JOLIET – The Slammers are making a profit at Silver Cross Field and so is the city of Joliet, the baseball team’s chief executive said last week.
The Joliet Slammers delivered a Community Impact Report at the same time it was asking the city to spend $361,000 for a new scoreboard at Silver Cross Field.
Slammers CEO Josh Schaub made a point of emphasizing revenues created for the city at the ballpark while making presentations to the Joliet City Council. The city owns the ballpark.
“We have done a very poor job, I believe, in communicating the value of the Slammers to the city,” Schaub told the Joliet City Council Baseball Committee on Monday. “The stadium has been profitable to the city of Joliet under our ownership the last two years, according to our records.”
The Slammers reported more than $137,000 in direct revenue to the city from rent, naming rights income, food and beverage taxes and other items.
The city, which owns Silver Cross Field, did not have an outline of what expenses it incurred at the stadium. Schaub said he was confident the city made more money than it spent there.
That might be the case, but one reason could be that the city delayed a major project last year – fixing a leak that creates problems in the stadium storage area.
City Manager Jim Hock said $180,000 is budgeted for the project, which is expected to be done at the end of this year.
That project, on top of the purchase of the new scoreboard and video screen, approved by the council Tuesday, will cost the city $541,000. That’s almost four times the revenue Silver Cross Field delivered to the city in 2014.
Fortunately for the city, neither one of the big-ticket items coming due this year should be ongoing costs. The existing scoreboard has been there since the stadium opened in 2002, and the new one is expected to last longer.
Hock said last week there are no other major expenses pending at Silver Cross Field.
City revenues from Silver Cross Field will improve in one aspect: The rent paid by the Slammers goes up to $75,000. The current ownership has paid $50,000 a year in its first two years.
Schaub said the team is making money, and one reason is the organization does more than play baseball.
Silver Cross Field in 2014 hosted Hopstring Fest, a craft beer and rock music festival, three other concerts and a mixed martial arts event. In all, Schaub said, the field was used for 219 events on 177 dates.
Other events include movie nights on Fridays, which Schaub noted will be enhanced by the video screen on the new scoreboard.
Of the 219 events in 2014, Slammer games accounted for 59 of them.
But 58 other events counted by the Slammers were dates when the field was used for practice by the University of St. Francis, which also played 20 home games at Silver Cross Field.
Another 18 dates were taken by high school baseball games at Silver Cross Field.
In addition, the IHSA baseball state championships are played at Silver Cross Field. The event takes one weekend. But the Slammers counted 8,000 people coming to the stadium on those two days.
When Schaub arrived in 2012, he said the plan was to bring events beyond baseball into the stadium.
“We feel we have lived up to that,” he told city officials last week. “We have brought in a significant number of events in addition to Slammers game.”
2014 SLAMMERS REVENUE FOR JOLIET
• Rent: $50,000
• Stadium Naming Rights: $35,100
• Food & Beverage Taxes and Licenses: $15,191
• Hotel and Real Estate Taxes: $11,691
• Payments for Police and EMT Services: $25,507
Source: Joliet Slammers Community Impact Report