District Attorney Seth Williams isn’t the only public official who receives gifts from the Eagles. According to the team, sideline passes are distributed to the fire chief, police commissioner and mayor, as well as an extra pass for one security personnel for each. Some 1,000 people also receive sidelines passes for pregame only.
The Eagles started giving the sideline passes to public officials in 2003, the opening year of the Linc. In a statement to Billy Penn, the team emphasized that Lincoln Financial Field was a publicly-owned building (as was Veterans Stadium), before saying certain public officials have been granted all-access passes for every game.
Last year, Mayor Jim Kenney called out the Eagles for not being as community-oriented as the Flyers and Sixers and for not offering Temple a better deal for rent at the Linc, which, as the Eagles say, is a publicly-owned building.
Lauren Hitt, Kenney’s communications director, said Thursday the mayor’s office wasn’t even aware Kenney received complimentary sideline passes. She said “we’ll have to talk to the Eagles to see if we actually are and if they’re comfortable with us treating them like the tickets for the Mayor’s Box and trying to sell them for the School District Fund.”
Whether Kenney will be able to do that is unknown. According to the Eagles, the passes cannot be sold or transferred.
The Mayor’s Office has luxury boxes at Lincoln Financial Field, the Wells Fargo Center and Citizens Bank Park. Kenney has attempted to sell most of those seats and give the proceeds to the school district this year, with limited success. As of late July, the administration had made only $23,000 in sales. Kenney hoped to raise $1 million. Most of the rest of the seats have gone to schoolchildren and nonprofits, which is similar to the way former Mayor Michael Nutter handled use of the luxury boxes.
“It’s been a learning process about this matter during the first six months of the administration,” spokesman Mike Dunn told the Inquirer of the Phillies seats. “And the results you see here do not in any way represent what we are trying to achieve.”
In addition to the sideline passes Williams and the others receive, the Eagles give out 1,000 pregame sideline passes per game. These go to VIP guests, which can include some season ticket holders, nonprofit groups, community members and celebrities.