Joplin City Hall memo: Blasters closed last year with $122,732.00 loss

Joplin City Hall memo: Blasters closed last year with $122,732.00 loss

The following is a memo we received from the City of Joplin through a Sunshine request. Financials show the Joplin Blasters baseball team ended last year with an annual loss of $122,732.00.


TO: Sam Anselm, and

Joplin City Council

FROM: Leslie Haase, Finance Director

DATE: November 12, 2015

SUBJECT: Joe Becker Stadium Proposed Term Sheet

At a work session on October 26, Council directed staff to work with the Blasters to determine possible parameters of a new lease for the use of the newly renovated Joe Becker Stadium. On October 27, staff met with the Blasters and had a lengthy discussion about the possible parameters. On November 4, Councilman Stanley and I went to the offices of the Blasters to review their detailed financial information.

The financial information we reviewed had been updated from the previous information provided to the City. The Blasters currently show total revenues of $799,599.00 and total expenditures of $922,331.00. This is an annual loss of $122,732.00.

Currently, the City is paying $143,077.00 for the 2015 debt payment and will pay $143,800.00 for the 2016 debt payment. Additionally, the operational costs for the City for a partial fiscal year are currently $174,300.00. Prior to the renovation of JBS, the normal operational costs for Joe Becker Stadium (JBS) ranged from $100,000.00 to $110,000.00. The City has received $83,658.00 to date from the Blasters. This means the current financial impact to the City is as follows:

Current costs to the City approximately $317,500.00 or $233,800.00 less the current Blaster payments. This is $123,800.00 above years prior to the renovation.

The 2015 season is the inaugural season for the Blasters and the City both for independent baseball and a newly renovated stadium. There are additional revenue opportunities for the City and the Blasters. There are also opportunities to reduce expenses for the City and the Blasters. The Blasters began to make adjustments during the season and have conveyed plans to continue to raise additional revenue and reduce expenses, based on the lessons learned in the first year.

The attached proposed term sheet serves as the basis for a possible restructuring of the current lease with the Blasters, if the City Council so desires. The terms allow the City to cut costs and raise additional revenues, while ensuring the Blasters raise additional revenue and continue to reduce expenses.

Given the proposed terms, the exact financial impact to the City is unknown, because it depends on the costs to the City of utilizing the stadium in the off-season and any additional revenues the City can generate from the remodeled facility. However, if operations are similar to past years when the City utilized the facility year-round, the additional cost to the City would be the annual debt payment, less the annual rent payment from the Blasters. If there is an increased cost to the city as a result of any possible renegotiation of the lease, the funds from closing the parking fund could be used for a time period.

It is the City Council’s decision whether to restructure the lease with the Blasters, and if so, in what manner. There are components included in the proposed terms to increase the payments to the city based on attendance levels. The City invested over $4.7 million in Joe Becker Stadium for independent baseball. Staff has tried to provide the best structure possible to assist the Council with this decision.

The ultimate question is what does independent baseball bring to Joplin? Certainly, independent baseball has provided Joplin and the surrounding region with an additional entertainment opportunity in a community with limited options. If independent baseball retains people in our community at night and weekends or attracts others to town, Joplin will benefit from some level of increased sales tax. I would be happy to answer any questions.