Five years and running, search for Schaumburg stadium sponsor goes on
While the home of the Chicago White Sox transitions from U.S. Cellular Field to Guaranteed Rate Field this offseason, Schaumburg's minor league ballpark remains simply Boomers Stadium, as it has for the past five seasons, despite ongoing efforts to find a company willing to pay for its naming rights.
And with Rosemont planning to host a minor league ball team of its own in 2018, there may soon be two Northwest suburban stadiums in the market for corporate sponsorship.
Schaumburg Village Manager Brian Townsend believes it's unlikely the ballparks will be competing for the same potential sponsors, however. He thinks they'll end up sponsored by businesses closely associated with each community.
While Schaumburg's stadium is co-owned by the village and Schaumburg Park District, it's the privately owned Boomers -- as the tenant -- given the prime responsibility for seeking out a naming sponsor, because the team is seen as being closer to the business community, Townsend said.
The ballpark was known as Alexian Field -- after sponsor Alexian Brothers Health System -- when the Schaumburg Flyers played there from 1999 to 2010.
Pete Laven, president of Schaumburg Boomers owner Salvi Sports Enterprises, said companies in the market for naming rights are often interested in making a splash. That could mean either new companies looking to establish their name, or those seeking to attach their brand to a particular demographic.
Companies that have expressed some interest in recent years have been looking to build their local market share, Townsend said.
Under an agreement between the Boomers, Schaumburg and the park district, if a naming rights contract is for $150,000 or less per year, the Boomers would get 90 percent of those revenues, with and the village and park district splitting the rest. The village and park district would get another 10 percent if the sponsorship deal exceeds $150,000, and yet another 10 percent if they play an instrumental role in getting the deal signed, Townsend said.
While the stadium doesn't have a company name, the Boomers team has a presenting sponsor in Wintrust Community Banks. The partnership is more focused on the branding of the team, down to having the company's logo on uniforms and painted on the field, Laven said.
Salvi Sports Enterprises also owns the Gary SouthShore RailCats, who play in a different independent league. Since 2002, their stadium in Gary, Indiana has been the U.S. Steel Yard through the naming sponsorship of the company across the road, Laven said.
The fit is such a natural one that the rights were renewed in 2013 through the 2022 season, he added.
"Every market is so completely different," Laven said.
For the past 15 years, the stadium where the Joliet Slammers play in the Boomers' same Frontier League has been Silver Cross Field, after sponsor Silver Cross Hospitals.
But those naming rights are expiring after the current season, Joliet Slammers General Manager Heather Mills said. She hopes the publicity over the team being in first place in its division will help find a new sponsor for the 2017 season.
The Boomers' back-to-back championships in 2013 and '14 helped build their brand, Laven said. But even in 2016, with the team currently sits in last place in its division, the team is setting a record for its average attendance -- now at 3,557 people per game.