Last year, Henderson [Nevada] officials quietly began a push to lure the Arizona Diamondbacks from the team’s Phoenix home to their city, records obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal show.
According to the presentation, Henderson hired a consultant to conduct a financial analysis, assuming the ballpark would have 32,000 seats and space for 4,000 standing-room-only ticket holders. The Diamondbacks would serve as the primary tenant for a 30-year term and the stadium would be publicly owned and exempt from property tax.
The consultant estimated the ballpark would cost about $1 billion to construct.
On Jan. 4, [Derrick] Hall, the team’s CEO, sent Derrick an email with the subject line, “Have not forgotten you!”
“Hopefully there is still strong interest there as we go through the MLB motions,” he wrote.
Let’s be clear about one thing: Given the relative sizes of their media markets, the Arizona Diamondbacks owners are extremely unlikely to leave Phoenix for the Las Vegas area anytime soon. (The last contact between the two parties was apparently in February.) But that doesn’t mean they won’t play footsie with Nevada as a way of scaring Phoenix into coughing up that new stadium that they badly want it to, just as it won’t stop Henderson — a small city near Las Vegas that is best known for paying to build a Vegas Golden Knights practice facility and previously suing a developer who promised to build an NFL stadium there but didn’t — from getting free media impressions by exchanging a few emails with an MLB team exec.
Still, it’s another sign that there are still plenty of cities out there eager to fill the threat gap that MLB has had ever since putting a team in Washington, D.C., and that MLB teams are happy to have them do so. The D-Backs’ stadium demands have been in a bit of a holding pattern of late, but I’ve got a feeling they’re likely to heat up real soon now.