Audit: Team San Jose exceeds revenue and tourism goals
The San Jose McEnery Convention Center is pictured in this file photo. Photo courtesy of Team San Jose.

In the last year, Team San Jose — a nonprofit that manages the city’s tourism, arts and cultural centers — exceeded its targeted revenue goals by more than $19 million, qualifying for an additional $200,000 in funds from the city as a result.

According to an annual audit, the nonprofit outperformed its goals across all categories in 2018-19, booking more than 170,000 hotel room nights, generating a massive sum of $138.8 million in tourism revenue for the city, holding 540 days of events at its cultural centers — a 97 percent average — and receiving 98 percent satisfaction ratings on its customer service surveys.

“We are very pleased about Team San Jose’s performance this year in context of a strong economic climate and a team of dedicated and hardworking staff,” said Frances Wong, the agency’s director of communications and marketing.

Team San Jose runs the city’s McEnery Convention Center, Visitors Bureau and its seven arts and entertainment venues including the California Theatre, the Center for the Performing Arts, Montgomery Theater, San Jose Civic and South Hall. Formed in 2003, the organization promotes the city as a “destination to stimulate economic development” through its tourism, arts, business and hospitality industries.

The city currently pays the business group $1 million in yearly funds to support the city’s upkeep of its facilities and operations, but provides an “incentive fee” of $200,000 if the organization meets or exceeds its financial goals for the year. In order to qualify for the extra funds, Team San Jose must meet a score of 100 percent or more across four areas: Gross operating results, economic impact — both weighted at 40 percent — theater and customer satisfaction, with the last two categories weighted at 10 percent each. In 2018-19, Team San Jose exceeded its goals by a margin of 18 percent, compared to about 11 percent in 2017-18.

With gross operating results alone, the nonprofit exceeded its goals by almost 30 percent, though it was a 15 percent decrease from 2017-18.

Still, Team San Jose has been doing well over the years. For the last nine years, the business group has exceeded its goals. While the organization has seen massive profits in recent years, it’s a dramatic shift from a decade ago when it almost lost its contract with the city for significantly going over budget, poor managerial oversight and handing out outrageous staff bonuses. The turnaround is a successful progression for the organization.

Team San Jose’s budget at the end of June was estimated at $11 million – an increase of $2 million from last year. The city spent about $6 million on projects in 2018-19, including installing concourse column covers at the Convention Center and remodeling restrooms at the Montgomery Theater. While the nonprofit outperformed on its gross operating results, it lost nearly $5 million in funds due to operating costs and the maintenance and repair of its facilities.

But several top events overseen by Team San Jose this past year contributed to the city’s booming economy, including the 2019 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, the College Football Playoff Fan Central, the 2019 National Hockey League All-Star Game, the FanimeCon 2019 and the 2019 Silicon Valley International Auto Show. Collectively, these events generated $44.5 million in funds for the city.

City auditor Joe Rois will present these findings to the community and economic development committee at its Nov.18 meeting.

Contact Nadia Lopez at nadia@sanjosespotlight.com or follow @n_llopez on Twitter.

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