“The City That Said No to Baseball”
In 1998, the Brewers left their old stadium in Chandler, Arizona, for Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix. Was that a blow to the economic development of Chandler? Not exactly, as Richard Williamson describes in an informative article published in The Bond Buyer. The city appears to be thriving. It “is in great fiscal health”, it’s “high-tech city hall has won architectural awards and anchors a revitalized historic downtown,” and population has increased 30%, to 240,00 (see slide 10) since the Brewers departed after “relatively contentious” negotiations. Chandler’s bond rating has increased from AA- to AAA , moving in the opposite direction of sports-intensive Glendale (from AA to BBB-plus).
According to the article, the Brewers are have started discussions with Peoria — to the northwest of Glendale — about developing a new facility there. The folks in Peoria, already the Cactus League home of the Mariners and Padres, might do well to look at the example set by their neighbors in Chandler.
This is a rare news story where the opportunity cost of stadium investment is vividly illustrated. Thanks to Adam Pope for sending it.