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Sunday, August 15, 2021

D-Backs face Chase Field decision: Love it or list it

Whether to renovate or build new elsewhere: the Arizona Diamondbacks are facing a huge decision about the future of Chase Field, which is showing its age at a time of rapidly changing venue expectations.

Opening in 1998, Chase Field is a perfectly adequate ballpark, though fans are missing the modern bells and whistles expected from a modern MLB experience. It does, in many ways, feel like a shame that we’re talking about drawbacks to a facility opening just 23 years ago. Yes, Chase Field is still functional: the roof still opens and closes, the air conditioning still cools spectators, and the concession stands serve up some tasty fare.

But everyone expects more from a ballpark these days: teams expect ballparks to anchor real-estate development a la Truist Park and The Battery or Wrigley Field and Wrigleyville, fans expect more than just a nine-inning seat and a hot dog, and sponsors expect a unique way of directly reaching consumers. Oh, and everyone wants a winning team.

So what do you do if you’re the Diamondbacks, operating in a market with other sports teams are offering elevated experiences? With the Phoenix Suns renovating Footprint Center, the Coyotes working on a plan for a new Tempe arena, ASU football operating in a renovated Sun Devil Stadium and State Farm Stadium delivering a quality NFL experience, the Phoenix market is competitive, to say the least. Hence the evaluation of Chase Field as the team’s future home.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 15, 2021 at 02:26 PM | 23 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: diamondbacks

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   1. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: August 15, 2021 at 06:00 PM (#6034515)
the Arizona Diamondbacks are facing a huge decision about the future of Chase Field

Are they really? Is there any doubt they're simply going to play in whichever city offers them the most cash and prizes to play there?
   2. The Duke Posted: August 15, 2021 at 06:36 PM (#6034518)
I’ve never been there but this fees more like a renovation than a move. They already have a great location. Maybe they could play in a college facility while they spruce up Chase
   3. Voodoo Posted: August 15, 2021 at 06:38 PM (#6034519)
But everyone expects more from a ballpark these days: teams expect ballparks to anchor real-estate development a la Truist Park and The Battery or Wrigley Field and Wrigleyville, fans expect more than just a nine-inning seat and a hot dog, and sponsors expect a unique way of directly reaching consumers.


This middle part is such bullshit. What exactly does the average fan, or even a hypothetical fan, expect other than to have a comfortable seat in a nice ball yard and have a beer and a dog (evidently MLB thinks they want to gamble heavily during the game)? This is all about the real estate in the surrounding neighborhood and finding new ways to throw ads in people's faces, neither of which are things the spectators clamor for nor do they improve the in-game experience for the common fan.
   4. Walt Davis Posted: August 15, 2021 at 07:31 PM (#6034522)
Is Ballpark Digest owned by the DBacks? By the folks who design stadiums? Certainly the excerpt is absurd. As #3 notes, it doesn't really explain what the "rapidly changing venue expectations" are nor how Chase falls short in those areas. What about Chase makes "unique way[s] of directly reaching consumers" difficult?

As to Wrigley and real estate, as far as I know, the Ricketts purchased those properties fair and square. I wouldn't be surprised if they got some money tossed in by the city around streets, sidewalks, etc. but to my knowledge it wasn't a "we need a sweetheart deal on the real estate around Wrigley" type of thing. Is the land around the DBacks stadium publicly or privately owned?
   5. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: August 15, 2021 at 07:43 PM (#6034523)
The excerpt is clearer once you read between the lines:
But everyone expects owners expect more from a ballpark these days: teams owners expect ballparks to anchor real-estate development a la Truist Park and The Battery or Wrigley Field and Wrigleyville [Ed. note: No mention of Arlington and "Texas Live!"? Man, a billion dollars doesn't buy the kind of PR it used to...],

fans expect more than just a nine-inning seat and a hot dog,

Objection! Assumes facts not in evidence.
and sponsors soulless marketing drones who can go eff themselves expect a unique way of directly reaching consumers.
   6. Greg Pope Posted: August 15, 2021 at 08:27 PM (#6034526)
So all of the state of the art mallparks that opened in the 90's are now obsolete? Although, as has already been pointed out, it's not the actual parks, but the lack of ownership of everything around them.
   7. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 15, 2021 at 08:40 PM (#6034527)
Cheap seats, cheap parking / public transportation, and a winning team are the ballpark equivalent of tight #####, loose pants, and a warm place to ####. All the rest is just icing on the cake.
   8. Howie Menckel Posted: August 15, 2021 at 09:11 PM (#6034530)
I would say this is like a tenant mulling about whether the landlord will make the upgrades like some nearby condo and apartment complexes have done.

not really much of the tenant's business, but that's a simple case. you're seeing greener grass, the annual lease comes up, you get a nice new spot, you hire a moving truck, and it's done.

this..... yeah, it's a little more complicated.

but in either case, beggars can't be choosers.
   9. Tom Goes to the Ballpark Posted: August 15, 2021 at 10:08 PM (#6034532)
So all of the state of the art mallparks that opened in the 90's are now obsolete? Although, as has already been pointed out, it's not the actual parks, but the lack of ownership of everything around them.
MLB hit around .500 for those 90s stadiums:
Tropicana:Fail
Guaranteed Rate/New Comiskey:Fail
Camden:Success
Progressive:Success (?)
Coors Field:Success
Turner Field:Fail
Chase:Fail
T-Mobile:Success

Post Camden, MLB did pretty well, IMO. Oracle and PNC came right after these too.
   10. Walt Davis Posted: August 15, 2021 at 10:18 PM (#6034534)
In "fairness", I'm pretty sure everybody considered Tropicana a dump from day one.
   11. Rough Carrigan Posted: August 15, 2021 at 11:01 PM (#6034541)
Why was Turner Field a fail?
   12. Brian C Posted: August 15, 2021 at 11:08 PM (#6034543)
Also, Tropicana is much older than the Rays. I guess it did technically "open in the 90s" (March 1990 as it happens) but it predates the ballpark renaissance that began with Camden Yards a few years later and feels like it has more in common with the old 80s relics like the Humpty Dome or SkyDome.

Guaranteed Rate Field was a disaster when it opened, but a series of renovations and general corrections have made it into a perfectly acceptable if unexceptional ballpark. It's not so much a "fail" as much as a solid C+.

Isn't the main issue with Chase that the DBacks ownership has basically let it go to sh-t as a means of extorting money to renovate it? Seems like that was the news here a couple years back. Otherwise, it's a pretty solid park, no?
   13. The Honorable Ardo Posted: August 15, 2021 at 11:29 PM (#6034545)
Turner Field is no longer in operation = fail.

Progressive is a thoroughgoing success when you consider the Indians' ridiculous sellout streak and the ballpark it replaced.

Comerica is also a 90's stadium... Tiger Stadium should never have been abandoned, but Comerica is a very nice place. Success given that it replaced an icon and didn't fall flat.
   14. SoSH U at work Posted: August 15, 2021 at 11:56 PM (#6034550)


MLB hit around .500 for those 90s stadiums:
Tropicana:Fail
Guaranteed Rate/New Comiskey:Fail
Camden:Success
Progressive:Success (?)
Coors Field:Success
Turner Field:Fail
Chase:Fail
T-Mobile:Success

Post Camden, MLB did pretty well, IMO. Oracle and PNC came right after these too.


I don't know if Turner really falls in the same category as the rest, since it wasn't built as a baseball stadium but converted from its use in the Olympics.

And which ones are Oracle and T-Mobile? Are those China Basin and Cascadia?
   15. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: August 16, 2021 at 07:06 AM (#6034554)
T-Mobile is Seattle. It's a good park.

All I really know about Chase is that every time I go to spring training, my plane flies right over it and you can see down inside, which is kind of cool. And then every time I think: "Wait, why do the Diamondbacks have a whole other stadium in the suburbs of this very same city for spring training, when this perfectly good one is sitting empty right here?" I'm sure there's some sort of reason, but I don't know what it is.;
   16. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: August 16, 2021 at 07:20 AM (#6034555)
Turner Field is no longer in operation = fail.

Well, not as a ballpark, no. (And it would still be a ballpark if the Braves weren't so desperate to make moar money by getting away from teh darkies.)
   17. SoSH U at work Posted: August 16, 2021 at 07:52 AM (#6034559)
All I really know about Chase is that every time I go to spring training, my plane flies right over it and you can see down inside, which is kind of cool.


And while Chase and whatever follows it in the Valley will obviously be a terrible moniker, Phoenix at least knows how to name an airport.
   18. Rally Posted: August 16, 2021 at 09:34 AM (#6034567)
I’m sure they can solve the problem by making Chase field a dual use ballpark/casino.
   19. The Duke Posted: August 16, 2021 at 10:39 AM (#6034571)
I’m not an expert on ballparks but Turner field is one of the best I have ever been to. SunTrust park is OK. Parking situation and ingress/egress is WAY better but the inside the ballpark experience at Turner was great. Simple but great.

If they had simply rebuilt Turner in Cobb they could have had the best of both worlds
   20. Jack Sommers Posted: August 18, 2021 at 11:57 PM (#6035064)
why do the Diamondbacks have a whole other stadium in the suburbs of this very same city for spring training, when this perfectly good one is sitting empty right here?" I'm sure there's some sort of reason, but I don't know what it is.;


They have an entire complex at salt river, which they share with Colorado and the logistics for spring work much better.

   21. OsunaSakata Posted: August 19, 2021 at 09:40 AM (#6035098)
The only things fans really want from a stadium that they couldn't get in 1998 is a state-of-art internet experience. That will cost, but the Diamondbacks wouldn't need to play somewhere else during the upgrade. They have clever tax accountants. I'm sure the D-Backs could find a way for the federal government to pay for it as infrastructure.
   22. McCoy Posted: August 19, 2021 at 09:49 AM (#6035100)
The Battery is ok and I think the reason the Braves like The Battery is that they were paid off to go there.


The Battery has been open awhile and they have struggled somewhat to fill out the commercial real estate with tenants and with tenants that can make it work.
   23. DL from MN Posted: August 19, 2021 at 10:39 AM (#6035106)
I've toured Chase Field, it's a very nice ballpark. I honestly can't see how they would do much better if they tore it down and rebuilt it from scratch. Contrast with Tampa where you feel like you left the stadium if you go get a hot dog.

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