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Joplin City Officials Hope Third Time Is A Charm For Independent - KOAM TV 7

Joplin City Officials Hope Third Time Is A Charm For Independent Professional Baseball

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Joplin, MO -

On Monday, Joplin's City Council will vote on a proposed contract with a new independent, professional baseball team.  This comes after another independent professional team, the Joplin Blasters, couldn't meet its contract with the City during its 2015 and 2016 seasons.

City officials met with us to talk about what's new with this proposal, besides a different team with different owners.

City officials say the third time looks like the charm for professional baseball.

"It's a great opportunity for us to partner with a group that is going to take a different approach to the facility, to Joe Becker Stadium," says Joplin Mayor Mike Seibert.

After two failed contracts with the Joplin Blasters, a proposed new contract has been drawn with the Southwest League of Professional Baseball.

"I think the lower base rent is going to be beneficial for the team," says Joplin City Manager Sam Anselm.

The base rents for the Blasters during contracts one and two were $150,000 then $75,000.  The base rent for Joplin's proposed new baseball team yet to be named is $35,000.

"It's not a high hurdle for them to overcome," says Anselm.  "They don't have to worry about selling tickets or doing other things to make that base rent amount."

The Blasters were only allowed to use Joe Becker's field from May through October, but the Southwest League would have access year-round.

"We'll get a 75 percent user fee for each of the tickets they sell into the stadium for ballgames, and if they would do things like concerts," says Seibert.  "The opportunities are really as much as they would like to receive the revenue from those opportunities."

The City of Joplin is paying off more than $1.7 million in debt for renovating Joe Becker Stadium, and City officials know the Southwest League is looking out for its best interest.

"I think we've done a good job as staff to be able to present a lease that I believe is fair and provides an opportunity for both sides to be successful in the future," says Anselm.

More private revenue to pay off Joe Becker renovations means less taxpayer money towards the same purpose.

The proposed contract will be a "done deal" if City Council approves it Monday night.  The proposed lease is for five years, starting January of 2019.  Click here for more details.

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