Play Ball! If you’re a fan of Philadelphia sports, this weekend is going to be a good one. But will it be good for the city?

Stadium image from Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository.

Unless you’ve been in a cave or just don’t pay attention to such things, you know that three of Philadelphia’s five professional sports teams are active right now.

The Philadelphia Eagles are the NFL’s lone undefeated team at 5-0. This week, Jalen Hurts and the gang take on the 4-1 Dallas Cowboys to try and remain that way. Right after last Sunday’s victory over the Arizona Cardinals, DALLAS WEEK was declared on sports talk radio, and I’m pretty sure that’s been the dominant topic.

(Although my husband, who is a Cowboys fan, says Cowboys fans don’t really care about the Eagles. They do, however, care about the History Channel, and I say this because every time you talk to a Cowboys fan, they talk about all of their Super Bowl championships, none of which have occurred in the 21st Century.)

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies, despite playing more like the Bad News Bears than a professional baseball team at times in the month of September, have managed to make it to the playoffs. They swept out the St. Louis Cardinals on their home field in the Wild Card round and even managed to win one against the Atlanta Braves, the defending World Series champions, in the Divisional Round in Atlanta, so they come back to Citizens Bank Park for two games with the series tied 1-1.

Heck, even the Philadelphia Flyers, a team that’s the most beloved among Philadelphians, but has gone through coaches like most people go through socks over the past few years, managed to win their opening game of the season at the Wells Fargo Center.

(The Philadelphia 76ers don’t start their season until next week, which will give fan favorite Tyrese Maxey the chance to check out the Phillies game.)

Now you’re probably asking, why is Denise Clay-Murray talking to us about Philadelphia’s sports teams and what they’re up to?

Well, I’m bringing it up because all of these teams are playing in stadiums that for all intents and purposes, you, as city residents, financed through tax breaks, and in some cases, actual cash.

If you’ve ever gone to a game or a concert at any of the city’s stadiums, a portion of your ticket price has gone into the City’s coffers. Which makes sense because, let’s face it, the city paid into those stadiums and should get a cut.

Each stadium has what’s called a “Mayor’s Box”, which is a really nice luxury box that’s designated for the Mayor of Philadelphia. It’s a perk that the stadiums included due to the fact that, well, we paid for it.

Each mayor uses that box differently. Some mayors, like Mayor Michael Nutter, made the box a perk for School District of Philadelphia students who had excelled and for friends of his that he wanted to give a special thank you to. Other Mayors, like Mayor John Street, didn’t use it much at all.

But Mayor Jim Kenney, who is probably the biggest sports fan we’ve had at City Hall since Mayor Ed Rendell, decided to use the Mayor’s Box at the Wells Fargo Center to get extra money for the School District. Back in 2016, Kenney made a deal with the Wells Fargo Center to allow those seats to be sold for Flyers and Sixers games in exchange for a $100,000 flat rate The city also got a percentage of the proceeds when these seats were sold for concerts and other events. This deal ended in 2019.

As a city that pours too much of itself into its sports teams — Mondays after Eagles losses are particularly hard to get through — it would be nice for the folks who own these stadiums to do more for the city that lives and dies with their sports.

Like, for example, World Series tickets for all of the school district’s baseball teams if the Phillies get there? That might work…

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