You can forget about another year-to-year contract for the Milwaukee Brewers to continue training in Phoenix, as the City Council approved a new lease that will commit the team for 25 years because of Maryvale Baseball Park upgrades.
The deal, approved by a 6-2 vote, calls for the Brewers to contribute between $41 million and $63 million toward the renovations, with the city contributing $10 million from its Sports Facilities Fund. Under the proposal, the Brewers would take over the management and operation of the facility from Phoenix. The city would spend $10 million for the next five years on renovations and pay the Brewers $1.4 million annually (with a 4 percent annual increase) to manage the spring-training camp—about what the city is spending now to maintain the facility. At the end of the 25-year lease, the Brewers will have the option of buying Maryvale Baseball Park and the adjoining training camp. Future maintenance would be funded by the team, with $1 million set aside in a dedicated fund by the team beginning in 2022.
As noted, the vote was not close, with the two nays saying the city should not be in the sports-facilities business (which may be a comment meant more for Phoenix Suns officials, who are seeking Talking Stick Resort Arena upgrades) when there are other more pressing needs. But the six who approved the new lease called it a good deal, saying that with the Brewers bearing most of the cost of renovations, the city came out ahead. From the Arizona Republic:
“This is a great model of how a professional sports team can work together with the city to extend their stay potentially permanently, which is amazing, and we’re doing it in a way where taxpayers are being protected,” Councilman Daniel Valenzuela, who represents Maryvale, said prior to voting for the deal….
In an interview following the vote, Bob Quinn, Brewers executive vice president for finance and administration, said the team wanted stay where it has established a home.
“I think just giving that long-standing commitment that we’ve had there over the last 20 years — and we’ve done a few expansions over the last few years — and any time that you can stay home you try to do that and continue the partnership,” Quinn said.
Some of the proposed changes:
- A new 65,000-square-foot clubhouse building with retail, expanded ticketing and additional office space. This would put the Brewers on par with other MLB teams training in the Phoenix area. The existing clubhouse would be converted to a minor-league facility.
- A spruced-up concourse, including a widened first-base concourse complete with more shade and expanded restrooms.
- A new kids play area down the first-base line.
- An additional practice field mirroring Miller Park dimensions, as an existing practice diamond is expanded.