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Dakota Bowl set for Fargodome

David Samson / Forum News Service Fargo South running back James Johannesson breaks free against Bismarck during the 2013 Class AAA championship game last November at the Fargodome. The Dakota Bowl will be played at the Fargodome through at least 2020.

The Fargodome is slated to become the permanent home for state high school football championships in North Dakota for at least the near future.

Starting in 2015, the Dakota Bowl will be held in the Fargodome through the 2020 season.

The event had rotated between Fargo and Grand Forks in recent years. Grand Forks is slated to host the Dakota Bowl next fall, but isn’t yet scheduled to host the event after that.

The North Dakota High School Activities Association has moved away from the rotation in football for primarily financial reasons.

“We’ve gotten to the point where financial ramifications have to be factored into sites,” said Matt Fetsch, the NDHSAA Executive Secretary. “The data is pretty overwhelming that (football) is a better draw in Fargo for whatever reason.”

The 2013 Dakota Bowl in the Fargodome generated nearly $60,000 in revenue from the four state title games. In 2012, the Alerus Center in Grand Forks hosted the event, generating around $27,000 in revenue.

The 2013 Dakota Bowl produced nearly $90,000 in gate admissions, which were as high as that event has ever had, Fetsch said.

“That is too big a number to ignore,” Fetsch said.

Fargo hosted the Dakota Bowl in 2011 and made more than $55,000 in revenue. The 2010 Dakota Bowl was in Grand Forks and generated nearly $36,000 for the NDHSAA.

Fetsch said after the NDHSAA pays its bills for each school year, the surplus is reimbursed among its members.

“It does potentially have a major impact on them,” Fetsch said.

That’s why the NDHSAA is trending to “preferred sites” in the state events, like football, that generate the most revenue, Fetsch said.

Peterson writes sports at the Fargo Forum

Eric Peterson
Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.

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