Stadium District approves memorandum of understandings, ending D-backs lawsuit

Chase Field. (File Photo)

The Maricopa County Stadium District Board of Directors voted to approve a binding memorandum of understanding that will end the lawsuit over Chase Field, protect county taxpayers and turn over responsibility for all repairs and maintenance at the stadium to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The board voted on the memorandum Wednesday, May 9 in a public vote.

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.

“This deal represents the best chance to keep the Diamondbacks in Arizona for the foreseeable future, which has been a goal of ours all along,” Steve Chucri, District 2, chairman of the MCSD Board of Directors, said in a prepared statement.

“It’s good for baseball fans, and it’s good for taxpayers who will not pay a single cent more for stadium costs under this agreement.”

Vice Chairman Bill Gates said the agreement is much clearer in outlining both the team’s and stadium district’s responsibilities.

“The Diamondbacks get more flexibility to grow their business in Arizona, and Maricopa County keeps a valuable asset while also getting out of the stadium management business, which many of us think is appropriate,” he said.

Board of Directors Supervisor Denny Barney said the D-backs significantly benefit the community and the board wants them in Maricopa County long term.

“Ultimately, we took a solutions-based approach to resolving this dispute, rebuilding an important relationship, and retaining an economic and cultural force in our community,” he said.

D-backs’ Managing General Partner Ken Kendrick said prior to the vote that he thinks the memorandum is the best option for both groups.

“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.”

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