Employees of the U.S. Postal Service spent nearly $15,000 on season and group tickets to professional basketball, football and baseball games, “imprudent spending” that could damage the agency’s public image, auditors said.

The $14,778 tab for sports tickets in one unnamed city last year did not directly violate USPS purchasing procedures because they were bought for “recognition” awards for postal employees. But a report released last week by the agency’s inspector general said the expenses were “in direct conflict with the Postal Service’s objective of driving down costs in all operations and processes.”