PORTLAND — Believing sports are a great way to bring people of all ages together, the athletic departments at Portland and Deering high schools are offering a free Sporting Event Pass to city residents who are 60 and older.

The pass provides admission to all Portland Bulldogs and Deering Rams home games and can be picked up in the athletic director offices at either school, or at the ticket booth during any game.

“Our schools provide numerous events for our community to come together to support one another (and) athletic events are (just) one more way we can bring people together,” Melanie Craig, Deering athletic director, said. “… People love that we are reaching out to include all of our Portland citizens. Many of our seniors have grandchildren playing, or are a Bulldog or Ram alumni themselves (and this is) a great way to keep them connected to our youth.”

Craig said the city has been offering senior passes for a variety of events and the “Portland Public Schools wanted to extend the same courtesy to include all Portland High Bulldogs and Deering High Rams home athletic events.”

Seniors could already buy discounted tickets to these events. Craig said the cost was $2, compared with $5 for the general public. What also makes the new sports passes special is that there is no expiration date.

However, the passes only apply to home events sponsored by the Portland Public Schools; they do not cover away games or Maine Principals Association and Southern Maine Athletic Association events, including tournament games.

While admission revenue supports the operating budgets for the athletic and co-curricular departments at the Portland schools, Craig said “we anticipate minimal impact in revenue generation” from the distribution of free passes.

She said it’s difficult to calculate what gate fees bring in on average because “it varies tremendously from year to year based on the number of home events, weather and the opponents,” among other factors.

Craig said Portland students get free admission to Portland or Deering home athletic events, which is something the School Department began offering about four years ago.

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 780-9097 or [email protected]. Follow Kate on Twitter: @KIrishCollins.

During a Portland vs. Deering basketball matchup last winter Deering’s Nicsoni Bushiri goes up and over Portland’s Pedro Fonseca and Terion Moss. A new sports pass being offered this year means city residents 60 and older can attend home games at either school for free.