View from the upper level of Safeco Field during a Seattle Mariners game.

Image Credit: David Schott (CC BY 2.0)

Safeco Field will have a new name in 2019, however, the Seattle Mariners have signed a new 25-year lease extension that will keep them in SODO through the 2043 MLB season. Afterward, two three-year lease extensions will also be on the table which would extend through the 2049 MLB season. Safeco Field is owned and operated by the Washington State Major League Baseball Stadium Public Facilities District. The inaugural lease and naming rights agreement for Safeco Field were signed back in the late 90s when the stadium first opened.

The financial terms of the new agreement include $55M in total rent or $1.5M per year with consumer price index (CPI) escalation. $10M of the $55M will be spent towards improving the ballpark via various repairs and renovations. Before 2043, Safeco Field will need in excess of $385M in capital improvements and $160M in upgrades aside from improving the stadium’s infrastructure. The Seattle Mariners organization will be responsible for all operational costs and future costs associated with maintenance and improvements. Populous, an architecture firm that designs most Major League ballparks, created an extensive list of the various improvements that Safeco Field will need in coming years. They include

  • A new paint job for the exterior of Safeco Field.
  • Maintenance of the stadium’s retractable roof.
  • HVAC, plumbing, restrooms and electrical maintenance.
  • Maintenance of the stadium’s elevators and escalators.
  • Replacing the stadium’s seats as they age.

Most of the revenue for future improvements will be generated from game day ticket sales, admissions and parking. The new lease agreement also states that should the Seattle Mariners be sold to a new owner, the new owner must hail from the Seattle Metro area. John Stanton, Chairman of the Seattle Mariners, went on record to say that he wanted Safeco Field to be synonymous with the Seattle Mariners like Wrigley Field is with the Chicago Cubs and Fenway Park is with the Boston Red Sox. This is great news for baseball fans in the Seattle area given that so many professional sports teams are asking for taxpayer funds to build stadiums they don’t even need.


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