The Cubs and the city of Mesa have come up with a brilliant way to fund a new stadium and keep the team in Arizona for Spring Training: Ask everyone else's fans to pay for it.
The city of Mesa and the Arizona Legislature are formulating a special deal to build the Cubs a new spring training stadium in the East Valley. The plan is to finance construction by increasing Maricopa County rental car taxes on tourists and imposing a first-of-its-kind ticket fee on all Cactus League games.
Some of the 14 other Cactus League teams, including the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago White Sox, have announced their opposition to a leaguewide ticket fee, saying their fans shouldn't have to fund a Cubs ballpark.
It's easy to understand why, for example, White Sox fans might not be eager to bankroll a new Spring Training stadium for their cross-city rivals. The Diamondbacks, meanwhile, are an interesting addition to the Arizona anti-tax crowd, given that their own stadium tax was so controversial it got a Maricopa County Supervisor shot.
In any case, Mesa and others say the new tax is justified because the departure of the Cubs, who drew a major-league leading 203,100 fans last year, could decrease Cactus League attendance by 22 percent. Not only that, but it would shrink the number of MLB players with ill-conceived, backloaded contracts by 53 percent.