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Quincy Gems are for sale

Quincy Gems are for sale

1 year ago by Bob Gough

Team lost more than $76,000 this past season

 

The Oakley-Lindsay Civic Center Board unanimously voted to sell the Quincy Gems baseball team Wednesday afternoon.
 
" It was a hard decision to make after operating the team for the past 18 seasons," said Gems General Manager/OLC Executive Director Rob Ebbing.  "But with the last few years losses, the decision was made for the future direction to concentrate on the OLC core business, which is to sustain and grow the OLC profitability while bringing people to Quincy to stay in our great selection of hotels and motels, eat in our fine restaurants and shop Quincy."
 
OLC Finance Chairman Jim Rinella said the team had operating losses of $65,000 this year once the time of OLC staff was factored in. Ebbing then said there were another $11,000 plus in outstanding expenses from QU-Stadium rental to fireworks, which puts the 2013 losses at more than $76,000.
 
Ebbing and Board members all said they want to sell the team to someone who will keep the team in Quincy. 
 
"We would hope to find a local investor to take over the operations of the team, and continue the commitment to our loyal sponsors and fans," Ebbing said. "During the past 18 seasons over 480,000 fans have enjoyed baseball with the Quincy Gems at QU Stadium.  Quincy Gems in cooperation of Quincy University and local sponsors have invested in excess of $500,000 in improvements to QU stadium for QU and the Gems." 
 
Ebbing said the cost of a new Prospect League franchise is running at $175,000, but said the sale price is negotiable and anyone who is interested should contact Ebbing at rebbing@oakleylindsaycenter.com.
 
The OLC planst to operate the Gems for the 2014 season with streamlined operations and will "turn over the operations hopefully to a new ownership entity when they are ready take control," Ebbing said.  He said the team hopes to finish in the black next year through increased sales and corporate sponsorships, analysing personnel and the take over this year of the ballpark food operation.
 
The Gems director of sales and marketing, Dave Comer, was released earlier this week. 

 

LIVE BLOG FROM OLC BOARD MEETING

The Oakley-Lindsay Center Board meets at noon on Wednesday.

Meeting has started. Going over financials. Not in detail yet.

Dave Comer, who said via social media he was no longer affiliated with the Quincy Gems, is in attendance.

Gems made $3,026 in concessions this year, but "not what we were hoping to do," said Finance Committee Chairman Jim Rinella.

Gems bottom line, according to Rinella, is that the team lost $65,000 last year. That adds in the time put in by OLC statf. That is a more realistic number, according to Rinella.

Fewer sponsorship sales and corporate nights are a part of those losses as well.

Outstanding bills remain including rent and fireworks, for another $11,000 in the red. 

Hotel/Motel revenues are coming in higher.

Comer thanks the Board for its support when he was working for the Gems, especially when he had cancer. Said he was sorry he couldn't bring in more money for the Gems with sponsorship sales. "We did our best to bring a quality event to Quincy at a reasonable price," he says. Very emotional.

Board Chairman Hubert Staff thanks Comer for his service.

OLC Executive Director says he's looking at converting the facility's lighting to LED. Working on grants and such.

Staff talks about financial analysis of OLC and Gems. Asks for thoughts from the Board.

Rinella says OLC is commiitted to the Gems for 2014. "Financially, I think what we should do is tell people it's for sale. It's a turnkey operation, it's an asset for the community, but it's not our core business. We want to sell them and keep them in Quincy. That's our top priority. There will be Gems baseball next year."

Staff: "It would be ideal to find local ownership."

Ebbing: "It's a great asset to the community...it has grown throughout the years...perhaps outside the capacity of the Civic Center."

Staff asks if they will advertise the sale. Ebbing says he will contact the league office. The league will get a 3 percent cut of the sale. Says OLC and QU has invested about a half million dollars in QU-Stadium.

Board member Charlie Doan wants to cut expenses and try to keep the team. He was part of the original board that brought in the Gems. But he says the OLC can't do it if the Gems can't make a profit.

Board Member Mark Neiswender says "we need to get back to our core."

Doan says Prospect League expansion has added a transportation expense.

Board Member Cheri Cartmill says the team can't operate in the red.

Rinella: "We're trying to keep ahead of this and keep baseball in Quincy."

Board votes to sell the team. It's unanimous.

PREVIOUS STORY

The Oakley-Lindsay Civic Center Authority Board will discuss the possibility of selling the Prospect League team at its monthly meeting Wednesday.

The team has lost about $55,000 over the last two years.

The Gems came to life in 1996 as members of the Central Illinois Collegiate League, which morphed into the Prospect League and expanded to 11 teams. The expansion has led to increased travel costs.

Executive Drector Rob Ebbing confirmed the topic will be discussed at the meeting.

 

 


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