Door Still Open For Cubs/ASU Deal

Despite Thursday's announcement that the Cubs and Arizona State University couldn't reach agreement on a stadium-sharing contract, the door is not totally closed to such a deal.

Despite Thursday's announcement by Arizona State University that that the proposed deal for ASU to share the Cubs' new spring training complex was dead, I have learned that the door is still open for this deal to get done.

Arizona sources tell me that the deal broke down over a proposal made by ASU that they get the first $1.5 million of revenue from concessions from ASU games, and then have a 50/50 split of such concessions, for the duration of the contract. No money from Cubs spring training games was to go to ASU; there were also apparently issues regarding the Cubs wanting insurance indemnifications (some of which might have run contrary to Arizona state law), and the ability for ASU to book certain non-baseball events. In addition, there were some unresolved issues on dates that both teams would need to use the stadium (in 2013, ASU has nine home dates scheduled during baseball spring training, although not all of those would conflict with Cubs home games; in 2012 there were just four dates on which both teams would have needed the stadium).

One of the things that was most important for the Cubs in constructing the new complex was the Wrigleyville West development that will be built at some time in the future. The additional people that would have been brought there by ASU games would have provided extra revenue to the Cubs that they wouldn't have had to share with other MLB teams, since that revenue would not be baseball-related. In the upcoming 2013 season, ASU has 28 home games -- that's a lot of people, perhaps 100,000 or more (ASU drew 129,728 two years ago), people who might spend quite a bit of money at a retail development. With a new stadium as a draw, attendance at ASU games might be even higher than that.

It might take a direct sit-down between Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts and ASU president Michael Crow to get this deal done -- and they should do it, because it's in the best interest of both the university and the Cubs, as well as the city of Mesa, to have this unique partnership.

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