JOLIET, IL — Even though minor league baseball did not play its 2020 regularly scheduled season because of the pandemic, the Joliet Slammers organized a four-team City of Champions Cup that played all of its late summer games at Joliet's DuPage Medical Group Field.
Joliet Slammers majority owner Nick Semaca told the Joliet City Council at Tuesday night's meeting that attendance averaged 132 fans last summer. The largest crowd was 318. The champions cup consisted of a 27-game schedule.
"We really struggled with attendance," Semaca told the Council.
The owner of Joliet's minor league baseball team also remarked, "It was not pretty from a financial standpoint. It wasn't the greatest year."
Semaca appeared at Tuesday night's meeting in hopes of convincing the Joliet City Council to reduce the Joliet Slammers' rent payments for the 2020 season as well as the upcoming 2021 campaign.
He proposed his team's rent for 2020 and 2021 be 6 percent of the team's total revenue. The Joliet City Council is not expected to vote on the proposal until its next regular meeting, in February.
The Joliet Slammers have a lease agreement with Joliet to play its baseball games at the city-owned stadium in downtown Joliet. For years, Silver Cross Hospital had the naming rights for the stadium. Nowadays, the naming rights agreement is with DuPage Medical Group.
Back on June 24, the Frontier League announced it was canceling the 2020 season, prompting Joliet Slammers management to organize a four-team league to keep baseball alive last summer in Joliet.
The City of Champions Cup played baseball in downtown Joliet from July 16 through Sept. 6.
Semaca maintained that last summer's City of Champions Cup attracted 124 players, "the best collection ever seen in Joliet."
Not one player, coach, employee or spectator contracted the coronavirus, the owner said.
"The league was a terrific success," he told the Council.