The Arizona Diamondbacks and Maricopa County have reached an agreement in which the county will allow the Diamondbacks to look for a home elsewhere in exchange for the Diamondbacks dropping a lawsuit against the county.
In January 2017, the Diamondbacks filed a lawsuit against the Maricopa County Stadium District after the team and the county failed to reach an agreement regarding payment for requested repairs and upkeep to Chase Field in downtown Phoenix, which the team has called home since it began play in 1998. Two months later, the Diamondbacks asked permission to explore other venues, but the Stadium District denied that request.
But in a proposed Memo of Understanding released Wednesday, the county and the team agreed that the team will be allowed to pursue other stadium options, provided the Diamondbacks drop all litigation against the county and commit to play at least five more years at Chase Field.
The Diamondbacks' current lease at Chase Field is active until 2027, but per the MOU, the team will be allowed to leave the stadium without penalty as soon as 2022, provided the new stadium is located in Maricopa County. If the Diamondbacks decide to leave Maricopa County after 2022 but before 2027, they will be required to pay the Stadium District a minimum of $5 million and a maximum of $25 million, depending upon which year the team relocates.
Also, per the MOU, the Diamondbacks will take responsibility for all management, maintenance, booking and upgrades for the stadium.
"We are hopeful that this proposed memorandum of understanding will lead to the end of the long, arduous negotiation regarding the future of Chase Field. We believe this will provide the best opportunity for the D-backs to remain in Arizona for the long term. Our primary focus remains the team on the field and providing our fans with the best experience in all of baseball," D-backs managing general partner Ken Kendrick said in a statement.
Maricopa County has scheduled a public meeting about the proposed MOU on Monday at 1 p.m. at the Board of Supervisors Auditorium at 301 W. Jefferson St. in Phoenix. Members of the public can comment about the MOU by calling (602) 506-2255 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
A public vote on the MOU is scheduled for Wednesday, May 9.