M's Extend Lease with PFD
Photo: Dawn Busick
Safeco Field will be no more, but the Mariners will continue to play there nonetheless
We don't yet know what it will be called, but the Mariners will continue to play at what is now Safeco Field at least through 2043. The team agreed to terms with the Washington State Public Facilities District for a new 25-year lease that has two three-year options attached that could stretch the life of the agreement through 2049.
"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," said Mariners president John Stanton, who went on to assure Seattle fans that they "will continue to enjoy Major League Baseball in a state-of-the-art facility for decades to come."
The lease obligates the Mariners to pay the PFD rent of $55 million over the 25 years, at least $10 million of which will be applied to capital improvements to the ballpark. In addition, the M's will contribute $120 million to the new Capital Expenditures and Improvements fund and continue to finance all ballpark operation and routine maintenance costs. 1.5% - 2% of revenues from ticket sales will also be given to the PFD to add to the Capital Expenditiures and Improvements fund.
Also, the newly-created Ballpark Neighborhood Improvement Fund will be used at the PFD's discretion to support development in the area surrounding the ballpark and the Mariners will contribute an unspecified amount to the fund.
The naming rights now owned by Safeco Insurance expire after this year. The 20-year contract, which paid the Mariners some $36 million, was signed before the ballpark's opening in 1999. "We appreciate everything Safeco has done over the years to support our organization and look forward to continuing the relationship in the future,” said Mariners COO Kevin Mather, while noting that Safeco will not be considered for the next naming rights contract. Who the new corporate sponsor will be is anyone's guess at this point, but whatever moniker appears on the ballpark facade, it will be home to the Seattle Mariners for decades to come.