Diamondbacks Still Looking to the East

The news that the Diamondbacks and Maricopa County reached a deal on a stadium agreement is just the first of many, many steps that will likely lead the Hometown 9 to the East Valley. The Diamondbacks have a serious issue with attracting Monday-Thursday home game attendance from the fastest growing part of Maricopa County, Just look at the numbers this week from the Dodgers series, and you can see that the building isn’t even half full. This has nothing to do with the size of the stadium. It has everything to do with the location. Chase Field is much closer to the West Valley, so you won’t hear this side of the story coming from people who live in Avondale or Glendale. Facts are more than two million people are expected to enter the East Valley in the next twenty years. It’s 43 miles from my home to the ballpark and I live in the Southeast Valley. My circles are filled with Diamondback fans who say the same thing over and over, “I can’t get home from work, pick up the family and head back down to the ballpark during the week, so I stay home and watch on TV.” It’s a lazy narrative to say that the ballpark was built too big and that’s the only reason why the team is looking to move. Sure, it could be built smaller, but don’t kid yourself. There’s bigger reasons than the size of the facility. 

In terms of where they would move, keep looking at the 101/202 parcel on the Mesa-Tempe border. Specifically, look at the big hole in the ground on the Northeast corner where the two freeways intersect. Keep in mind too that Phoenix Rising FC is playing their games on the Northwest side of the 101/202, but are looking at a few options to potentially build a Major League Soccer stadium away from their current location. Arizona State is looking at the landscape and may end being a player in the stadium wars. I’d suggest looking at Papago Park and the current Phoenix Swap Meet location by Sky Harbor Airport as options that have been explored by all parties.

IF the Diamondbacks were to move out of their current location, I have been told that the University of Arizona and Arizona State would be more than interested in exploring that property as a future campus. I would imagine Robert Sarver has a thought or two in the development opportunity of that land, Land deals are more important to most sports owners, rather than what is being played on the land. What will be most interesting to me out of this MOU, is when the Diamondbacks will be able to start booking other events outside of  just baseball games in the facility.Will we see concerts that were meant for Glendale or Downtown, come over to the Diamondbacks Stadium? The naming rights game will be impacted by the stadium movement too. Ray Anderson wants to book more than a handful of football games per year and the other 358 days Sun Devil Stadium sits empty. Lots of moving parts today, but for now the Diamondbacks moving out of Arizona is nothing more than a false narrative. Look to the east for their desired location…