SBD/November 2, 2012/Facilities

Arizona State Univ., Cubs Break Off Deal To Share $99M Spring Training Stadium In Mesa

Mesa will spend $84M on baseball facilities and $15 on additional infrastructure
A proposed deal that "would have allowed Arizona State University to share" a new Cubs Spring Training facility in Mesa, Ariz., is "dead," according to Gary Nelson of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. Mesa Mayor Scott Smith on Thursday said that he and city staffers "were bowing out of the talks." Smith: "It seems obvious to me that neither party is ... working toward final resolution of this." ASU AD & VP/Athletics Steve Patterson and Assistant Dir of Media Relations & Communications for Baseball & Football Thomas Lenneberg "blamed the Cubs for the deal falling through." The two said that the Cubs "tried to impose too many changes on terms that were originally proposed." Lenneberg in an e-mail said, "The changes the Cubs demanded show that they do not value the partnership with ASU, thus making a deal impossible." But Cubs VP/Communications & Community Affairs Julian Green said, "ASU’s claims are unfounded. We believe the remaining issues could have been resolved, but to suggest the Cubs did not want to conclude the deal is baseless. We invited ASU to play in a rent-free stadium. Unfortunately, this was not enough to meet the university’s needs." Cubs Senior VP/Community Affairs & General Counsel Mike Lufrano said that the team "remains willing to work with ASU under terms of the parties’ original memorandum of understanding." Nelson notes the issues included "liability insurance, concessions revenue, how much money ASU would need to spend for its own facilities in the Cubs complex, the length of ASU’s rental agreement, and to what extent -- and for what purposes -- ASU would have access to the stadium." Smith said that "personality conflicts among the parties doing the actual negotiating on behalf of ASU and the Cubs eventually got in the way of ironing out details that should have been relatively easy to deal with" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 11/2).

SUN DEVILS' ADVOCATE: In Phoenix, Mike Sunnucks noted the ASU baseball program is "looking for a new home with its existing on-campus stadium showing its age and its location being impacted by proposed real estate development around campus and a planned overhaul of Sun Devil Stadium" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 11/1). The REPUBLIC's Nelson notes Patterson "would not comment on the university’s options, but there has been wide speculation that ASU could move to Phoenix Municipal Stadium," which is currently the Spring Training home of the A's. However, Mesa and the A’s "expect to wrap up a deal soon that would have the team moving to Hohokam Stadium, the Cubs’ current home," beginning with Spring Training in '15 (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 11/2).
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