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December 21, 2016

Philly will lease Mayor's Suite at Wells Fargo Center to fund education

The City of Philadelphia announced on Wednesday that it has reached an agreement with Comcast Spectacor to lease the Mayor's Suite at the Wells Fargo Center in order to raise revenue for education funding.

Commonly known as the "Mayor's Box," the suite is a taxpayer-funded amenity that has enabled the city to provide top-level sports and concert tickets to guests including charitable organizations, firefighters and the family and friends of government employees. Such suites also exist at Citizen's Bank Park and Lincoln Financial Field.

Under the new agreement, Comcast Spectacor will pay Philadelphia an annual fee of $100,000, even if the suite is not resold for Flyers and Sixers games. Additional fees will be paid to the city for concerts and other events.

Proceeds from the agreement will go to The Fund for the Philadelphia School District, an independent, nonprofit organization that acts as a fiscal intermediary between the private sector and the public education system.

“Comcast Spectacor is a terrific community partner, and I am grateful to the company for boldly stepping up on behalf of Philadelphia children,” Mayor Kenney said. “It’s a hat-trick of a deal: the city is spared the task of selling individual tickets itself to raise revenue, the Wells Fargo Center has more premium seats available, and most importantly – the children of Philadelphia will have more basic resources for schools. This is a slam dunk.”

In 2013, as Kenney began positioning himself for a mayoral run, he challenged former Mayor Michael Nutter's decision not to utilize the suite as a revenue source. Between 2008 and 2012, Philadelphia handed out more than 30,000 free tickets to all kinds of events, according to the Committee of Seventy. About half of those tickets went to schoolchildren, charities and nonprofits, while the rest were allocated for distribution under the  the city's written public policy

“This agreement is truly exciting news for public school students in Philadelphia,” said Donna Frisby-Greenwood, president and CEO of The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia. “The proceeds will allow us to build on existing programs which leverage private support to power up the achievement of all of the city’s children.”