Councilman to Mayor: Lease city-owned sports boxes to raise $ for school supplies

Councilman James F. Kenney. ( David Maialetti / Staff Photographer )

City Councilman Jim Kenney has an idea on how the city could raise money for school supplies: lease city-owned luxury sports boxes.

Kenney said the city's boxes at Lincoln Financial Field, Citizens Bank Park and the Wells Fargo Center, generally referred to as the "Mayor's Box," could  be leased for up to $30,000 for an Eagles game and $3,000 for Phillies, Flyers and 76ers games. That money, Kenney said could help raise money for the Philadelphia Educational Supplies Fund Mayor Nutter launched last week. He delivered a letter to the Mayor today. 

"While it's not a solution for our overall school funding crisis, based on conservative estimates, we could generate more than $1 million a year for this school supply fund," Kenney said. "We're talking big money here."

The Nutter administration does not support the idea.

Mayoral spokesman Mark McDonald said Nutter stands by the city's current program which since 2008 has distributed 54 percent of all tickets to students, recreation centers and nonprofits.

"There are many Councilmembers who secure tickets in these boxes, rewarding hard work and community service," McDonald said, also noting that there is also a legal issue. "The IRS code limits the amount of private revenue from tax exempt bond financed property."

Kenney said leasing the boxes on a per game basis as compared to an annual basis can make it affordable for smaller companies. Major events including this past summer's Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake concert could have generated additional money, he said. Kenney tried pushing legislation through under former Mayor John Street to no avail, but he said it's an issue worth revisiting again.