MESA, Ariz. -- The Arizona House of Representatives on Thursday approved a Spring Training ticket surcharge plan designed to keep the Cubs in Mesa and generate more than $100 million for improvements to facilities across the Valley over the next 30 years.
Arizona Rep. John McComish, R-Phoenix, is pushing the surcharge in House Bill 2736, despite opposition from the other Cactus League teams.
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The original plan would raise $81 million over 25 years and included a $1 car rental fee and an 8 percent Spring Training ticket surcharge. McComish dropped the car rental fee and boosted the ticket surcharge to 10 percent in hopes of raising $185 million over 30 years.
The House approved the bill on Thursday, but McComish left the percentage blank so it can be negotiated when the bill goes to the Senate. A 10 percent surcharge would add about $2 to the price of an average $20 Spring Training ticket.
The Cubs are considering a move to Florida if they cannot get assistance in building an $84 million complex in east Mesa. The team's new facility would receive about $58 million from the surcharge. The Cubs are the top draw in the Cactus League and a Mesa study shows they bring $138 million annually to the local economy.
On Thursday, the Cubs-Dodgers game at Camelback Ranch in Glendale drew a Cactus League record 13,391 fans. The previous Cactus League single-game high was 13,366 set March 12, 2004, in Peoria between the Cubs and Mariners. Nine of the top 10 Cactus League attendance figures have been Cubs games.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.