least 17 years, according to Havre athletic director Dennis Murphy. Havre — whether at Havre High School or Montana State University-Northern — annually hosts the 9C district tournament.
Tournaments at Billings’ Rimrock Auto Arena again performed well. The Eastern/Central A divisional tournament turned a profit of $31,412.59, and the Southern B divisional tournament profited $20,790.34.