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Mariners sign new lease — next step, new stadium name?

(File, Associated Press)

The Seattle Mariners and the Washington State Major League Baseball Public Facilities District (PFD)  have agreed to a new 25-year lease on the team’s ballpark.

RELATED: Public should get to weigh in on Safeco Field’s new name

The lease guarantees that the Mariners will remain in Seattle for the next decade-and-a-half, and holds the team responsible for “maintenance, operations, capital improvements, and upgrades” for the publicly-owned ballpark.

“We want this ballpark to be our home for a hundred years,” said John Stanton, Seattle Mariners Chairman and Managing Partner in a news release. “This lease continues the public-private partnership that has made this ballpark one of the best homes for professional baseball, a perennial fan favorite.”

Most significantly, this could mark the final box that needs to be checked before a new name for the former Safeco Field can be made official.

A rumor circulated in mid-November that T-Mobile was the leading candidate to take over naming rights for the stadium, for what Forbes estimated to be a $6 million annual price tag. The Mariners quickly refuted that report, telling KIRO Radio that the fee was not a fact and that no official agreement was in place.

RELATED: T-Mobile taking early lead in renaming Mariners’ ballpark?

Safeco opted not to renew its naming agreement with the Mariners in 2017, after holding the title for the entirety of the ballpark’s almost 20-year lifespan.

The new lease agreement also includes a “strong non-relocation agreement,” that includes hefty damages “payable to the public” should the Mariners ever move the team’s operations to another city.

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