Revised ballpark lease would 'work for both of us,' Schaumburg and Boomers say

Three months after becoming sole owners of Schaumburg Boomers Stadium, village officials are poised tonight to enact revisions to the baseball team's lease agreement they say are in the best interests of both parties.

"It continues the relationship, and we like the direction the Boomers are heading," Mayor Tom Dailly said. "General Manager Michael Larson is doing a good job of hyping the team. The goal was for this (agreement) to work for both of us."

Larson agreed.

"It's a long-term commitment that smooths things out for both parties," he said. "We're looking forward to the stability that it presents."

The proposed changes would make some alterations to each side's responsibilities and share of revenue, with the aim that when the team does better, the village will do better as well, Dailly said.

While the agreement still seeks 10% of the team's gross revenue as rent, with a minimum of $75,000 per year, it would set a cap of $110,000 if the team makes less than $3 million. The village received $121,181 in rent in 2018.

But that cap would be raised to $132,000 if the team's gross revenue exceeds $3 million, and up to $176,000 if revenues were greater than $4 million.

On the other hand, the agreement asks the team to take on the cost of traffic control at the stadium and deduct that from its rent. The village may still be the party contracted to provide those services.

Dailly said he believes baseball games at the stadium remain one of the best entertainment deals in the area, and the excitement of kids at the ballpark make its value to the community clear.

"We're well aware that baseball isn't riding as high as it was, back in the; 90s," Dailly said. "But it's still a beautiful thing. ... It's an investment well worth it from the village's side."

Village Manager Brian Townsend said that while the agreement needed to be revised anyway after the Schaumburg Park District ceded its half-ownership of the stadium along with a $1 million payment to the village last October, it also presented an opportunity to address some of the financial relief the 8-season-old team had asked for.

The goal of the negotiations, he said, was to create an atmosphere in which the Boomers can grow their attendance and revenue.

The Boomers already boast the highest attendance in the 10-team Frontier League, which includes the Joliet Slammers.

Attendance rose from 142,185 in 2018 to 156,383 in 2019.

Still under discussion are a possible facility fee on tickets that would support capital improvements at the ballpark, and a list of which such projects would be done in the next four years.

The proposed revision would extend the lease - due to expire at the end of the 2020 season - through the 2024 season, with five-year extensions possible after that.

As the Schaumburg Boomers consider the revenue potential of video gambling at the stadium, the proposed lease agreement states that both the village and the team would evenly divide post-tax profits from any machines.

The village board meeting will start at 7 p.m. today at the municipal center, 101 Schaumburg Court.

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