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PIAA bidding war: Altoona proposal included free rent. What the title site bids looked like

Tagged under: News

| February 28, 2022

Games awarded to Cumberland Valley; PSU price tag was $140,000

Mirror file photo by Patrick Waksmunski Mansion Park Stadium received major improvements before the 2021 high school football season.

Via Mike Boytim, Altoona Mirror

Earlier this week, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association announced its decision to move the high school football state championships from Hersheypark Stadium for the first time since Altoona’s Mansion Park last hosted the games in 1997.

The PIAA received four competitive bids from Altoona Area High School, Hershey Entertainment, Cumberland Valley High School and Penn State University and ultimately selected Cumberland Valley, which is located in Mechanicsburg — near the PIAA offices.

After confirming the site selection Wednesday, PIAA Executive Director Robert Lombardi said the proposals could be made public, and after a request from the Mirror, the PIAA shared the information, which showed a large disparity.

Altoona, partnering with Explore Altoona Executive Director Mark Ickes, was willing to provide all services free of charge to the PIAA.

That included the Mansion Park facility rental, preparation and clean up, scoreboard operation, clock operation, emergency medical service and ambulance availability, ticket sellers and takers, ushers, parking lot attendants, security, law enforcement, a trainer, two locker room stewards, a media steward and catering for PIAA administration and game staff.

“Explore Altoona was extremely pleased to have partnered with the Altoona Area School District and (Altoona athletic director) Phil Riccio in having submitted an attractive proposal to the PIAA,” Ickes said. “We are disappointed with the organization’s ultimate decision.”

Bid breakdown

Cumberland Valley offered to provide the same services for a fee of $10,630 per year, but $8,000 per year would be covered by a sponsorship from the Cumberland Area Economic Development Corporation.

Cumberland Valley was also awarded the high school soccer, field hockey and volleyball championships and will have hosting privileges for the next four seasons for the finals in each sport, including football.

“We are thrilled to host the top high school athletes in football, soccer, field hockey and volleyball in the Cumberland Valley for the PIAA championships,” Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau Public Relations Manager Aaron Jumper said. “This will be a great opportunity for families across Pennsylvania to eat, shop, stay and experience our region.

“Due to the number of visitors these events will bring into our area to stay in our hotel rooms, as well as support our local businesses, we partnered with Cumberland Valley School District to offset operating costs to host the PIAA championships.”

Penn State’s offer would have come with a significantly higher price tag. REST OF STORY HERE

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