| News |

Arizona Diamondbacks Demand $187M From Taxpayers to Stay at Chase Field

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

The Arizona Diamondbacks are threatening to sue Maricopa County unless they're allowed to escape their lease because the county won't pay for $187 million in Chase Field renovations.

In a letter obtained by 12 News (below) that was sent from the county to the team's executive officer, Derrick Hall, county Supervisor Clint Hickman rejects the team's demand to allow it to begin searching for a new stadium many years before its current lease is up.

In the March 23 letter, Hickman tells Hall that the baseball team may begin negotiations for a new stadium in 2024, four years before the lease expiration, but not before. Hickman explains to Hall that the lease restrictions are there to make sure taxpayers "would not be left with an empty stadium in downtown Phoenix prior to the expiration of the 30-year term."

"The team specifically agreed that all the cities and towns within Maricopa County would be irreparably harmed by any attempted or actual relocation of the team," the letter states.

The Board of Supervisors approved a quarter-cent sales tax in 1994, causing taxpayers to fund $238 million of what was then called Bank One Ballpark. Some residents were outraged at the deal, and a homeless man shot and wounded former Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox because of it. The Diamondbacks, which had agreed to a 30-year lease in return for the free money, now say it's not enough.

As reporter Brahm Resnik covered in the 10 p.m. story on Thursday, Hickman's letter was in response to a March 16 request by AZPB Limited Partnership, the team's owner, to be granted "the right to take such actions as it deems necessary in order to move and play Diamondbacks' baseball games in a location other than Chase Field."

The Diamondbacks began lobbying the county for the move in January, with Hall reaching out not only to county officials but to Governor Doug Ducey. On Thursday, Hall released a statement saying the county is obligated to fund $187 million in capital improvements over the life the stadium or the facility will "spiral" into something that's no longer state-of-the-art. If the team doesn't get what it wants, it'll take the squabble to court, he warned.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.