No answers on Joliet stadium naming rights deal

Interim City Manager Martin Shanahan said Monday that he does not believe the city has a right to see the naming rights agreement for the city-owned baseball stadium.

Mayor Bob O’Dekirk, meanwhile, would not say whether he has signed the agreement.

The naming rights agreement was announced May 21 by the Slammers, who negotiated the contract with
DuPage Medical Group and are now calling the stadium DuPage Medical Group Field.

The announcement ended two years without a corporate sponsor for the stadium, but has led to questions about how much money the city gets from the deal, whether the “Route 66 Stadium” name has been erased, and whether the agreement was properly approved by the city.

City council members at a Stadium Committee meeting Monday were unable to find out from Shanahan what DuPage Medical Group is paying for the naming rights.

Shanahan said he wanted to show respect for the new sponsor and meet with
DuPage Medical and the Slammers before publicly discussing the agreement.

“There’s nothing in our lease agreement that says we have a right to see or get a copy of the naming rights agreement with the Slammers and DuPage Medical,” Shanahan said.

The lease with the Slammers makes the team the “exclusive agent in the selling or licensing of the naming rights.”

But it also gives the city “the right to approve the terms of the naming rights agreement” and “the sole and exclusive right to name or rename the stadium” while providing for a 50-50 split with the Slammers on revenue from the deal.

Joliet resident John Sheridan, president of the Cunningham Neighborhood Council, told the committee that he believed the agreement should have come to the council for review.

Cunningham asked Shanahan if any city officials have signed the agreement.

“I haven’t signed anything,” Shanahan said. “I can’t answer for anyone else in the city.”

Slammers Vice President of Sales and Marketing John Wilson previously told The Herald-News that the agreement has been approved by the city and signed by the mayor.

Mayor Bob O’Dekirk would not confirm or deny that he signed the agreement.

“I’ll let the Slammers explain the process because they were the ones that negotiated [the agreement],” O’Dekirk said Monday.

The mayor said he did not understand what the Stadium Committee was doing and was concerned that
sponsor might "walk away" from the agreement.

The Stadium Committee plans to meet again next week when Wilson can attend. He was not at the Monday meeting.