Special Events Receive $280,000 in City Support

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Jay Haas at the 2016 Toshiba Classic golf tournament, which he went on to win. The local sports competition was a major topic of discussion Tuesday as Newport Beach City Council voted on which special events to support with funding for the upcoming fiscal year.
— Photo by Jim Collins ©

A number of events in Newport Beach have the support of City Council this week as they approved more than a quarter of a million dollars for the city’s Special Event Support Program.

Council voted 6-0 on Tuesday to support most of the staff’s recommendations, with a few added amendments.

The move supports 18 “community and charitable events” with $55,011 and five “signature events” with $229,000. Council members also agreed to add up to $15,000 in fee waivers for the 2018 Toshiba Classic golf tournament.

The community and charitable program includes “hyper-local focused events,” as Public Information Manager Tara Finnigan described them, from HOA, neighborhood groups, schools and more.

For the smaller amounts, the city support helps cover the fees associated with holding the event in Newport Beach.

The other category, signature events, are funded out of the economic development budget. They are larger events that bring people into the city, Finnigan explained.

The biggest amendment made was the decision to include funds for the Toshiba Classic, which city staff had originally recommended nothing.

Brian Horn, 35-year Newport Beach resident and a member of the Hoag Charity Sports Board of Directors, spoke on behalf of the local annual golf tournament.

He asked the council members to reconsider staff’s recommendation and provide “needed funding” in line with the impact Toshiba Classic has on the city.

“Help us re-energize the tournament that’s coming in March and help us promote the tournament,” Horn said. “We need you guys as partners for what we do for this city.”

The golf tournament has contributed more than $19 million to benefit Hoag and other local charities, including Newport Beach Explorer Scouts and the Newport Harbor and Corona del Mar golf teams. Proceeds from the 2018 tournament will benefit the Mary & Dick Allen Diabetes Center at Hoag.

The gallery watches golfer Duffy Waldorf during the 2015 Toshiba Classic, just before he claimed the top spot for the tournament.
— Photo by Jim Collins ©

There is also a huge local economic impact during the tournament, he added.

“We can get people here and get them to spend their dollars while they’re here,” Horn said.

Some people may think support from the city would be “inconsequential,” he commented, but “nothing could be further from the truth.”

There are two big upcoming challenges, he explained, including the potential loss of the title sponsor, Toshiba. The Toshiba Corporation is “not very healthy” right now, added Jeff Purser, executive director of the Toshiba Classic Golf Tournament.

They are currently searching for a replacement, which includes considering Hoag.

The second challenge is re-educating and re-branding the tournament to become more locally prominent.

Funds from the city would be used “specifically for that purpose and no other purpose at all,” Horn confirmed.

They have an overall revenue goal each year of about $6.5 million, operating on about $5.4 million, Purser explained. The Toshiba corporation contributes about $3 million of that, he confirmed.

“City support would be meaningful,” Purser said.

The city has not contributed to the Toshiba Classic “in recent history,” for – at least – about 10 years, Finnigan noted.

City fees for Toshiba run between $11,000 and $12,000, Finnigan confirmed. They also hire extra help for parking and traffic support that totals about $20,000, Purser added.

Toshiba Classic brings a lot of economic impact into the city, agreed Mayor Kevin Muldoon and other council members. Muldoon suggested waiving the city fees  for the upcoming March tournament.

Looking at the entire mix and what organizations and events are worthy of city funding, Toshiba should definitely be included, Councilman Brad Avery said. Hoag and the other local charities that benefit from the tournament are incredibly worthy, he said.

“Shake it up a bit,” Avery said.

The other big item on the list discussed quite a bit on Tuesday was the Christmas Boat Parade.

“There’s a lot of support on the dais for the Christmas Boat Parade,” Muldoon said.

It’s a wonderful event and a great tradition, Muldoon said.

A participant in the 2016 Christmas Boat Parade, hosted by the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce. The city agreed to a four-year agreement for grant funds for the large event.
— Photo by Lawrencce Sherwin ©


Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce President Steve Rosansky spoke about the parade and urged the council to support the local annual event.

The economic impact of the parade is about $6.5 million, according to a study by Newport Beach & Co.

Council agreed to enter into a three-year agreement with a one-year renewal for the boat parade, at $50,000 per year. Chamber officials asked for a five-year agreement, but Rosansky noted the staff proposal was a “fair and reasonable compromise.”

Councilman Will O’Neill recommended using the money from the Visit Newport Beach restricted funds, which is generated from the Transient Occupancy Tax, to pay for the city’s support portion of the Christmas Boat Parade. The parade brings people into the city who stay in the local hotels, so it – in essence – cycles back around, O’Neill said. And it frees up $50,000 in the general fund, he added.

The chamber also received $500 for the Corona del Mar Sand Castle Contest, held this year on Oct. 1, and $15,000 for the upcoming 2018 CdM Scenic 5K, scheduled for June 2 next year, among a number of other events.

The smallest amount the city granted is $452, which went to several community events, including Balboa Peninsula Point Association’s Fourth of July Parade & Picnic and the Newport Harbor Educational Foundation’s Newport Harbor Home & Garden Tour.

Newport Beach Film Festival received the largest amount at $150,000 per year under a three-year agreement through 2019. The one-week event draws people from across the region to the city. The 2018 film fest  is scheduled for April 26 to May 3.

For more information,. visit newportbeachca.gov.

[Editor’s Note: Newport Beach Independent’s parent company, Firebrand Media, has been retained as the media sponsor for the 2017 Christmas Boat Parade]

Newport Beach Film Festival received $150,000 per year on a three-year contract.
— NB Indy file photo ©
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