The is marking the New England Patriots' advancement to yet another Super Bowlwith an appropriately themed raffle contest to benefit its youth programs.
The Y, in yet a tradition of its own now, is running a Super Bowl Raffle that will allow four lucky winners to head to the dome in Indianapolis to see Super Bowl XLVI and the Patriots in person on Sunday, Feb. 5. The Pats grabbed the AFC league title Sunday night after defeating the Baltimore Ravens, 23-20, in a back-and-forth battle and will face off with the New York Giants for a re-match of 2009's title game and loss to the Giants.
The big prize -- there are two packages for two individuals each -- includes airfare, a hotel stay and game tickets. You can purchase your raffle ticket at the front desk for $100 each. The proceeds go toward youth programming.
One hundred dollars may seem like a hefty sum for a chance in this contest, but the prize itself isn't cheap, according to YMCA operations director Greg Griffin, who organizes the raffle. He said the prize package costs between $8,000 and $12,000, with the airfare alone costing $1,500, and the game tickets approximately $5,000, depending on the online seller.
Eighty tickets must be sold just to break even, and there are a total of 300 tickets available per package.
"It is a lot of money these days," Griffin said. "But the winners take all. A lot of people split the cost in half. Some people want to go so badly that they'll pay it, no matter what. After the cost of the trip, it's a fundraiser -- all proceeds will go towards our youth. It's worth the chance."
The raffle proceeds go towards a worthy cause -- the YMCA's "Growing Together Youth Campaign."
"It funds financial aid to Y youth membership, day camp tuition, after-school programs, swim classes and preschool," Griffin said. "It makes sure all youth have access to the Y's services, and no one's denied access, regardless of their inability to pay."
The raffle is open to anyone who wants a shot seeing the Super Bowl; members and non-members alike can buy a red- and/or blue-ticket.
"In 2001, a group of 10 teachers from St. Mary's split the cost, and only had to pay $10 a piece," said Bruce MacDonald, the executive director of the YMCA. "Only two could go, but they held a Super Bowl party and decided there who would go. The two said it was a life-changing experience."
MacDonald said the Metro North regions of the Y will all participate in the raffle, putting the Torigian Family YMCA in with Lynn, Saugus and now Melrose -- the Greater Lynn YMCA recently merged with Melrose to form the YMCA of Metro North.
In regards to the contest, MacDonald said, the merge with Melrose now allows them to double ticket sales. He said they sold 20 tickets alone on Monday.
"Another interesting experience was a guy from Eastern Bank won, and we all spent an hour getting a hold of him," MacDonald said. "Another year, there was a nurse, who had work, but was able to request time off. She had the time of her life."
One more highlight to this super-charged raffle is that former Boston sportscaster Bob Lobel will act as host for the trip, chartering the plane and speak to the winners.
The host travel company is New England Sports Tours, run by Dan Pranka of Saugus.
Even if the Pats didn't win Sunday, YMCA staff had a back-up plan.
"We would have just ran our annual campaign instead, and gotten a jumpstart on that," Griffin said on Monday. "There was a 50-50 chance of them winning, so we had everything ready to go, including posters and tickets, which are being printed now."
The raffle drawing will be held Wednesday, Feb. 1, at 6 p.m., giving just a week-and-a-half window for ticket sales. Winners need not be present to win. Contact information will be taken beforehand.
"Last time, we held it in Lynn's lobby, and there were 70 people," MacDonald recalled. "They were pretty excited until they found out who won. But there are give-a-ways. We'll give out T-shirts that'll read: 'I lost the YMCA Superbowl Raffle' on the front, and on the back, 'But I supported YMCA family programming.'"
This will be the fourth time the YMCA has held the raffle.
"Whatever sport organizations are in the winning mode creates a lot of excitement, especially in this region," Griffin said. "They're well-publicized events, and it's a good tie-in for us to raise money for our youth. In 2009, we sold 300 tickets and raised $20,000 for scholarships (after the cost of the trip). This year, we have the potential to raise $40,000 with both packages."
For more details on the Super Bowl Raffle, call Greg Griffin at 978-977-9622, or stop by the front desk at the Torigian Family YMCA to buy your raffle tickets.