Despite opposition from several Cactus League teams and the commissioner's office, the Arizona Legislature is ready to move forward with an 8 percent ticket surcharge to bail out ASTA and partially fund a new Cubs training complex.
Despite opposition from several Cactus League teams and the commissioner's office, the Arizona Legislature is ready to move forward with an 10 percent ticket surcharge to bail out ASTA and partially fund a new Cubs training complex.
Some of the teams have deemed this a Cubs tax, but it's really not. Here's the deal: almost every new spring-training complex in the Phoenix area was funded and/or financed by the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority. ASTA has several revenue sources, most prominently a car-rental tax (it shows up on statements as the Stadium Tax).
But with tourism down, so has revenues flowing into ASTA coffers, and even before this ASTA had committed virtually every penny of future revenue toward paying down bonds issued to pay for spring-training facilities. ASTA has scaled back — it outsourced some management of the University of Phoenix Stadium — but money is still tight.
Enter the Cubs, who want the same deal as everyone else: government support of their spring-training facility. Whether you like it or not, there's a huge precedent here.
So to raise more money for the Cubs and potentially other teams, including the Brewers (who are opposing the ticket surcharge), a ticket surcharge was proposed. Last week the Cubs gave some mixed signals about their view of the surcharge (first they wanted it, then they walked away from it, then they tippy-toed toward it), but this week Arizona legislators are making their views quite clear: they want to see the ticket surcharge and are scrapping a proposed hike in the car-rental tax.
Opposition from the other Cactus League teams really has no political bearing on the situation: there's just no way the White Sox are going to seek to break their lease and move spring operations to Florida. But no legislator wants to lose the Cubs, and imposing a surcharge is currently seen as the most politically feasible solution.
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