There’s A Nonexistent Charity Raking In Huge Money At Petco Park

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Attendance at Petco Park in San Diego has been exceptionally high this year.

After the Padres reached the 2022 NLCS and ownership invested heavily in the team in free agency, ticket sales for the 2023 season ramped up dramatically. Despite playing in one of Major League Baseball‘s smaller markets, the Padres rank third in total attendance.

Unsurprisingly then, food and beverage outlets at Petco Park have been raking it substantial revenues. Part of the stadium policy is to give 10% of those revenues to charities, an ostensibly easy way for the team and fans to give back.

There’s just one problem; one of the charities that’s profiting from record attendance doesn’t actually seem to exist.

An investigation by Voice of San Diego found that one of the more prolific nonprofit food and beverage operators, Chula Vista Fast Pitch, is not actually an active organization. And hasn’t been since 2014.

So uh, what’s going on there?

Petco Park
SAN DIEGO, CA – JUNE 23: A general exterior view prior to the game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on Thursday, June 23, 2022 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Petco Park Has Some Questions To Answer

The Voice of San Diego investigation found that Chula Vista Fast Pitch has no website, no filings as a nonprofit, and the closest associated charity shut down in 2014. Yet the organization continues to operate numerous food and beverage stands in one of the busiest stadiums in America.

And no one knows how.

The Padres contract management of their food and beverage offerings to a company called Delaware North, one of the largest such companies in the industry. Delaware North, unsurprisingly, requires charities operating at Petco to submit paperwork periodically confirming their nonprofit status.

Yet when contacted by Voice of San Diego, they essentially admitted they’d have to investigate Chula Vista Fastpitch to provide further details.

Delaware North did, however, say that the charity operates up to 12 food stands per night. And according to receipts gathered as part of the investigation, that led to around $3.7 million in total revenue up through mid-June. 10% of that, roughly $370,000, went to Chula Vista Fastpitch.

The charity that doesn’t exist.

Delaware North issued a statement saying they intended to “review” where that money is actually going.

“We are actively looking into the recent information presented to us regarding the status of Chula Vista Fastpitch and will determine our course of action after our review is complete,” Charlie Roberts, the director of public relations, wrote in a statement.

The Padres essentially said that all food and beverage operations are handled by Delaware North, implying they’re as in the dark as everyone else.

Extremely Bizarre Situation

The investigation concluded by attempting to find out who’s actually operating the stands and taking in revenue. And while there were several men identified, it’s hard to say for certain exactly who’s running operations or where the money’s going.

Rules around charities and nonprofits are generally strict, and someone must have submitted periodic paperwork to Delaware North affirming that Chula Vista Fastpitch qualified.

Fans at Petco Park are used to paying exorbitant prices for food, though the charitable component makes ballpark prices a bit more tolerable.

It won’t be well received by locals to learn that hundreds of thousands of dollars per year are essentially vanishing into thin air. Thanks to a nonexistent charity.

Written by Ian Miller

Ian Miller is a former award watching high school actor, author, and long suffering Dodgers fan. He spends most of his time golfing, traveling, reading about World War I history, and trying to get the remote back from his dog. Follow him on Twitter @ianmSC

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