Maricopa County, D-backs reach agreement in Chase Field legal disputes

Chase Field. (File Photo)

Maricopa County and the Arizona Diamondbacks have reached an agreement in the two’s ongoing legal battle over the future of Chase Field in downtown Phoenix, releasing that agreement Wednesday, May 2 in a Memorandum of Understanding.

Early in 2017, the team filed a lawsuit when the county, at the time, failed to reach an agreement on requested repairs to the stadium. The team also requested options to look for other stadium options, which the county denied.

The matter has been in arbitration since last August and the county’s Stadium District Board of Directors did approve $3.75 million for stadium repairs last October.

In the proposed agreement, the team will drop its lawsuit and the county will pay no additional public money-funded maintenance, repair or stadium upgrades. The team will have all responsibility for management, maintenance, booking and upgrading the stadium.

The D-backs also have the option to look for relocation options or rebuild the team’s current home.

The team will have to play at least five more seasons at Chase Field unless a new stadium is ready for play elsewhere in Maricopa County, which the county deems as “unlikely.” This does include the option of tribal land within the county.

“It is in the district’s strongest interest to keep the team at the stadium, or at least in Maricopa County,” the memorandum states.

The contract runs through 2027. If the team decides to leave Maricopa County as early as 2022, it will have to pay a $25 million buyout with that number decreasing by $5 million each year the team stays in Maricopa County until 2027.

D-backs’ Managing General Partner Ken Kendrick said he is hopeful the proposed memorandum will end the “long, arduous negation” between the two entities.

“We believe this will provide the best opportunity for the D-backs to remain in Arizona for the long term,” Mr. Kendrick said in a prepared statement. “Our primary focus remains the team on the field and providing our fans with the best experience in all of baseball.”

The county is seeking public comment on the proposed memorandum and is hosting a public meeting at 1 p.m. Monday, May 7 at the Board of Supervisors Auditorium, 301 W. Jefferson St. in Phoenix.

Residents can also comment by emailing can email their thoughts to stadiumcomments@mail.maricopa.gov or call a phone line set up specifically for this issue at 602-506-2255.

The board of directors will vote on the memorandum in a public vote Wednesday, May 9.

News Services Reporter Josh Martinez can be contacted at jmartinez@newszap.com or at 623-445-2738

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