• City Council member proposes increased ticket fee at downtown Jacksonville venues

    By: Larry Spruill , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    Ticket prices maybe going up at some downtown Jacksonville venues.

    City Council may vote on increasing ticket user fees in order to help fund what they say is much-needed maintenance on downtown entertainment complexes.

    Downtown is home to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the newly renamed Jumbo Shrimp baseball team and many concerts. These entertainment options are all in one place.

    "I love it," Raheem Cannon said. "It’s a great environment. It definitely has potential."

    Cannon said he really believes in downtown and thinks it just needs a little boost.

    City Councilman Bill Gulliford said the downtown entertainment district needs some work, starting from the inside out.

    “The arena has had some problems,” Gulliford said. 

    Problems he says can be fixed with a lot of maintenance. That’s why he wants to raise the ticket user fees on tickets at the Times Union Center, the baseball stadium and the Veterans Memorial Arena.

    Gulliford said the money will go toward taking care of these venues.

    “Some go for a dollar to $2.50, that’s pretty much the range,” Gulliford said.

    Tickets at the Times Union Center vary in price, but the new service fee would add $2.50 to a ticket, a $1.50 increase from the current fee.

    Same goes for Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, where the average ticket costs about $33. 

    If you buy a $5 single ticket to see the Jumbo Shrimp, the new service fee is also $2.50, $2 more than the current service fee.

    “The general fund is not the way to pay that, because you’re talking about a fund that is supposed to pay public safety, public welfare, etc.,” Gulliford said.

    Jacksonville Symphony President Robert Massey said he had initial problems with the proposal.

    Massey sent Action News Jax a statement: 

    When first learning of the proposed ticket fee increase, the Symphony expressed concerns over what the 150% increase in seat fees would mean for its patrons, many of who are on fixed incomes. The Symphony is dedicated to offering a breadth of programs and ensuring that symphonic music is accessible to all in northeast Florida. At a time where the Symphony posted its first balanced budget in decades, we wanted to ensure that any increase in costs would not jeopardize our ability to perform.

    However, upon meeting with Council Member Guilliford and City officials, we were pleased to hear that part of the ordinance calls for seat fees to be used at the facility they are generated. The Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts has not had any major work done in more than twenty years and is in need of capital improvement.

    Coming at the mid point in our season, we were also glad to hear that all of our performances currently scheduled will be grandfathered in at the old rate. This gives us time to prepare for the increase next season.

    While fee increases are unpopular, this ordinance is ultimately an investment in the future of the arts in Jacksonville and the Symphony is pleased that the City Council is addressing the importance of preserving its entertainment facilities.”

    Action News Jax reached out to Jumbo Shrimp, they said the organization had no comment.

    Next Up: