MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred backs the Diamondbacks in the team’s arguments with Maricopa County. David Kadlubowski/azcentral.com
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Maricopa County asked a court on Friday to dismiss the lawsuit from the Arizona Diamondbacks. The county is seeking to settle the disagreement in out-of-court arbitration.
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Are the Arizona Diamondbacks right to sue Maricopa County over Chase Field? Columnist E.J. Montini says no.
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What would fans pay for Chase Field? Michael Chow/azcentral.com
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What to know about the Diamondbacks, Maricopa County feud. Video by Thomas Hawthorne | azcentral.com.
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Arizona Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall talks about the team’s negotiations with the county about improving Chase Field. Credit: Tom Tingle/The Republic | azcentral.com
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Maricopa County officials say the Diamondbacks’ contract with the stadium district prohibits the team from looking for a new home until 2024. Credit: Nick Oza/The Republic | azcentral.com
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County officials talk about contract with D-backs
The Arizona Diamondbacks must look for another home if Maricopa County does not spend significant money on repairs to Chase Field, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said during his Phoenix visit Tuesday.
In the press room of the stadium basement, Manfred took three questions from reporters about the ongoing conflict between the team and government officials.
The Diamondbacks have sued to explore leaving the stadium, arguing Maricopa County doesn’t have enough funds to handle as much as $187 million in repairs the team believes are needed. County officials say they will have enough money to fund necessary safety repairs, but that some requests from the team are cosmetic.
Here’s what the commissioner said:
Would you support the team leaving this stadium and looking for another home?
We want all of our clubs to play in major-league-quality stadiums. For this particular facility to remain a major-league-quality stadium, there are substantial capital expenditures that need to be made. If, for whatever set of reasons, those expenditures can’t be made, there will come a point in time where with this franchise, like any other franchise, we reach the conclusion it’s not a major-league-quality facility, we’re going to look for an alternative.
The stadium is less than 20 years old.
I understand how old the stadium is. The real issue is: Has the landlord made the capital improvements that are always necessary in a stadium in between its 10th and 20th years in order to keep it of a major-league quality? The county’s own studies, as well as studies that have been done by the club — both of which we’ve reviewed — suggest that’s not the case.
Can you talk about public versus private funding? How important is it for you guys to be able to fund those stadiums, and is it important for municipalities to be involved in that?
We have funded stadiums in a variety of ways. Over time, public funding has become less common, a smaller portion of the financing of stadiums. But it’s important to remember baseball stadiums are different than other facilities. We play 81 times a year, and baseball has a unique ability to generate economic activity in an area where it was not present.
My favorite current example is Washington (D.C.). I lived in Washington for 15 years. Where that stadium was built, you would not have gone. Now people go there all the time, there’s tremendous economic development around that stadium to the benefit not of the club solely but, more importantly, to the city and taxpayers.
So I do believe there is a substantial justification for public funding of stadium construction.
The issue I was asked about before was: Has the landlord in this particular facility made the type of normal capital improvements that need to be made over a 20-year life in order to keep the stadium a major-league-quality facility?
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