Seattle Mariners agree to 25 year lease for Safeco Field
Photo: Cacophony / Wikipedia / CC BY-SA 3.0
By Seattle Mariners
The Washington State Major League Baseball Stadium Public Facilities District (PFD) this afternoon approved terms for a new 25 year lease for the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. The agreement, which was negotiated between the PFD and Mariners, also includes provisions for two three-year options that would extend the lease term through the year 2049.
“We want this ballpark to be our home for the next 100 years. Safeco Field should be to Seattle and to the Mariners what Wrigley Field is to Chicago and the Cubs and Fenway Park is to Boston and the Red Sox. We sincerely appreciate our partnership with the PFD, who share our vision to ensure that our fans will continue to enjoy Major League Baseball in a state-of-the-art facility for decades to come,” said Seattle Mariners Chairman and Managing Partner John Stanton.
The new lease will take effect in 2019. The original ballpark 20-year lease expires at the end of 2018.
The lease agreement includes a long-term plan for capital investment in the publicly-owned facility to ensure that it is kept in first-class condition, and it specifies funding sources and obligations for future capital investments.
The PFD and Mariners commissioned a study by Populous, the global architectural firm that specializes in design of sports facilities, arenas and convention centers, which identified $385 million in capital improvements to basic ballpark infrastructure that will be necessary over the next 25-years. The PFD and Mariners acknowledge that in order to keep the ballpark in first-class condition, an additional $160 million will be required for upgrades beyond the basic infrastructure improvements. These costs are in addition to routine operation and maintenance requirements of the ballpark, which are the responsibility of the Mariners.
The lease requires the Mariners to meet an “Applicable Standard” of operating, maintaining and improving Safeco Field in a first-class manner measured against the top one-third of comparable MLB ballparks. Since 1999, Safeco Field has maintained that high standard in regular surveys conducted by the PFD.
Under terms of the new agreement, over the life of the lease, the Mariners will contribute some $650 million dollars to the PFD and the ballpark in the form of:
Rent -- $55 million over 25 years ($1.5 million per year with CPI escalation), at least $10 million of which will be applied to ballpark capital improvements;
Capital Expenditures & Improvements – The Mariners will contribute $120 million to a new Capital Expenditure (CapEx) Fund for ballpark upgrades and improvements necessary to keep Safeco Field in first-class condition ($3.25 million per year with CPI escalation);
Maintenance & Operations -- The Mariners will continue to pay for all ballpark operation and routine maintenance costs, estimated at $250 million over the life of the lease. Over the last 19-years, the Mariners have invested over $350 million in maintenance, operations and capital improvements and repairs at the ballpark;
Taxes collected on admissions and parking for ballpark events – An estimated $175 million will be generated from taxes collected on parking and tickets sold for Safeco Field events. The Mariners will direct these revenues to the PFD for contribution to the CapEx Fund;
Revenue Sharing – 1.5%-2% of revenue from ticket sales guaranteed for each year. This could provide over $50 million for the CapEx Fund;
Neighborhood Improvement Fund – The Mariners will contribute to the newly created Ballpark Neighborhood Improvement Fund to be used at the discretion of the PFD to support various projects that enhance the communities surrounding Safeco Field.
Over the life of the lease, 80% of the costs of capital expenditures, operations and maintenance will be paid by the Mariners through direct contributions to the PFD and taxes generated by ballpark events.
Stanton added, “This is a great day for baseball fans in the Northwest. Safeco Field has been the site of so many special moments and we look forward to many more to come.”