ASU, Chicago Cubs Break Ground on Shared Stadium in Mesa
Published: Friday, May 25, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 25, 2012 18:05
ASU baseball is stepping up its ballpark factor with plans to leave Packard Stadium, ASU’s home field for more than 35 years, and join the Chicago Cubs at a shared facility in Mesa.
The $99 million stadium project is set to break ground on July 11 and will be ready for both teams to play ball by February 2014.
“It’s an opportunity to work with one of the iconic sport franchises, and I think that ultimately the facility will be second to none for college baseball in terms of the benefit to our student athletes and our fans,” said ASU Athletic Director Steve Patterson, who is in the final stages of completing a 30-year agreement with the City of Mesa and the Chicago Cubs.
The new stadium will be less than three miles away from Packard Stadium at the former Mesa Riverview Golf Course.
The stadium will have a15,000 fan capacity, multiple practice fields, batting cages, shaded seats, party decks, video boards, improved concession stands and an ASU clubhouse with a weight room, academic center and kitchen.
This is undoubtedly a step up for the ASU baseball team. Even so, some fans and players voiced their concern to Patterson about losing ASU traditions and a true home game atmosphere.
While designs have not yet been finalized, the stadium will incorporate Wrigley Field and Packard Stadium elements that cater to spring training and ASU home games.
The way it’s dressed up and adorned will have an emphasis on whichever team is playing there,” Mesa Mayor Scott Smith said.
The color scheme for fixed elements like chairs will remain neutral, while elements like flags and digital signage will transform the atmosphere.
“There’s been design elements put in the stadium allowing it to shift from a Cub motif to an ASU motif in a short amount of time,” Smith said. “So you could literally play two games in one day and feel like you are in entirely different stadiums.”
This is an aspect that will come in handy when four of the estimated 30 ASU home games may overlap with the Chicago Cub’s spring training schedule, calling for some doubleheaders.
The true experience will be in the surrounding development, Mayor Smith said.
He hopes to draw spring training fans and ASU baseball fans, who will have access to a shuttle service between campus and the ballpark, to Wrigleyville — the commercial development planned for the surrounding area.
With sports bars, shops, restaurants and a nearby park he hopes the excitement will continue long after the bottom of the ninth.
“You aren’t going to walk straight from your seat to the car; you will stick around and enjoy the amenities,” Mayor Scott said. “We are looking for this to be a year-round destination and having more games and Sun Devil baseball there with thousands of fans will only enhance the facility and the entire area.”
The City of Mesa, ASU and the Chicago Cubs believe this is a partnership that fans and players should be excited about.
While ASU baseball may be walking away from their home of more than 35 years, Patterson is confident the new facilities are a better fit for ASU’s baseball team, which is ranked No. 16.
“This will be the best facility in the Pac-12 and the country,” he said. “I’m excited to get in there, show it off to all our fans and bring more exposure to ASU’s top-ranked baseball team.”