JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A more than $700 thousand loss. That's how much it cost the City of Jacksonville to host the Navy-Marine Corps Classic basketball game. The game between the University of Florida and Georgetown took place last year at Mayport.
The question now remains, how much money is too much for military goodwill. It's a nationally recognized basketball game that puts Jacksonville in the spotlight.
But because of a number of factors, like too much moisture on the ship's makeshift basketball court that cut the game short, a late venue change to a different ship that reduced seating from 8,000 to 3,500 and pricey insurance for the event, financially the game was a loss. But in other ways, city organizers say it was a success.
Alan Verlander the Sports and Entertainment director for the City said, "We are a military town. You look at the economic impact to our community it's over $14 billion."
According to the City, all of the money for this game came from the Sports Trust Fund. That's sourced from money the City generates from local entertainment events. The City did not use reserves or general fund operating funds for this event. But, it is public money.
So, is this investment in our city and the military a sound one, even if the numbers don't show it? Resident Michael Scott said, "I feel like the City owes it to our military to give them a fair chance and let's try it one more time."
Chris Courtenay has a different view. "Seven hundred grand is a lot of money. I don't think we should do it, or if we are going to do it again, we should do better planning on it," he said.
The City still wants to host the game again this year. In addition to possibly hosting the game on the ship, they are also looking at other locations.
First Coast News