Diamondbacks say ‘desire’ is to remain in Arizona after discussing relocation to Nevada last year

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It is no secret the Arizona Diamondbacks are looking for a new ballpark. The team has called Chase Field home since their inaugural season in 1998, and, for better or worse, 20 years is roughly the lifespan for an MLB stadium these days. 

As the team continues to push for a new ballpark in Arizona, the D-Backs discussed the possibility of relocating to a Las Vegas suburb in Southern Nevada last year, reports Blake Apgar of the Las Vegas Journal-Review. Specifically, the team met with representatives from Henderson, Nevada, who made a presentation with ballpark plans, among other things.

Here’s more from Apgar:

“While a proposal for an Arizona Diamondbacks ballpark has not moved forward, the city of Henderson would welcome conversations with other major league franchises that may be considering a move to a different market,” the city said in a statement this week. 

“A number of cities have expressed interest but we have not pursued any because we have not received permission from MLB and our desire is, first and foremost, to stay in Arizona,” the team said in a statement. 

The proposed 32,000-seat ballpark would have been publicly-owned and property tax-exempt, with construction costs estimated at $1 billion. The facility would’ve been located near a planned development that will include the future headquarters of the NFL‘s Raiders, who are moving to Las Vegas in 2020.

Exploring — or even threatening — relocation is a common tactic among professional sports teams seeking new publicly financed stadiums in their hometown. Henderson officials sound very eager to bring Major League Baseball to Nevada, and presumably the D-Backs were happy to hear them out.

In May 2018, the D-Backs struck an agreement with Maricopa County that entitles them to all revenue generated at Chase Field. They assumed responsibility for stadium operations and maintenance in exchange. The team’s lease runs through 2027, though the May 2018 agreement allows them to leave as early as 2022.

Apgar says Henderson officials still have not received “official word” from the D-Backs regarding their intentions to pursue relocation to Nevada. The two sides were in contact as recently as this past February.

The Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays, two other MLB teams with ballpark issues, could be candidates to relocate to Henderson in the future, though that is just my speculation.

Henderson is approximately 16 miles southeast of Las Vegas and is considered part of the Las Vegas metropolitan area.