The City of Phoenix and Arizona State University officially announced Tuesday that the Sun Devil baseball program will begin playing its home games at Phoenix Municipal Stadium at the start of the 2015 season.
The decision mimicks a similar off-campus move by the University of Arizona baseball team to nearby Hi Corbett Field, a step that has increased the program’s attendance and visibility in the community.
Phoenix Muni, which has been the Spring Training home of the Oakland A’s since 1982, has a seating capacity of nearly 8,000 and is located in Papago Park, about three miles from ASU’s Tempe campus. The Sun Devils played a number of baseball games at the stadium in the 1960s and ‘70s, including postseasons and high-profile series that often broke attendance records.
File photo of 1969 series between ASU and Arizona at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
“This is a walk-off grand slam for ASU and the City of Phoenix,” Mayor Greg Stanton said. “I was proud to work with President (Michael) Crow at the development of this idea and to continue our partnership on economic success in Phoenix and our region. Thank you for partnering with our city, and I look forward to seeing the Devils continue their brand of winning baseball in their new stadium.”
Crow cited Phoenix Municipal Stadium’s seating capacity (twice that of Packard Stadium) and better amenities as a means of better highlighting the ASU program.
“Our baseball team has played some great games at this stadium,” athletic director Steve Patterson said. “This move is both a nod to our tradition as well as a dramatic leap forward to an exciting future. We expect to continue Sun Devil baseball’s prominence and success at Phoenix Muni.”
ASU has played its home games at 4,000-seat Packard Stadium since 1974, but the stadium has become outdated. The cost to renovate or rebuild Packard was estimated to be upward of $10 million and perhaps as much as $20 million. Unwilling to spend that much, ASU decided to look for off-site options, first approaching the Cubs about sharing their new spring-training ballpark in Mesa before turning to Phoenix when those negotiations fell aprt.
ASU’s agreement with the City of Phoenix gives the school all revenue from tickets, parking and concessions at Phoenix Municipal and makes the school responsible for maintenance and operating costs.