Ahead of the circuit’s projected 2019 launch, the independent Southwest League is considering the use of Joplin, MO’s Joe Becker Stadium.
Conceived by Mark Schuster and the Ventura Sports Group, the Southwest League is slated to make its debut in 2019 with six teams. The league has been involved in discussions surrounding the construction of new ballparks in the Texas communities of Beallmead and Royse City, and has reportedly been in discussions about making Joplin one of its host cities.
As part of the process, the Southwest League wants to obtain a non-binding agreement with the city so that it can move forward with pitching investors on a Joplin club. Discussions have been unfolding over the last few months, and are expected to continue later this week, as the Southwest League is slated to go over the plan with the Joplin City Council on Wednesday. More from The Joplin Globe:
They met with members of the Joplin City Council on Oct. 16 about a proposal and asked for an answer about whether the city would enter into an agreement for the league to base a team at the stadium starting in 2019. They asked for an answer by Nov. 15, but early in November, [Joplin City Manager Sam] Anselm said the city would not be able to meet that timeline. He said then the city was still looking into the details of the proposal and the financials of its principals.
Anselm said league officials want to discuss with council members at Wednesday’s meeting the possibility of altering the terms of their proposal and be available to answer questions.
“They want to discuss the possibility of a non-binding memorandum of understanding between the league and the city that would give them the assurance they need as to they approach local investors, and allow time for the league and the city to develop terms for the lease of the stadium,” Anselm said in an email.
Mayor Mike Seibert said the discussions are intended make sure council members are aware of the details of the proposal and “to let people hear what we have been hearing,” regarding a nonbinding agreement.
The last professional club to call Joe Becker Stadium home was the Joplin Blasters (independent; American Association), who played two seasons there before ceasing operations after the 2016 campaign. In 2017, it hosted home games for the Joplin Outlaws (summer collegiate; MINK League).
RELATED STORIES: Joplin to Hear Joe Becker Stadium Pitch; Royse City Griffins Branding Unveiled; Bellmead Continues Ballpark Talks; New for 2018: Waco BlueCats; New Royse City Ballpark Pitched as Centerpiece of Larger Development; Royse City Approves Ballpark-Related Spending; Southwest League Coming to Royse City