D-backs in contract dispute over Chase Field

District denies club's request to discuss possible alternatives to stay in downtown Phoenix

D-backs in contract dispute over Chase Field

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- After a study showed that Chase Field will require $187 million over the next 12 years to keep it current, the Arizona Diamondbacks asked the Maricopa County Stadium District this month for the opportunity to talk with other potential partners as a way to explore alternatives for remaining in downtown Phoenix.

The D-backs' lease at Chase Field, which opened in 1998, runs through 2028.

The County denied the D-backs' request Wednesday, prompting team president and CEO Derrick Hall to issue the following statement Thursday:

"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 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 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 existing inability to meet its responsibilities.

"We want to remain in downtown Phoenix and we would like nothing better than for that to occur at Chase Field, if that is 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 in the best interest of D-backs fans and the franchise."

In his letter to the D-backs, Clint L. Hickman, chairman of the stadium district, wrote: "I welcome any efforts with the aim of making Chase Field an attractive place for the team to play beyond the current term of the [Facility Use Agreement]. To that end, the District acknowledges that our agreements allow for discussions with the city and other entities with the goal of keeping the team at Chase Field. I know that discussions have been held with the Governor's Office as well as with the City of Phoenix in recent months consistent with that goal. I am happy to continue participating in any such discussions."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.