Stingrays losing money, council to vote on paying team up to $500,000

Stingrays losing money, council to vote on paying team up to $500,000

NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) - For Jonathan Zucker, on paper, the current state of the South Carolina Stingrays makes zero business sense.

Zucker, who's family owns the team, said the Stingrays have been losing money for more than 20 years, between $500-700,000 annually.

Until recently, the Zuckers have been footing the bill, but with new contract talks with the team's landlord, the City of North Charleston, the team could now be getting help, using taxpayer dollars.

North Charleston Finance Committee Chair Bobby Jameson, said committee members voted yes, by an 8-3 vote, to cover the team's financial losses by up to $250,00 a year for two year, or fifty percent of the loss.

The Stingrays play in the North Charleston Coliseum, a city-owned venue.

Jameson said he believes the Stingrays have as a positive impact on the community, and helping to cover its losses temporarily, would give the team time to increase revenue.

The team's lease was set to expire at the same time as its league affiliation, and says Zucker, the Stingrays need to secure a place to play quickly, before renewing their place in the ECHL.  Zucker says the contract proposal isn't a subsidy, rather a way to cut down the overall cost of the team's lease.

"Its a much bigger picture than just the financial picture," he said.

"We're not only giving back to the community by having the team, we're giving the players an opportunity to develop themselves."

North Charleston city council member Todd Olds voted against the proposal. He says the city already maintains the North Charleston Coliseum, and any other responsibilities should be left to the team.

The proposal is set to go up for a vote before full council Thursday night.

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