ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

Sponsored By: Two Men and a Truck
cloudy-day
78°
Sct Thunderstorms
H 82° L 78°
  • cloudy-day
    78°
    Current Conditions
    Sct Thunderstorms. H 82° L 78°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day
    89°
    Afternoon
    Sct Thunderstorms. H 82° L 78°
  • cloudy-day
    85°
    Evening
    Mostly Cloudy. H 90° L 78°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Local
Florida/Georgia Classic: the half-million dollar expense you didn't know about
Close

Florida/Georgia Classic: the half-million dollar expense you didn't know about

Florida/Georgia Classic: the half-million dollar expense you didn't know about
Photo Credit: Stephanie Brown

Florida/Georgia Classic: the half-million dollar expense you didn't know about

It’s a more than just a game for Jacksonville- it’s an institution. And for the first time we’re seeing at what cost it comes.

Following the more than $700,000 loss of the Navy/Marine Corps Classic, the City of Jacksonville took a close look at how it accounted for some of the big ticket events it hosted- only to learn that such an accounting didn’t really exist, even for annual events like the Florida/Georgia Football Classic. That led to quick passage of a new law which required a full and concise record to come within 60 days of the event.

“We have put a little bit more scrutiny on how we account for these sporting events,” says Jacksonville’s Office of Economic Development Director of Operations Joshua Kelne.

Sixty days following Florida/Georgia, WOKV requested this accounting, but I was told that because the schools had yet to submit their invoices, money had not been withdrawn from the Sports and Entertainment Trust Fund so the timeline had not been triggered. I have continued to press for answers and have now obtained that accounting.

But it’s not as simple as just saying whether there’s a profit to be had here.

On paper, the 2013 Classic ended up $256,804.20.  Jacksonville’s Office of Sports and Entertainment added what was budgeted for the game from various city sources ($772,871.69) with revenue from the game itself ($255,692.69), and from that subtracted expenses ($771,760.18) to get the total.  In those sources of revenue, however, is nearly $530,000 of your tax dollars.

“Florida/Georgia Classic has always run a deficit, and that’s why about a half million dollars or so is coming out of the General Fund for the event,” says Councilman Matt Schellenberg.

Schellenberg led the committee which examined the financial loss of the Navy/Marine Corps Classic and designed the law on the books now.  He says it’s improper to factor in the city’s contribution when determining the overall expense of the game

“It looks like we really didn’t make any money,” he says.

I’ve been working to find out how this game’s contribution compares to prior years, but that’s still unclear.  The difference in the accounting now is having a concise idea of where money for each line on the event budget comes- whereas in prior years, money would just be taken from and deposited in to various sources and funds. That means that my request submitted to the City to know how much money has been taken from the General Fund in prior years isn’t as simple to find out as the line on the budget sheet I obtained.

Both Schellenberg and the Office of Sports and Entertainment believe the amount to be generally consistent, however, to the prior several years- at least the ones covered under the current contract between all involved parties to host the game in Jacksonville. That means that for at least several year, the City has been plugging some half-million tax dollars in to this game.

Whether you look at the game as an overall surplus, or in the red without the city’s tax dollar contribution, however- all parties agree that this goes well beyond the balance sheet.

“While we budget $500,000, we bring in close to $800,000 directly in taxes off the game and have a $32 million economic impact on the community,” says Sports and Entertainment Interim Director Joel Lamp.

He says there’s also a branding element that comes with keeping Jacksonville affiliated with such a high profile game.  Lamp says they’ve also found areas year-over-year to create some savings and efficiencies.  Additionally, the on-paper surplus of the game goes back in to the Special Events Trust Fund, which then funds other events around the city.

So while it appears that a significant amount of money has been contributed to the game for years, you won’t hear many complaints around City Hall.

“It’s a fabulous return on the money we put in,” Schellenberg says.

But that doesn’t mean that they’re resting on the status quo, either.

“As in any business, we should look at the expense side and say we can do better, and I think that’s what we should be doing,” Schellenberg says.

He says the most telling part of getting this balance sheet will come from comparing it to the data we obtain at the 2014 game to see if the contribution is, in fact, as stable as he believes.

It’s an effort that will be complicated, however, by the ongoing renovations at EverBank Field. WOKV told you in November that the agreement between the City and Jaguars to renovate the North End Zone of EverBank would come at a cost past the improvements themselves.  Jacksonville is contractually obligated to have a certain number of seats for the Florida/Georgia game, and the City already spends $269,379 building additions. The ongoing renovations now include removing still more seats, meaning the bill to build temporary seating for this year’s Classic will climb.

Just how much more it will cost you is not yet clear. Lamp says they are currently soliciting bids for the project.

There is no desire- from politicians and fans alike- to see this game go anywhere anytime soon. The current contract keeping this long-running rivalry in Jacksonville lasts through and including the 2016 game.

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

The Latest News Headlines

  • Television viewers in Jacksonville looking to cut the cord of traditional cable and satellite services are getting another option. YouTube TV is now available in the Jacksonville-Brunswick market, offering more than 40 live channels and unlimited online DVR storage, for $35 per month. A monthly subscription also comes with six accounts per houshould. More information on how to signup: here. 
  • Florida prisons were placed on lockdown Thursday following reports of security threats.  >> Read more trending news The Florida Department of Corrections announced that it canceled weekend visitation at all institutions for Saturday and Sunday because of a possible security threat. Correction officials said they received information that indicated small groups of inmates at several institutions would try to disrupt prison operations. The lockdown affects more than 97,000 inmates in Florida’s 151 correctional facilities, including major institutions, work camps and annex facilities. The move affects recreational and educational programs, but inmates are not confined to their cells, officials said. The cancellation does not apply to work release centers, department officials said.  
  • One person is dead after a train crashed into a truck on Thursday night in Green Cove Springs. The Florida Highway Patrol said the accident involved an Amtrak train and a truck. The truck had two people inside when it was hit by the train. The train was heading from Orlando to New York and there were passengers on board. None of those passengers were hurt.   FHP said the train was stuck for about an hour. Officials say the crossing rails were working. “As far as I know, they were, they have been, working the entire time we have been out here and the train did just go through a few minutes ago, and they were working at that time,” said Lt. Tina Hall with FHP.  Hearing reports of train vs. car accident. Heading to scene now. @ActionNewsJax — Larry Spruill Jr (@LarryANjax) August 17, 2017 Scene Video: Train vs. car. @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/i5MID2YR2R — Larry Spruill Jr (@LarryANjax) August 17, 2017 Police have this part of the road blocked off. @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/qR8V4GmrpZ — Larry Spruill Jr (@LarryANjax) August 17, 2017 CSX officials just arrived to train vs. car accident. @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/dW3yt1uBmf — Larry Spruill Jr (@LarryANjax) August 17, 2017 Neighbors tell me this is a quiet road. Not a lot of cars travel down this road. @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/AzlxG4qe2s — Larry Spruill Jr (@LarryANjax) August 17, 2017
  • A Cleveland father is upset after he says his son was left on the school bus for hours on his first day of classes. WJW reported that Trevelle Hargrove’s 6-year-old son, Trevelle Jr.,  has special needs. Hargrove said his son fell asleep on the bus. >> Read more trending news Trevelle Jr.  said he was found after he honked the horn of the bus and jumped up and down. A spokesperson for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District said Trevelle Jr. fell asleep on the bus Monday and was there for less than an hour. His father says otherwise. “After an hour and they couldn't tell me what was going on I started to get extremely worried,” Hargrove told WJW. 'I couldn't understand why no one could tell me where my son was.” Hargrove said his son was back four hours later, at 6:30 p.m. “You can’t just forget to do things,” he said. “This isn’t like a normal job where you forget to put the straw in the bag or you forget to clock in or whatever it is you do at a normal job. You can’t do that when it comes to kids.” Hargrove said his son won’t be riding the bus again any time soon. The district is is investigating. Cleveland Metropolitan Schools Chief Communications Officer Roseann Canfora issued the following statement to WJW: “Drivers are trained to follow strict protocols for inspecting every seat at the beginning and end of their routes, and CMSD has a zero tolerance for any violation of these safety guidelines.” The bus driver has resigned. WJW reported they may be terminated pending the outcome of the district’s investigation.
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is investigating after a man's body was found in the St. Johns River near the Hart Bridge. Police responded Thursday night to the 4500 block of Richard Denby Gatlin Road, near the Arlington Lions Club Park. Police said it appears that the man's body has been in the river for a few days. At this time, foul play is not suspected in the man's death. The man, who appears to be in his 30s to 50s, does not match any missing person descriptions. This is a developing story. Refresh this page, follow @ActionNewsJax on Twitter and watch FOX30 Action News Jax at 10 for updates.

The Latest News Videos