Arizona Diamondbacks in talks to extend Chase Field lease

Jun 25, 2024, 9:10 PM

Relief pitcher Justin Martinez...

Relief pitcher Justin Martinez #63 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against Jackson Merrill #3 of the San Diego Padres during the eighth inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on May 05, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Padres 11-4. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks are in discussions to extend their lease at Chase Field with Maricopa County before funding a deal to upgrade the facility in place, team president and CEO Derrick Hall said on Tuesday.

Hall said extension talks begun just before the start of this season with the lease up in 2027.

“We’re looking at all sorts of options,” Hall said. “For us to develop around here, you want to have a longer-term, you would hate to invest in, say, retail, hotels, whatever we may do, and then after 15 or 20 years they could say, ‘See ya.’ You want to make sure you’re here for a long time if you’re going to fully invest here.”

Amid the Arizona Coyotes leaving for Utah due to the lack of an arena, the Diamondbacks extending the lease at Chase Field would lengthen the runway for finding a solution to make the proper repairs and upgrades to the park that has housed 26 seasons of D-backs baseball.

The park has a new sound system and lights this season, and the club will address the roof next offseason. But many under-the-hood repairs are needed along with a new scoreboard and upgrades to club and luxury areas.

“It’s a risk, but we wouldn’t do it unless we knew that the others were moving along well enough that we thought they were very realistic possibilities,” Hall said. “I think our discussions have been strong enough we’ll have a clear indication. Not to mention, at that point, we probably want to bring all parties into the room and say we’re about to do this. Now, let’s make sure we can do this and this. And I think we can get there too.”

How to fund Chase Field

Hall mentioned the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority as a means to fund the stadium projects. AZSTA — a private-public entity approved by voters in 2000 — owns and operates State Farm Stadium and helps fund Cactus League ballparks.

That way, the team would avoid entertainment taxes and recapture sales taxes to put back into the ballpark. He mentioned a hotel tax has been pushed back on in discussions.

Hall mentioned the Milwaukee Brewers’ stadium deal as a similar example. Income tax revenue generated by the Brewers and their employees along with sales tax collected on Brewers-related sales go back into the ballpark.

“We’ve talked about this idea of a tax recapture, and we’re starting to gain a little more ground on that,” Hall said. “It’s really what AZSTA does with the Cardinals’ Stadium where they get their sales tax back and some income tax back that goes right into the stadium, not to the organization. So it’s something we’re all looking at because there’s already a precedent there, and that’s how a lot of stadiums are funded throughout the country.”

D-backs leaders expected to have a deal in place with local governments at this point, but this strategy has bred new optimism.

“We had like two or three different ideas that we’d kick around. Some just didn’t stick. This one is starting to make a lot of sense because it’s already working elsewhere,” Hall said.

Hall explained ideally the team and county would agree on a lease extension by the November elections, but that’s not a hard deadline by any means.

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