News - Joliet and Will County

Slammers getting a new lease on Joliet stadium

City Council votes on lease Tuesday

Field view of Duly Health and Care Stadium home of the Joliet Slammers baseball team. Tuesday, May 10, 2022, in Joliet.

The Slammers are in line for a new lease that would keep the baseball team at the city-owned stadium until 2028.

The lease, which goes to the Joliet City Council on Tuesday for a vote, is longer than the usual three-year leases the team has been signing with the city.

It raises rent from the current yearly rate of $75,000 to $90,000. In 2026, rent would go to $105,000.

The lease also changes terms concerning naming rights for the stadium, giving the city approval of a stadium name but providing the Slammers with the authority to sell the naming rights. The new lease aim to keep the terms, including money paid by a naming-rights sponsor, under wraps.

Council member Pat Mudron, who chairs the council’s Stadium Committee, said the Slammers sought the longer lease for the stadium to show that the team will have stability in Joliet.

“That’s what they requested,” Mudron said. “They thought they needed something like this to show the league that they’re going to be here.”

The Slammers play in the Frontier League. Mudron noted that one team in the league does not have a home field and plays only road games.

City legal staff put language in the lease on the naming-rights agreement that would allow the Slammers to keep the terms of the agreement private and out of the public eye, Mudron said.

“We’re not going to know what’s in that agreement,” he said, noting that even the City Council won’t know.

The Slammers have contended that disclosing all the terms of the agreement, especially price, made it more difficult to negotiate agreements with new sponsors.

The city and the Slammers tried to keep terms of the current naming-rights agreement with Duly Health and Care out of the public view. The agreement only was made public to settle a lawsuit filed by The Herald-News demanding that its terms be disclosed.

The council agenda for Tuesday includes a summary of the lease but not the lease itself.

According to a lease attached to the agenda of the last meeting of the Stadium Committee, the team has the exclusive right to sell the naming rights to the stadium, and the city only has the right to approve the stadium name. According to that lease, naming rights will not include “any reference to tobacco, alcohol, drugs or adult-oriented business.”