SBD/Issue 205/Facilities & Venues

Safeco Field Still A Marquee MLB Facility After 10 Years

Mariners Exec Says Safeco Field
Could Be 100-Year Facility
Tomorrow marks the 10th anniversary of Safeco Field, and the ballpark "still has the full bloom of youth," according to Larry Stone of the SEATTLE TIMES. The Mariners believe that Safeco is "just in its infancy." Mariners Exec VP/Legal & Governmental Affairs Bart Waldman: "We look at what Wrigley Field is in Chicago, what Fenway means in Boston. We can see this being a 100-year facility. That's how we treat it. We hope to get to that iconic status." Stone noted Safeco has "succeeded in its primary function, which was to save the Mariners for Seattle." The Mariners have "gone from one of the most financially unstable teams in the majors to one that annually ranks in the top 10 in payroll, and now has the second-longest continuous ownership group" in the AL. Mariners President Chuck Armstrong: "There wouldn't be any Seattle Mariners without Safeco Field." The "ambience, atmosphere, architecture, sightlines and sensibilities --  the whole ballpark experience -- is widely considered to be one of the best in baseball." Meanwhile, Armstrong added the ballpark "might be the most successful public-private partnership ever done." The bonds used to design and build Safeco are "on pace to be retired early -- seven years ahead of schedule" for the $26M used to build the parking garage and "four years early" for the $310M in ballpark bonds. Armstrong noted that once the Mariners' ownership group "recoups its operating losses, a profit-sharing system goes into place" in which 10% of "subsequent earnings will go back to the public" (SEATTLE TIMES, 7/12).

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