The Business of Baseball Seattle Style

Just business.



The business of baseball supersedes the game of baseball and that is now playing out in Seattle. The Seattle Mariners Major League Baseball club owners and King County elected officials were trying to come up with a new deal that would extend the team’s lease to use the municipal facility for another 25 years. The team’s lease ends following the 2018 season. The hang up is a $180 million payment the Mariners ownership wants from Seattle and King County officials for stadium maintenance over the life of the 25 year deal. King County wants to use the money that is coming in from hotel, motel and car rental taxes that is currently used to pay down the debt on the Mariners and Seattle Seahawks stadiums for other needs. The stadium debt will be retired in 2020. Some of the cash would go to affordable housing, some would go to the arts, some to tourism. Mariners ownership wants that money.

Seattle has a major homeless problem. Mariners ownership and the Washington State Major League Baseball Stadium Public Facilities District, which runs the stadium, reached a deal on a term sheet on a 25-year lease extension. But Mariners ownership had a change of heart and wanted to alter the terms of the pact. The offer may be pulled. The Mariners ownership is not threatening to go elsewhere. Seattle is a major financial center with international powerhouses in the market including Microsoft and Amazon. Seattle is also a city with a major homeless problem one that can be seen very clearly from the Mariners baseball park. Mariners ownership is suggesting that a five year deal would work. The Mariners ballpark was not wanted by Seattle voters who said no to funding the facility in 1994. Washington legislators decide to overturn the vote and allocate money to  build the ballpark. The stadium opened in 1999.