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Baseball teams extend lease agreement to stay in Peoria

PEORIA, Ariz. (March 5, 2012) - The city of Peoria announced today a new long-term lease agreement with the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres keeping the Peoria Sports Complex as the teams' spring training and player development home up to 2034.

"Coming to an agreement with the two teams was a top priority for the city," said city of Peoria Mayor, Bob Barrett. "The Mariners and Padres are a big part of Peoria's history, and I am proud that we were able to keep the two teams in a sustainable and fiscally responsible manner which benefits everyone."

The Peoria Sports Complex, built in 1994, was the first dual team spring training facility in the Cactus League. The San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners utilize the complex year-round for spring training and player development.

“When the Mariners and Padres came to Peoria, we were the first Cactus League teams to share Spring Training facilities. Now, five out of the 10 Phoenix area facilities are shared. The Mariners and City of Peoria have had a great relationship over the last 20 years, and we’re happy to be calling the Peoria Sports Complex our Spring Training home for another 20 years,” said Chuck Armstrong, Seattle Mariners President and COO.

“The Padres and Mariners set the trend 19 years ago when they partnered with the city of Peoria to develop this complex,” said Padres President/COO Tom Garfinkel. “We thank the city for all they have done and are proud to continue that tradition.”

The term of the agreement between the city and the teams is for 20 years. As part of the agreement, the city will invest $48 million over the life of the contract, which includes an initial investment of $15 million each for improvements in the Mariners and Padres
clubhouses ($30 million total) and $6 million in stadium improvements. Construction of clubhouses is expected to be completed by spring of 2014.  Potential stadium improvements include seating enhancements, party deck, façade improvements, plaza area, and upgrades to field and lighting systems. By year 14 of the agreement, the city will contribute an additional $6 million for improvements to both clubhouses with another $6 million set aside for stadium improvements.

"There are a lot of teams either looking at, or have moved to new $100 plus million facilities, but they don't have what our teams have," said Barrett. "We have a beautiful baseball facility within the P83 entertainment district at the Bell Road exit of the Loop 101, so by upgrading our infrastructure, we have sustainably used our resources to enhance an already fun destination for baseball fans."

The majority of funding the city will use for the new clubhouses and stadium improvements will come through the Half-Cent Sales Tax Fund. A large portion of the city's investment will be reimbursed by the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority (AZSTA). However, the city of Peoria must front all financing costs.  Funding is not expected to be available until at least 2020.

 “We appreciate the opportunity to work with the City of Peoria to help secure this long-term deal," Judy Bernas, AZSTA’s Board Chair stated. "AZSTA’s mission is to help position Arizona to obtain the best quality Cactus League teams, keeping the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres in Peoria for another 20 years is exactly what we want to accomplish.”

The sprawling Peoria Sports Complex sits on 145 acres on 83rd Avenue just south of Bell Road. The stadium has a seating capacity of more than 11,000. The stadium currently holds the Cactus League highest single game attendance record of 13,629 set on March 28, 2010 by Cubs vs. Mariners. The complex includes twelve major-league-sized practice fields, and currently offers two 38,000 square foot clubhouses, indoor, and outdoor batting tunnels and full concession stands. In addition to professional and amateur baseball activities, the sports complex hosts festivals, arts and crafts shows, concerts, a Sports Fest, car and RV shows, special holiday events, fundraisers and corporate functions.

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