Diamondbacks on the move: Improve Chase Field Or We Will Leave

Diamondbacks on the move: Improve Chase Field Or We Will Leave

In a very complicated situation, Arizona Diamondbacks management is threatening a move from Chase Field — or at least launch a very public legal battle — if deferred capital improvements are not carried out in a timely fashion.

In a statement released by Diamondbacks president and CEO Derrick Hall, the team requested the chance to explore other opportunities as a result of the county failing to complete a projected $187 million in “deferred repairs and maintenance.” The team’s current lease with the county expires in 2028.

The Diamondbacks have played at Chase Field since their debut as an expansion team in 1998, but they now want to move out of the stadium. The statement says the franchise wants to remain in Phoenix but feels the need to explore other options as the facility is no longer state-of-the-art.

Here is Hall’s entire statement:

The Arizona Diamondbacks highest priority is to provide a high-quality experience for our fans and our agreement with the County was designed to ensure that Chase Field delivers on that promise not only on the day it opened, but throughout its lifespan. Our organization will not renege on that commitment and we expect our partners to share that value. Unfortunately, the County has demonstrated that it does not.

The Maricopa County Stadium District has made it clear that it will not be able to meet its obligations to fund financial reserves for capital improvements, which it now estimates to be at least $187 million for the remaining life of the stadium. This spiral is insurmountable and will result in a Chase Field that will no longer be a state-of-the art facility as our agreement requires and may, in fact, become unsuitable for continued use. We cannot risk being put in that position.

Renovations and stadium projects take time. We would rather act responsibly today to explore alternatives for remaining in downtown Phoenix than turn a blind a eye to what we now see clearly as the County’s economic reality. We were asking only for the opportunity to talk with other potential partners, a right that we assert we are due as a result of the County’s inability to meet its responsibilities.

We want to retain in downtown Phoenix and we would like nothing better than for that to occur at Chase Field, if that’s possible. The County is putting in jeopardy the investment that taxpayers have made, that the team has made, and the economic windfall the community has reaped as a result. Again, we only want to do what’s best in the interest of the D-Backs fans and the franchise.

There is almost no way Maricopa County lets the Diamondbacks out of their lease, but this is a pretty strong statement by the team. Hall and the D-Backs want the renovations done and done soon. Unless the county is willing to act by helping out with the $187 million in improvements, this could get really ugly.