purposes -- namely an opportunity by port officials to offer themselves,
friends, and favored nonprofit organizations cut-rate or free tickets. The rest are scalped.
Port spokeswoman Renee Dunn Martin said the port is loath to give
up season tickets first purchased when the Giants SOMA stadium opened in
2000. She said the tickets are useful for entertaining potential customers, such as cruise line executives. On top of the Giants ticket giveaway program, last year the Port spent an additional $80,000 sending employees around the world, throwing parties and buying meals, all in the name of business development.
tickets over StubHub, with sales of tickets for games extending until Oct. 3.
According to the most recent budget figures, all but $6 million of the port's $64 million budget came from parking fees, leases, and rents from government property, with much of the rest coming from sources such as cargo and fishing fees. The one category that the port often cites as subject to improvements via wining and dining is the cruise ship business, which last year contributed $1.5 million to the port's bottom line.
Given the vast majority of port business still consists of collecting rent from 1930s-era type tenants, we're not sure how well the wining-and-dining has worked.
Whether or not Princess Cruise executives' hearts and wallets are opened by being treated to a Giants game, the potential exists for port employees to fancy themselves somehow on the Giants team -- given that their employer makes sure they have ample access to discount Giants tickets for themselves and others.
Ethics watchdog Bob Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies, praises the port for paying for its Giants tickets, rather than taking them as freebies.
"I guess I'm not outraged by this," he said. "I'm outraged I'm not there to go to the games. I'm a Giants fan."
Notwithstanding, this has the potential to create sticky situations, particularly in light of the waterfront development deal the port inked earlier this year with the Giants' business arm. Though various developers vied for rights to develop 16 acres of port land adjacent to AT&T Park, the city agency cut a deal that gives the Giants six years to obtain necessary approvals for a commercial and residential development -- and is structured specifically not to require the Giants to invest much money up front.
Yeah, that's the ticket.