The Diamondbacks and their issues with the Maricopa County Stadium District have been well-documented the last two years. The team has been griping about the county not being able to put up enough money for the repairs, and the stadium does need some work done on it. The team's current lease runs through 2028, but could start looking for a new stadium site in 2024. Over the next 12 years, the team has tallied up $187M in estimated repair costs for the stadium and blaming the county for not living to their end of the bargain.
That has caused ownership to request the county to allow them to fund all of the repairs in exchange for a reduction in license fee payments and the ability to use the stadium for non-baseball use, to which the county board denied. According to the team's attorney, Leo R. Beus, "It should be made clear that the D-backs seek no damages in this suit nor are they seeking any taxpayer funding. They are asking the court for the ability to remove the contract restriction that prevents the Diamondbacks from exploring other stadium options." Said the team's managing general partner, Ken Kendrick, in a statement:
"It is extremely unfortunate that we have been forced to take action today following several years of attempts to resolve this matter out of court. We have made a promise to our fans, who have been partners with us on the building of this stadium and our franchise, to provide the best experience in all of baseball in a safe and welcoming environment. The inability of the Maricopa County Stadium District to fulfill its commitments has left us with no other option... We have spent more than four years suggesting alternative solutions that would help the Maricopa County Stadium District hold up its end of our agreement, including multiple offers for us to assume all of the financial responsibilities they currently hold. All of our offers have been denied."
That has escalated into a potentially nasty legal battle over the future of the team and where they'll play. The Diamondbacks are suing the county for the ability to find a new stadium site. The Diamondbacks will play in Chase Field for 2017 unless something earth-shattering happens out of this lawsuit between now and April. The Seidman Research Institute of the ASU W.P. Carey School of Business estimates that the taxpayer has earned 10.2% return on investment in the $238M in public money to build the stadium. It also calculates that for each dollar invested has resulted in $16 in economic growth ($3.8B total) and over 50,000 job years.
In July, there was a group that toyed with the idea of buying the stadium site, but when rubber hit the road nothing happened. One thing this dispute guarantees is another unwanted distraction on the team, which already has enough problems to worry about in terms of fielding a competitive roster.