Chester considers tax on Union soccer tickets, charge for parking

To deal with budget problems, the strapped city of Chester is considering taxing soccer fans.  The proposal calls for adding a 10 percent tax on ticket sales for Philadelphia Union games, and a 20 percent charge for parking at the team’s home park.Though the team is called the Philadelphia Union, its stadium is located in Chester.

Mayor John Linder said the distressed city needs new revenue streams.

“It is not uncommon for that type of fee to be assessed for amusement or entertainment,” he said. “Most of the people there with those season tickets are not citizens of the city of Chester.  So we do our best with police and fire to provide them protection.  Our streets need a lot of repair, traffic has increased since we’ve had these two entities in our city.”Linder said he wants the team and nearby Harrah’s Casino to thrive, but as mayor he must look at every financial possibility.  The team’s site is exempt from property taxes until next year, but owners pay the city $500,000 a year in lieu of taxes.”That’s a lot of money for our business,” said Philadelphia Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz. “We think half a million dollars is a lot of money.  We’re only going into our third year now and we’re trying to get our legs underneath us as a business. 

“We’re not like other professional sports teams that get hundreds of millions of dollars in TV revenue,” he says.

Sakiewicz said if the proposed taxes become a reality, it would be catastrophic for the Union.  Discussions with the city are ongoing, her said.  

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