Arizona Diamondbacks – replacement or repairs for Chase Field unlikely

  The Arizona Diamondbacks deny claims made by a potential buyer

It appears the Arizona Diamondbacks, at least in the near future, will continue to play baseball in Chase Field without the repairs they seek.

At the same time, a potential sale of Chase Field to Stadium Real Estate Partners II is dead for now. When the Diamondbacks put out a figure on $187 million for Chase Field repairs, Maricopa county officials said that number was unrealistic. In their wish list, the Diamondbacks would like to have a new, air conditioning unit,  updated and enhanced scoreboards and other improvements.

While the NHL Arizona Coyotes recently announced a partnership with Arizona State University to build a new arena on the ASU campus, the Diamondbacks, along with the NBA Phoenix Suns, continue to seek improvements to their buildings at worst or a new facility for each at best.

On Nov. 21, the law office representing Stadium Real Estate Partners II, a one-time potential buyer of Chase Field, informed the Maricopa County Board they are no longer interested in acquiring the stadium.

“As you are aware, despite numerous requests over the past 3 months, the Diamondbacks have refused to meet with us, absent my client’s compliance with a number of unreasonable and rather dubious preconditions,” a letter from Milwaukee attorney Mike Greenberg said. Greenberg’s law firm represents Stadium Real Estate Partners II.

The county hoped that this investor would put the conflict between them and the Diamondbacks in the rear view mirror. That seem to merely draw the partners further apart.

The Diamondbacks, in a statement, denied allegations made by the law office.

“We have been informed of the prospective buyer’s decision and are deeply ended that Mr. Greenberg would suggest we have been uncooperative when we have merely asked for answers to the same questions the buyer agreed to provide to the County. In fact, in the agreement between the two parties, it was agreed upon that, ‘Upon written request the Buyer shall provide proof of financial capability.’ For any sophisticated business arrangement, and as a partner in the stadium, this basic information is more than reasonable. We have always been willing to meet and would do so enthusiastically if a basic legitimacy of the buyers were to first be established.”

An Ongoing Battle

This decision effectively terminated a potential $60 million sale. While Chase Field is owned by the county’s Stadium District, the current lease allows the team to request a new stadium in 2024 and that’s before the current lease expires in 2028.

Upon their investigation, Stadium Real Estate Partners II determined repairs to Chase Field would cost approximately $80 million, instead of $187 million the Diamondbacks believe.

Last March, the Diamondbacks requested the county to give control of the lease to the franchise’s owner, Arizona Limited Partnership (AZPB). They claimed the Stadium District was not doing its part to fund needed park improvements.

Taxpayers have put approximately $38 million more into the stadium than the Diamondbacks, and many have suggested that if improvements are that important, then why did Arizona spend $206 million dollars on Zack Greinke, just one player.

In February 2015, the Diamondbacks completed a $1.5 billion TV deal with Fox Sports Arizona. While some of this could be allocated for repairs to Chase Field, the money will likely be used in securing free agents or entering long-term deals with players.

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