The Joliet Slammers (independent; Frontier League) have secured a lease for the 2018 season, signing a one-year pact that includes modified terms.
The Slammers had been working with Joliet officials to finalize a new lease agreement, a step that comes as both sides prepare for the installation of an artificial turf playing surface at the team’s home ballpark. Ultimately, the agreed upon lease will see a few key changes from the previous deal. Most notably, for the Slammers, the terms will include reduced rent–$25,000 compared to $75,000–while also allowing the team to assume a greater share of naming rights proceeds.
For the two sides, the deal came after some negotiation. While the Slammers had reportedly sought a longer-term commitment, city officials say that they wanted to allow more time to evaluate the effects of the new playing surface. More from The Herald-News:
The city also will pay more than half of the utility bills at the stadium, get a lesser share from stadium naming rights revenue, and take on certain maintenance responsibilities.
The city, in turn, gets the flexibility of seeing the effect of artificial turf before entering into a long-term contract with the Slammers, which also manages the stadium. Artificial turf is expected to allow for more events and revenue at the stadium
“The unknown is how many events are going to be had there and what is an appropriate share of the revenue,” [Interim City Manager Marty] Shanahan said. “They asked for a much longer period of time (in the lease). With the unknowns of the turf, we asked for a shorter period of time. For a compromise, we have a shorter period of time with less rent.”
The new agreement will lead to the two sides equally splitting naming rights revenue, whereas the previous deal called for the city to receive 60% of the proceeds. Silver Cross Hospital held the naming rights for Silver Cross Field through the 2016 season, and the search for a new naming rights partner continues.
The Joliet City Council approved the lease agreement on Tuesday. The previous five-year lease is set to expire at the end of this month.
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