The Milwaukee Brewers and Phoenix have a deal to keep the team at Maryvale Baseball Park for at least 25 years. Video by azcentral
Phoenix’s Maryvale will remain the Milwaukee Brewers’ spring training home for at least another 25 years.
The Phoenix City Council approved by a 6-2 vote a deal Wednesday that some city leaders applauded as the “new model” for funding sports facilities.
The deal requires the team to spend between $41 million and $63 million on renovations to Maryvale Baseball Park and take over operations of the facility.
In return, the city will spend $10 million over the next five years to assist with renovations. It also will pay the team about $1.4 million per year for 25 years to operate the park, which is about what it spends now on operations, according to a city staff report.
At the end of the 25-year deal, the Brewers will have the option to purchase the ballpark at its appraised value with credit based on how much the team invests in the facility over the life of the deal.
‘A great model’ for pro sports
“This is a great model of how a professional sports team can work together with the city to extend their stay potentially permanently, which is amazing, and we’re doing it in a way where taxpayers are being protected,” Councilman Daniel Valenzuela, who represents Maryvale, said prior to voting for the deal.
Opposing the plan were Councilwoman Kate Gallego and Councilman Jim Waring. Councilwoman Debra Stark was absent.
The Brewers have trained in Maryvale, near 51st Avenue and Indian School Road, since 1998, but have only committed to year-to-year deals since 2013.
Since then, rumors swirled about the team moving their springtime home to another Valley city, Tucson or even Florida.
Brewers opt to ‘stay home’
In an interview following the vote, Bob Quinn, Brewers executive vice president for finance and administration, said the team wanted stay where it has established a home.
“I think just giving that long-standing commitment that we’ve had there over the last 20 years — and we’ve done a few expansions over the last few years — and any time that you can stay home you try to do that and continue the partnership,” Quinn said.
Gallego and Waring had different reasons for voting against the proposal.
Waring said the deal was “pretty good” as far as sports finance deals go, but he doesn’t believe cities “should be in the professional sports business.”
Gallego said there are many things that the city would like to fund but can’t because of budget constraints. An updated ballpark is one of those things, she said.
She also noted there is an ongoing legal challenge to the sports facilities fund by multiple rental-car companies.
“Right now, I don’t think this deal makes sense,” she said.
Key terms of the deal
The key component of the deal is a major overhaul of the 19-year-old facility, financed by the Brewers.
The team’s planned renovations include a new clubhouse, concessions, restrooms, kids play area, retail, ticket building and a wider first-base concourse, according to a staff report.
The Brewers also want to add a new major-league practice field that mimics Miller Park in Milwaukee.
Quinn said the team plans to begin work on March 26, immediately after the Brewers’s last home game at the facility. He said the team worked with Major League Baseball to make sure the team is on the road the last week of spring training so construction can start.
Under the current agreement, Phoenix is the operator of the Maryvale Baseball Park and the Brewers pay the city $500,000 per year to rent the facility.
Phoenix is responsible for all maintenance at the park. The city gets a sliver of concessions revenue, but the team keeps the rest and all the ticket revenue.
Team to stop paying rent
The city spends about $2 million on operations and maintenance, but the team’s rental payment and the city’s slice of concessions and other proceeds put the net cost around $1.4 million, according to City spokeswoman Julie Watters.
The city also is responsible for necessary maintenance and capital replacements.
Under the new arrangement, the team will stop paying rent at the ballpark and take over all operating costs.
The city will pay $1.4 million every year, with a 4 percent annual increase, to the Brewers in lieu of spending money on facility operations. The $10 million the city will pay during the first five years will come from Phoenix’s Sports Facilities Fund, which is financed by a tax on rental cars and hotel stays.
The team will keep all ticket and concession revenue, but will also take on all future maintenance costs. Starting in 2022, the team will place $1 million in a capital replacement fund annually to ensure it can pay for any future repairs, according to the staff report.
Additionally, the Brewers agreed to several community donations, including $50,000 per year to support the city’s youth program for free admission at city pools. The team also will partner with Grand Canyon University to provide free tutoring for local students and fund other events with Maryvale schools and community groups.
15-story Marriott hotel coming to Arizona Center in downtown Phoenix
Glendale City Council kills plans for downtown light rail
Maryvale hospital to close on Dec. 18, Abrazo announces
Read or Share this story: http://azc.cc/2AJ7TR8