Baseball: Slammers CEO Josh Schaub says team in it for long haul
By Tim Tierney For Sun-Times Media August 25, 2014 9:26PM
Josh Schaub is in his second season as CEO of the Joliet Slammers. | Tim Tierney/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 26, 2014 2:13AM
If the plans of Joliet Slammers CEO Josh Schaub pan out, the Frontier League organization should have a long future in downtown Joliet.
“We’re not looking to sell,’’ he said.
The second-year CEO was asked about multiple topics involving the team and Silver Cross Field during a 30-minute interview with the SouthtownStar. Here are the highlights:
On the 2014 season:
“There’s some players that talent-wise, there’s no doubt they should still be here, but they lost the drive. We had retirements. ... It has been extremely frustrating from a management perspective, ownership perspective to have the turnover.
“We’ve had 27 one-run games (12-15 record), which has to be a Frontier League record. If some of those games go the other way, a little momentum here and there. We’ve had disappointments with players who were at Triple-A.’’
On manager Jeff Isom:
“What’s great about this league, we can go from worst to first next year, and I think I have the manager to do it. I truthfully believe that, and I think that’s the key. Jeff will be back next year.’’
On the importance of a winning team:
“For a majority of the season, as long as you’re contending people are happy. When you have three years of losing baseball, it starts to wear on people. People start to get disinterested.
“Then you start to get the label of not only are you not a winning team, but it’s sloppy baseball. No one wants to be a part of that. That devalues your ticket integrity. ‘Do I want to pay $10 to watch a team that’s 15 games below .500.’ ’’
On financial status of the organization:
“When we (Schaub and Nick Semaca) acquired the team, we laid out a three-year financial plan and we are within that plan. We are executing what we thought we could at this stage.
“We are beating expectations in some metrics, one being food and beverage. We’ve already surpassed last year’s net income on food and beverage. We’ll probably end up 20 to 25 percent ahead of last year.
“Tickets, we’re 10 percent ahead of 2012. We’re 8 percent ahead of last year on tickets. So we’re doing very well in those departments.’’
On attendance figures:
“We report paid tickets. Everyone reports numbers differently. One team may report tickets distributed. Maybe you gave 10 comps to the gas station clerk and dropped a bunch off at the grocery stores.”
“You may report the amount of paid attendees that paid for the ticket. Some teams report actual attendance, people that walk through the turnstile. We report paid tickets.’’
On naming rights deal with Silver Cross Hospital:
“The term Silver Cross Hospital gets to put that name on the field is 15 years. That naming rights deal expires after next season. We split that revenue with the city. Silver Cross, hopefully is that partner that wants to stay on with us. If not, we will seek a new naming rights partner.
“That’s priority No. 1. We need to knock that out. Once that is taken care of, we know that we’re going to have the revenue stream for X amount of years.’’
On improvements to the field:
“FieldTurf is on our radar, but that’s a million-dollar investment I don’t think we can make without having that long-term lease. We need to see the return on that investment.’’
On additions to the park:
“We did the beer garden this year. Every year we have to have something new. We look around the industry and other teams and see what’s hot.
“Four-top tables are really big. Teams are selling season tickets like this with servers, instead of having to get up and go to the concession stand. We can manipulate the seating. We can take out seats, put in these areas.’’
On future events at Silver Cross Field:
“We’ll continue to look for best practices across the industry. We try to steal as many ideas as we can, truthfully.
“One is concert growth. That is a platform we need to grow. We have this facility 365 days a year, we need to utilize it 365 days a year. Soccer tournaments I want to grow. Extra events.’’