With Goodyear and Glendale dramatically raising the bars when it comes to new Cactus League spring-training facilities, many expect the new owners of the Chicago Cubs to opt out of its HoHoKam Park contract and seek upgrades.
Our sister site, Ballpark Digest, is reporting the Cubs’ lease for HoHoKam Park and the training base at Fitch Park expires in 2016, but the team can opt out of the agreement as early as 2012 for $4.2 million. The Cubs are the biggest draw in the Cactus League, bringing 181,000 fans to HoHoKam Park in 2008. The ballpark now seats 13,000, but there are plenty of ways it could be improved: there are no premium seating areas, and the increase in seating in recent years came in the form of lousy temporary seating down each line.
This is speculation, of course; the Ricketts family hasn’t yet taken control of the Cubs, and a Cubs spokesperson said no one from the family had ever attended spring training in Arizona. The Cubs have had a good relationship with the Mesa HoHoKams, the nonprofit responsible for the ballpark, and there’s no reason that won’t continue. But the Ricketts family would be stupid for not pushing for some upgrades to the ballpark.