City Manager: Joplin Blasters attendance could be up - KOAM TV 7

City Manager: Joplin Blasters attendance could be up

Joplin, MO -

The Joplin Blasters have signed a long-term agreement with the City of Joplin.  But city officials say there are unknowns about how the team is doing so far this year.

"Essentially, at the end of the day, it's a landlord tenant relationship," says Joplin City Manager Sam Anselm.

The City of Joplin lets the Joplin Blasters use Joe Becker field.

"I don't really engage them too much," says Anselm.  "I mean, they're doing their own thing over there."

But Anselm still has interest in the team.  It comes from having Joplin pride.

"You know, everybody I've talked to, walking into on the street or things, they're talking about the Blasters.  Those who have gone to the games have enjoyed the experience," says Anselm.

The Blasters have a 20 year lease with the city to use Joe Becker Stadium, with the city having the right to terminate the lease if the team doesn't pay lease and utility payments.  Anselm says the Blasters have paid what has been owed.  

But Anselm says he's heard from team members about concerns.  

"From the team, I think they would prefer to see attendance up," says Anselm.

Team owners have twice declined our requests for on-camera interviews, but in an e-mail said they have seen attendance grow.  They blame attendance numbers on rain, and numbers from the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball show the Blasters have played the fewest home games, compared to any of the other 12 teams in the association.  The Blasters have had seven home games rained out.

Earlier this year, there were plans to build a shopping area near the stadium to help attract stadium business.  For now, though, Joe Becker Stadium is alone at the plate.

"There was a partnership that was originally formed with the team, and then with a developer.  The developer pulled out of that partnership.  When attendance picks up over time, I think attendance will be where it needs to be, from a team perspective, to continue.  That will attract the developers around there, because there is a need for some pre-game and post-game entertainment over there," says Anselm.

Numbers from the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball show the Joplin Blasters average about 15 hundred ticket sales per home game.


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