Diamondbacks likely to remain in Arizona – report

Major League Baseball franchise the Arizona Diamondbacks is reportedly “highly likely” to continue playing in the state amid continued talk of a move to a new stadium.

The Diamondbacks currently play at Chase Field in Phoenix but last year the team signed off on a deal with Maricopa County that would allow it to leave the ballpark as soon as 2022, ending legal action between the two parties. The Diamondbacks have played at the stadium since it opened in 1998.

The team has become dissatisfied with the county’s efforts to modernise Chase Field and in 2017 launched a lawsuit seeking to break its 30-year lease in an effort to search for a new home. Under the terms of the deal struck last year, the Diamondbacks can reportedly commence a search for a new site immediately in exchange for dropping its demand that the county fund $187m (£154m/€169m) in upgrades at Chase Field.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper recently reported that officials in Henderson, Nevada had tried to lure the Diamondbacks to the city. Such a move would appear to be unlikely however, with the JohnWallStreet website, citing sources with knowledge of the matter, reporting that the Diamondbacks’ most likely outcome is a new venue within Arizona.

JohnWallStreet added that a major renovation of Chase Field remains possible but this is said to be a “less desirable solution” for the Diamondbacks. The report also said that the Diamondbacks carried out an assessment to explore the possibility of retrofitting State Farm Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals NFL team, in order to play there on a temporary basis, but this option does not appear to be financially viable.

In May, the Diamondbacks moved to dampen speculation regarding a new ballpark after images emerged of a potential replacement for Chase Field. The renderings came from architectural firm MEIS and were captured by a website that covers the Diamondbacks.

The images were swiftly removed from the MEIS website but the Diamondbacks were listed as the client for the project, which had a date of 2019. The proposal did not list a location for the stadium but it did specify a capacity of 38,000 – lower than the 48,000-seat Chase Field.

Image: MSgt. Raheem Moore