Wednesday afternoon the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to move ahead with the possible sale of Chase Field. The potential group of buyers, whose identities are still unknown, would be required to pay at least $60 million for the stadium and the surrounding land.
If it seems like an open-and-shut deal, it’s far from it according to one baseball insider.
“I would say the chances of this happening are not over 50 percent,” ESPN’s Pedro Gomez told Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat during a recent phone interview. “We know the county is upset with the Diamondbacks and this could very well be more of a power play so-to-speak.”
Although on the surface the reported $60 million price tag seems reasonable Gomez believes there’s more risk than potential reward to purchasing Chase Field. The D-backs have called the facility their home since its inception.
“I don’t know how good of an investment it is to buy a stadium that’s almost 20 years old,” he said bluntly. “And it only really holds baseball for the most part.”
While the land the stadium sits on is valuable, Chase Field doesn’t hold the prestige and natural beauty of other parks around the country, some of which by circumstances they simply can’t control and never will during the dog days of the season.
“The roof is closed almost all the time and that’s a byproduct of where we are, where we live,” the Valley resident Gomez said. “Part of the allure of going to a ballpark is to be outdoors…let’s go outside, get some fresh air and watch baseball under the stars. You can’t do that in Phoenix…but it just doesn’t have the same appeal that other ballparks do.”
Gomez cites most of the more “iconic” parks are surrounded by inviting neighborhoods and social areas where fans frequently congregate before and after games. Chase Field isn’t afforded the same luxury in downtown Phoenix where the vibe, especially when the team is struggling, can be non-existent.
There has been public tension between the county and the franchise over who is responsible for over $187 million in repairs and upgrades to the facility.