The deal — which hadn't become official before Monday — sets the stage for a new naming rights deal, rumored to be with T-Mobile, expected to be announced in the coming days.
After a delay, a renegotiation, some public outcry and general local politics, the Washington State Major League Baseball Stadium Public Facilities District (PFD) Board and Seattle Mariners have reached a final agreement on a new 25-year ballpark lease for the venue formerly known as Safeco Field.
The PFD Board on Monday approved the lease and related agreements during the regular quarterly meeting with a 7-0 vote in favor.
While it was unlikely for the Mariners to leave Seattle, the lease and companion non-relocation agreement ensures that the Mariners will remain in the city for the next 25 years.
“We want this ballpark to be our home for a hundred years,” said John Stanton, Seattle Mariners chairman and managing partner in a statement. “This lease continues the public-private partnership that has made this ballpark one of the best homes for professional baseball, a perennial fan favorite. Our agreement continues the Mariners commitment to invest substantial Club revenues to ensure the ballpark remains a first-class facility. Thanks to our partnership with the PFD, baseball fans will continue to enjoy Major League Baseball in a first-class facility for many years to come.”
With the lease finalized, the Mariners are expected to announce a stadium naming rights deal — rumored to be with T-Mobile — in the coming days.
Per the lease, the Mariners are responsible for “performing all the maintenance, operations, and capital improvements and upgrades at the publicly-owned ballpark.” The Mariners will pay all costs beyond the fixed contributions made by the PFD and King County. According to the Mariners, the total investment in the ballpark over the term is expected to exceed $600 million. The PFD will receive $135 million in public financing, which was lowered from an earlier lease agreement. Per the news release from the Mariners, the new lease “strengthens the PFD’s oversight role, provides increased community benefits, including a ballpark neighborhood improvement fund, and provides long-term incentives to keep the Mariners in Seattle. The non-relocation agreement also requires the club to pay the public damages if they breach their agreement by relocating the team out of Seattle.”
“The new lease not only keeps the Mariners here for another 25 years, it substantially strengthens the PFD’s oversight role and ensures that we have locked in the financial commitments needed to keep this ballpark among the best in the country,” said Virginia Anderson, Chair of the PFD in a statement. “The club will continue to upgrade this publicly-owned facility, and — with our new non-relocation agreement, one of the strongest in Major League Baseball — we are protecting the public’s investment in the facility. We appreciate the Mariners’ desire to keep our ballpark among the top in Major League Baseball, and we look forward to continuing our successful partnership with the Club as we steward this facility in the years ahead.”