Thursday, December 25, 2014

Should Mayor Nutter sell his World Series tickets?

Every Philadelphian with World Series tickets has the same dilemma: Go to the game or sell the seats for big money.

Should Mayor Nutter sell his World Series tickets?

Every Philadelphian with World Series tickets has the same dilemma: Go to the game or sell the seats for big money.

I wonder if Mayor Nutter has been struggling with the same thought. The Mayor's Box — a luxury suite in Citizen's Bank Park controlled by Nutter — could be worth quite a bit of money on the open market. If the tickets were sold, the city could use the money to pay for police overtime and other expenses related to the World Series.

So how much would these tickets be worth? Tracking down the answer was harder than I thought. It turns out that luxury boxes are almost never sold, since they are mostly owned by big corporations and uber-wealthy individuals who don't need the money.

“I have never seen a luxury box available for the World Series,” one ticket broker told me. “It's the only seat [in the stadium] not on the market.” He declined to give an estimate, but said the seats would be extremely valuable.

“It's a very unique package,” he said. “You get great seats, food, and drink, all included.”

I finally got an answer from Darius Lowber, who answered the phone at Glassman's Ticket Agency in Center City. After checking prices, he told me that the suite could be worth nearly $100,000 over the course of the World Series (if it lasts at least five games).

“Each suite is different, some have 12 seats and some have 16,” Lowber told me. “The retail price of a ticket in a suite is about $2,500. So, it would between $30,000 and $40,000 for each night.”

Lowber thinks the city could make some money, but he is less optimistic about the overall impact on the fiscal crisis. “This isn't going to get the city out of the hole it's in,” he said.

Look, $100,000 is nothing to sneeze at. But here is the ugly truth: these tickets would probably be bought by Yankees fans. There are a lot of super rich people in New York and they'll pay top dollar to get the tickets like these. Still, that might actually be a good thing. After all, we'd be using their money to pay for our parade.

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Every year, city government spends slightly more than $4 billion. Where does all that money come from? More importantly, where does it go? Are we getting the most bang for our tax buck? “It's Our Money” is a joint project between Philadelphia Daily News and WHYY, funded by the William Penn Foundation, designed to answer these questions.

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