Jacksonville Lost Over $700,000 Hosting Navy-Marine Corps Classic Basketball Game
The city of Jacksonville “lost nearly $736,000 on the Navy-Marine Corps Classic basketball game and related events, for which vendors weren’t paid for months" and at least two laws pertaining to procurement and contract practices were "violated,” according to Mary Kelli Palka of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. The city “nearly wiped out its sports trust fund to cover those overruns” for the Nov. 9 Florida-Georgetown men’s basketball game. The account, funded “by proceeds from city sporting events, is now down to about $8,300.” Jacksonville had “expected to spend" about $2M on the events and "thought it would bring in at least that much money.” Instead, expenses “stayed about that same, but revenue was only about" $1.3M. One of the reasons for the shortfall was the city “hoped to host the game on an aircraft carrier that could seat 8,000 people.” The Navy in mid-July “instead offered the USS Bataan, an amphibious assault ship that could seat 3,500 people.” Another reason is the outdoor game was “called off midway because of weather issues, which meant spectators spent less on concessions and merchandise.” The Week of Valor included events for military and veterans. Expenses included “building a basketball court and spectator seating on the ship.” But it also included “almost $363,000 in tickets for military members to attend a Jaguars game and a football game in Gainesville.” The city is in “planning stages for this year’s Week of Valor and is in talks with the Navy about possibly hosting another game on a carrier” (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 4/7).