SEATTLE --The Washington State Major League Baseball Public Facilities District has approved terms of a new 25-year lease with the Seattle Mariners for Safeco Field.
Combined with options for two three-year extensions as part of the agreement approved Wednesday, the new lease could keep the Mariners at the stadium through the 2049 season.
As part of the lease terms, the Mariners agreed to pay 100 percent of maintenance and operations costs at the stadium and "contribute to ongoing capital improvements that will be needed in the decades to come."
The new lease is five years longer than the original 20-year agreement when the ballpark was constructed and opened in 1999. The current lease was set to expire at the conclusion of the 2018 season.
“I have met with members of the public facilities district, and I believe the terms of the 25 year lease negotiated between the PFD and the Seattle Mariners for Safeco Field are sensible and fair,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine.
As part of the legislation, hotel/motel tax revenues will be allocated for tourism promotion, arts programs, museums, workforce housing, and programs for homeless youth.
Lodging taxes would also be allocated to the Public Facilities Districts that own both Safeco Field in Seattle and the ShoWare Center in Kent.
“Hotel/motel taxes were established 50 years ago so that visitors would pay to build the Kingdome and bring Major League Baseball and NFL Football to town. As a consequence of this lease, a small portion of those visitor taxes - roughly 12 percent - will go toward upkeep of the nuts and bolts of our iconic ballpark. It will also help maintain the publicly owned ShoWare Center in Kent. About 85 percent of the hotel/motel funds will be directed to other public purposes, with 75 percent supporting affordable housing and the arts.”
Councilmembers say these teams create jobs and bring in tourists which creates an economic stimulus.
"Professional sports are part of our successful regional economic development," said King County Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer, co-sponsor of the motion. "The Seattle Mariners provide jobs at every level of the employment spectrum because they attract tourists from Canada and the Pacific Northwestern states. These tourists stay at our hotels, shop at our restaurants, and buy goods while visiting our region. In addition to one of the best ticket values for family entertainment, the Mariners provide economic stimulus to our economy through the jobs they create."