ASU, City of Phoenix partner for move to Phoenix Municipal Stadium
The City of Phoenix and Arizona State University announced that Sun Devil Baseball will begin playing at Phoenix Municipal Stadium at the start of the 2015 season.
Phoenix Muni, which has been the spring training home of the Oakland Athletics since 1982, has a seating capacity of nearly 8,000 and is located in Papago Park – a little more than 2 miles from ASU’s Tempe campus. The Sun Devils played a number of baseball games at the stadium in the 1960s and 1970s, including postseasons and high-profile series that often broke attendance records.
“This is a walk-off grand slam for ASU and the City of Phoenix,” Mayor Greg Stanton said. “I was proud to work with President Crow at the development of this idea and to continue our partnership on economic success in Phoenix and our region. Thank you for partnering with our city, and I look forward to seeing the Devils continue their brand of winning baseball in their new stadium.”
“The relocation of Sun Devil baseball to this excellent facility would not have been possible without the support and dedicated effort of Mayor Greg Stanton as well the dedication of Councilman Sal DiCiccio in whose district the stadium is located. Phoenix Municipal Stadium will be an outstanding home ballpark for the ASU baseball team," said ASU President Michael Crow.
"It is close to campus, has double the seating capacity of Packard Stadium with far better amenities, and it affords us the opportunity to highlight ASU's baseball legacy throughout the ballpark. Packard Stadium has seen many years of use and needs upwards of $25 million in repairs. This move will enable us to develop the corner of Rural and Rio Salado, which will both benefit the City of Tempe and provide some of the revenue we will need to renovate or replace Sun Devil Stadium."
Other important aspects of the move include honoring the baseball program’s storied tradition, increasing its national prominence and maintaining ASU’s presence and home field advantage.
The Sun Devil Club Board of Directors has engaged the baseball season-ticket holders, the current coaching staff and players, and former student-athletes to play a part in the process and they will continue to be afforded a variety of avenues to voice their opinions and questions.
This collaboration is the result of a working group effort from Crow and the Office of Public Affairs at Arizona State, Sun Devil Athletics, City of Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, the Phoenix City Council, City Manager David Cavazos and the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department and the Arizona Board of Regents.
“This is the beginning of a bigger picture for the entire area. This bigger picture will bring more life to the area and will also enhance important organizations like the Phoenix Zoo and the Arizona Botanical Garden,” said Sal DiCiccio District 6 Phoenix councilman.
“Arizona State baseball has a long history at Phoenix Municipal Stadium dating back to the 1960s,” said Steve Patterson, vice president for University Athletics. “We're excited to work with the City of Phoenix on this project. Our baseball team has played some great games at this stadium. This move is both a nod to our tradition as well as a dramatic leap forward to an exciting future. We expect to continue Sun Devil baseball's prominence and success at Phoenix Muni.”
“The new stadium is exciting for players, coaches, alumni and fans alike,” said Tim Esmay, head baseball coach and former Sun Devil student-athlete. “A long list of great players, a winning tradition and a rich history made Arizona State the preeminent program in the nation. Playing in Phoenix Muni will now steer Sun Devil baseball into a new era of distinction.”
On Feb. 6, the Phoenix City Council unanimously approved the 25-year lease agreement that allows the team to have priority use of the stadium. ASU will also cover all operating expenses and capital improvements to the facility under the revenue-sharing agreement.
“This is a win-win for the City of Phoenix and ASU. We have collaborated on many successful projects in the Downtown area. This agreement is part of our growing partnership, and I look forward to our next project together,” city manager David Cavazos said.