The Slippery Rock Sliders (summer collegiate; Prospect League) are moving to Carleton Davidson Stadium in Springfield, Ohio and will be known as the Champion City Kings for 2014.
The Sliders never took off, either as an independent Frontier League team or as a summer-collegiate franchise. It was set up with some unique ties with the local university, but the crowds never appeared, and the team averaged only 242 fans a game in 2013.
“We’re proud to call Springfield our home and be a part in strengthening the community with this great American pastime,” said team owner Ron Heineman via press release. “We have been welcomed to Springfield with open arms and couldn’t think of a better location to make our home. I have hired Rick White as our general manager not only for his extensive baseball background, including over a decade as a major league pitcher, but also for his deep ties to his hometown community, Springfield.”
“We are truly excited about adding a franchise that will play at the Carleton Davidson Stadium,” said Leann Castillo, director of the National Trail Parks and Recreation District. “The combination of this areas passion and history of baseball is an incredible opportunity to provide affordable entertainment and additional revenue for local businesses.”
Castillo said the team will pay the regular stadium rental fee of $350 per game for next season with the intention of reaching a multi-year contract in the future. NTPRD will make approximately $10,500 from the agreement.
NTPRD has been contacted by similar leagues in the past, but the deals haven’t worked out. In August, the league contacted the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce and NTPRD for a meeting to talk about the possibilities, and “it just went from there,” Castillo said.
“It was a win-win for everybody,” Castillo said. “It was a pretty quick turnaround.”
It’s not the only change in the Prospect League for 2014: the Quincy Gems are on the block, with new ownership expected. The local Civic Center, which lost $78,000 on the Gems last season, announced the team was for sale, per a press release.
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