With Oakland and Milwaukee potentially relocating and tourism taxes coming up short, Cactus League officials are working to identify new sources of revenue to pay down spring-training-ballpark debt.
While it’s highly unlikely either team will leave the greater Phoenix area — Oakland is negotiating a move to HoHoKam Park once the Cubbies depart and the Brewers will be a free agent after this spring — it does lend an air of uncertainty to Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority finances, which has pledged funds to upgrade the current ballparks for both teams, Maryvale Baseball Park and Phoenix Municipal Stadium, at a time when ASTA is extremely strapped for cash.
The Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority is short $165 million needed to pay for stadium improvements because tourism-tax revenue declined sharply during the recession. And no solution to the funding shortfall has emerged.
That leaves Glendale and Goodyear on the hook for $63 million and $43 million in stadium costs, respectively, that city leaders had expected would be paid by the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority.
The authority has $46 million to pay for renovation of five stadiums over the next decade. That includes $6.7 million for Maryvale, $11.2 million for Peoria, $3.7 million for Phoenix Muni, $8.2 million for Hohokam and $16.5 million for Surprise Stadium. That money is due to be paid out before Glendale and Goodyear are reimbursed for their stadium projects….
This means, of course, finding other sources of revenue. There would $10.4 million in savings should money for Maryvale Baseball Park and Phoenix Municipal Stadium renovations be rendered unnecessary by team moves, but that’s only a tenth of the deficit.
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