(The Center Square) – Illinois towns with minor league baseball teams will be taking a hit this summer.
The National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues has canceled the season, citing crowd gathering limitations.
“We are a fans-in-the-stands business. We don’t have national TV revenues,” President Pat O’Conner said during a news conference. “There was a conversation at one point: Can we play without fans? That was one of the shortest conversations in the last six months. It just doesn’t make any sense.”
O’Conner estimated about 90% of revenue was related to ticket money, concessions, parking and ballpark advertising.
There are eight minor league teams in the state, including in Joliet, Peoria, Geneva, and Marion. Cody Moake, the Marion mayor’s chief of staff, says businesses in town will definitely take an economic hit with no baseball.
“Obviously from a commerce standpoint, it is something we are not necessarily excited about,” Moake said. “Obviously having the team here brings in a lot of commerce on our hospitality industry.”
Mayor Richard Sauget Jr. of Sauget, home to the Gateway Grizzlies, said fans come from miles around for the games.
“A lot of the area comes probably within an hour reach to come to Grizzlies games, and it is going to be depressing just because it is such a festive place to go,” he said.