Jacksonville, FL - They’re events you go to every year- the Florida/Georgia football game, UF/FSU baseball game- but they could actually be costing you more than just a ticket.
“We still don’t know how much, if any, money that we made with these events that we put on,” says Councilman Matt Schellenberg.
Schellenberg chairs the City Council Special Committee on Sports Development Events Fund, which specifically is looking in to the Navy-Marine Corps Classic. That event lost $750,000 during the inaugural game last year, and that begs the question of whether other big name events have the same fate.
Until 2011, events like FL/GA put revenue in to the sports fund, but took money out of other parts of the budget. That means all the revenue and expenses weren’t simply lining up.
But following the realization that the Classic came with such a large price tag, Schellenberg says it’s information the city needs to know.
“Basic good governance, good business practice, just good common sense that we know what the numbers are,” he says.
It’s especially important because there is a push to bring the Classic back again this year.
While the committee continues to delve in to that possibility, some of the big factors could be changed- for example the game did not get a title sponsor that was hoped for. But Schellenberg says even that could be difficult to come by because that amount of money would often be committed well in advance- and we’re already inside of six months from when the game would, presumably, take place.
Additional cost issues were less revenue from concessions, because the game was called at halftime due to condensation on the floor, and fewer tickets sold, because the arena was much smaller than originally intended.
But those issues aside, Schellenberg says there’s still a bigger question of responsibility.
“We’re going forward from where we were before and we still do not know who the decision makers are,” he says.
He’s asked for a more complete idea of who continued to allow money to be spent while underreporting concerns like the lack of sponsor. Just a few answers, along with the cost of those other events, that he’s expecting to get at the next committee meeting in two weeks.