JOLIET – Silver Cross Field won’t be the same next year. For one thing, it won’t have the same name.
The Joliet Slammers announced Thursday that the team is seeking a new naming rights partner for the stadium.
The minor league baseball park has been named Silver Cross Field since it opened in 2002. The Slammers had been negotiating naming rights again with Silver Cross Hospital as the original 15-year agreement comes to an end this season.
When asked why an agreement was not reached, Slammers President Nick Semaca said, “the short answer is that over 15 years, the hospital’s marketing priorities have changed.”
Semaca said that based on deals other teams are making, he expects the Slammers will negotiate a new agreement at more than the $150,000 a year in the Silver Cross contract.
The Slammers already have begun to talk with some local companies about naming rights but made the announcement Thursday in hopes of finding more potential partners, Semaca said.
“We’ve done some outreach on our own,” he said. “We thought we’d put it out there and see if there are some companies we didn’t think about.”
The Slammers hope to see the stadium enhanced in 2017 with field turf, which would allow for more use of the field than is possible with natural grass and more potential exposure for a naming rights partner.
The city of Joliet owns Silver Cross Field.
City officials in June presented a plan to expand a downtown business tax to new areas to fund, among other things, field turf at Silver Cross Field. The plan, however, has not yet been approved by the City Council.
Semaca said the Slammers expect to continue to have a partner relationship with Silver Cross Hospital in some other way.
“We and Silver Cross remain on very good terms,” he said.
Silver Cross officials were not immediately available for comment after the Slammers’ announcement late Thursday afternoon.
The announcement marks the second time in recent weeks that a local hospital and Joliet sports facility have severed their relationships. In June, the Joliet Park District board voted to negotiate a new naming rights agreement for its Presence Inwood Athletic Club, which has been sponsored by Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center since it opened. That 10-year agreement also ends later this year.
Silver Cross Hospital was located in Joliet when the stadium opened but moved to New Lenox in 2012, although the new hospital is near the Joliet city limits.
Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center now is under different ownership than when it first put its name on the Inwood athletic center.