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Diamondbacks given permission to search for new stadium

The Arizona Diamondbacks have permission to search for a new stadium as early as 2022. (Getty Images)

The Arizona Diamondbacks can officially start looking for a new home.

The Maricopa County board of supervisors passed an agreement on Wednesday allowing the team to start looking for a new stadium in exchange for “dropping its demand for the county to pay up to $187 million in stadium upgrades,” the Arizona Republic reported on Wednesday.

The Diamondbacks have occupied Chase Field since it opened in 1998, and signed a lease through 2027. Should the team find a new location within Maricopa County — which is home to the greater Phoenix area — the team can leave Chase Field without penalty in 2022.

If the team leaves Arizona after 2022, the team would be required to pay penalties between $5 and $25 million, per the report. If a new stadium is built on tribal land, it would charge the same taxes currently charged at Chase Field.

“(W)e will do everything in our power to ensure a safe and friendly environment while being diligent in determining the best long-term stadium option for the D-Backs,” Diamondbacks majority owner Ken Kendrick told the Arizona Republic. “Our front office will continue to focus on our team on the field, the fan experience and the key role we play in the Arizona community.”

The team has been at odds with Maricopa County for years. The Diamondbacks sued the county last year in an effort to break the lease on the stadium, alleging that the county didn’t save enough money to keep the stadium in good condition. The Arizona Republic reported in 2017 that MLB officials were “so alarmed by recent equipment breakdowns” at the stadium that they “might require” the team to leave Phoenix unless the government helped with stadium repairs.

While many say it’s clear that the team will leave at the end of its current contract with Chase Field, if not sooner, supervisor Denny Barney said the main goal is to keep the team in the Phoenix area.

The county, though, still isn’t prepared to help build a new stadium.

“We’d love them to be in Chase Field, but we really want them to stay in Maricopa County because that’s what the taxpayers bargained for,” Barney told the Arizona Republic. “We don’t have the ability to put more money in the stadium nor will we build them a new stadium. If they can find something that will take them the next 20, 30, 40 years in Maricopa County outside of Chase Field, great. As long as they’re here — that’s our goal.”

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