Joliet Slammers ask for rent break for 2020-2021 baseball season


CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A suburban minor league baseball team is asking for a break on ballpark rent.

Minor league baseball shut down in 2020 thanks to the pandemic; and while the Joliet Slammers did play a four team tournament in front of fans for eight weeks, team officials told the Joliet City Council Stadium committee that the team lost over $350,000 thanks to COVID safety measures and capacity limits at DuPage Medical Group Field.

The ballpark is owned by the city, and team owner Nick Semaca asked that rent plus stadium naming-rights revenue owed be cut to six percent of total revenue, which would reduce rent from $116,500 to $44,000.

The team so far has paid $37,500 on the 2020 season.

Semaca said the number is based on the six percent of total revenue that rent cost the Slammers in its last normal season in 2019.

The team also wants 2021 rent to be based on six percent of revenue rather than the flat $116,500.

"Given that the uncertainty still exists, that we just reset to that six percent, make it simple. We are just looking for some help," Semaca said.

He said the average attendance per game was 132 fans in 2020, compared to an average of 2,500 in 2019.

The committee did not take a position on the proposal, but agreed to have the Slammers make a presentation to the full council on Jan. 19.