By Richard Sarkis for Reonomy | AZBEX
Despite a recent resurgence in form – their 93-69 record was good enough for fifth-best in the Majors last year – the Arizona Diamondbacks have struggled to fill seats at Chase Field. During the D-back’s 81 home games in the 2017 season, average attendance stood at a meager 26,350, just 54.2 percent of capacity – fifth-worst in the Majors.
Similar struggles this season – the D-backs are filling 53.1 percent of seats, on average, through 32 home games – have team executives itching to downsize, a move that became a very real option in the wake of a vote by the Maricopa County Stadium Board of Directors in early May.
By a vote of 4-1, the Board agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding dictating that the County will provide “no new public money (for) maintenance, repair, or stadium upgrades,” settling a lawsuit filed by the D-back’s ownership that claimed the County owed them $187M in maintenance costs. In exchange, the D-backs will be allowed “to explore alternatives to rebuild (Chase Field) or to relocate.” While the team’s lease on Chase Field runs through the 2027 season, it now has the option to move to a new facility within Maricopa County as soon as 2022 without penalty.