Schaumburg Boomers seek an exit option if pandemic cancels 2021 season
Even as the Schaumburg Boomers negotiate another five-year lease extension at their village-owned home stadium, the independent league baseball team is also seeking a one-time-only option to cancel that lease altogether if its 2021 season were again canceled by COVID-19.
"That option is extremely unlikely, even if the season were canceled," Schaumburg Boomers General Manager Michael Larson said.
As much as the Boomers remained active and visible in the community as an entertainment venue with socially distanced fireworks shows and dining in lieu of baseball, the organization is looking at a 90% drop in revenue in 2020, Larson added.
As a result, the team is seeking two amendments to its lease agreement -- both of which were recommended by the village's finance, legal and general government committee Monday.
One would create the option for the team to cancel its lease and vacate the stadium within 30 days if the Frontier League's 2021 season were canceled and notice was given by July 1.
The other would reduce the Boomers' 2020 rent to $9,500 -- 10% of the $95,000 the Chicago White Sox are paying the team to use the stadium as a training ground for its taxi squad of players not on the active roster.
The Boomers' rent is typically 10% of the team's gross revenue for a season, with a minimum of $75,000.
The village board will vote on these proposed and recommended changes Aug. 25, but some officials have already expressed their understanding of the request.
"As much as we love baseball, it's still a business," Schaumburg Mayor Tom Dailly said. "You can't sit around losing money. ... Let's be honest, if the Frontier League isn't playing baseball next year, you can't hold the business to stay if there is no business."
Schaumburg Village Manager Brian Townsend said offering the option is no reason to doubt the Boomers' intention to stay.
"Everything we've been told by the Boomers if that they want to be here playing baseball in front of fans," he added.
"It just gives us the option if a major fallout in sports got worse," he said.
Dailly said the village has made enough decisions related to COVID-19 this year and won't make any alternative plans for the stadium prematurely.
Townsend said staff won't contemplate different uses of the site without the board's direction, and that seeking another baseball team would be the first avenue anyway if the Boomers were to leave.