Wednesday December 6, 2023

Diamondbacks Push For Public Help To Upgrade Chase Field 

  • MLB club seeks public-private deal to improve aging ballpark.
  • Deal has eluded franchise amid accelerating wave of agreements elsewhere in MLB.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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The Arizona Diamondbacks have seen an accelerating wave of facility deals around Major League Baseball, with Baltimore, Milwaukee, Tampa, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Oakland all making progress this year to varying degrees on new or upgraded facilities.

Now, the franchise would like its turn. 

Team president and CEO Derrick Hall told the Arizona Republic that the franchise would like to remain at Chase Field, their current downtown Phoenix home, but have not found the public-private agreement necessary to fund $400 million to $500 million in facility upgrades.

“We don’t have our hand out, but if you look at some of the other situations very similar to ours — like Milwaukee, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Baltimore — in each case, they are getting strong investments from the public, from a mixture of city/county/state, and we just aren’t. Would I welcome that? Absolutely. I’m just still trying to weigh if there’s any help we can get from anybody.”

The Diamondbacks, whose lease with the stadium expires in 2027, can activate a previously approved tax district and implement a 1% to 9% tax on anything sold at Chase Field. Still, the team is seeking to avoid that direct taxation of attending fans for now.

There have also been some talks about a potential new Diamondbacks facility, but those have taken more of a back seat of late to the renovation discussions.

Hall said the team would be willing to pay more than 75% of the Chase Field upgrade costs and pursue an Atlanta Braves-style mixed-use development increasingly in vogue across the industry. But he added the ballpark is also grappling with a growing list of needs, including increasingly outdated air conditioning, scoreboard, and lighting systems.

“It’s a 26-year-old building in the middle of the desert,” he said. “I’m willing to invest in it, but I’ve got to know that I’m going to be here, and that’s why it’s so critical that we start that timeline as soon as we can.”

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