New Major League Baseball Experiences Debut in 2018
April 10, 2018
The game of baseball’s appeal as a social gathering has never been stronger. Fans who come to the ballpark no longer want to be confined to a designated seat; instead they want to get up and meet up throughout the game.
We’ve helped our ballpark clients design for this shifting expectation over the years. Some of our MLB partners have even gone so far as to experiment with tickets that do without reserved seating altogether.
Or take our exclusive research done with Nielsen Sports. More than half of all surveyed fans are interested in unique VIP-caliber experiences.
Here’s a look at the latest execution of this guiding principle to ballpark design:
Target Field reinvigorates right field
In its still young history, Target Field has been lauded for its modern, urban approach. The ballpark hasn’t rested on its laurels since opening in 2010, however. The Twins and Minnesota Ballpark Authority are committed to keeping the Target Field experience a fresh and forward-looking one.
We’ve been busy helping them realize the latest social space debuting in 2018: Bat & Barrel. Located in the right field corner where the Metropolitan Club once stood, the new space is open to the public and just one part of a significant upgrade to the overall right field experience.
From the moment you walk through Gate 34, the unofficial front door of Target Field that welcomes 60% of fans, the changes are apparent. Concourses have expanded by as much as 40 feet. A new entry lobby featuring 22 tons of locally-sourced Cold Spring Granite leads up to Bat & Barrel. Once upstairs, a new experience awaits, complete with:
- 2 large bars
- Tavern and lounge seating
- Game day views courtesy of six bi-folding glass doors
- 320 square feet of high definition videoboard behind the infield-shaped bar
- 144 square feet of high definition videoboard facing the main seating area
- 17 next-gen LED TVs
The space also features some of the ball club’s most cherished memorabilia like the authentic ’87 and ’91 World Series trophies. Take the new glass elevator up, capped by a structural glass cube, and you’ll see an original Twins mural designed by our own Mary Lim.
ICYMI: @Twins debuted artwork for Target Field’s new Bat & Barrel yesterday, including this #mural by our own Mary Limhttps://t.co/G0T08nxrFM pic.twitter.com/A2RvVWxjEg
— Populous (@Populous) April 6, 2018
Coors Field cools off with a new club
A former outdoor balcony on the Coors Field Club Level was transformed in the off-season into an indoor hospitality space for Rockies’ season ticket holders. Located down the 3rd baseline, the south-facing balcony is now conditioned space with interior details that reflect the original industrial charm of the original ballpark design.
Exposed brick and steel interior finishes are combined with natural finished stone, rough sawn timbers and reclaimed hardwood panels. A portion of wood finishes have been specified using Colorado-sourced sustainable beetle-kill pine lumber. As our own Michael Ray told Venues Now, “We wanted to capture the essence of Colorado nature, refine it and bring it inside the ballpark.”
First of four new Wrigley Field clubs opens
The second oldest ballpark in the Major Leagues continues adding modern amenities as part of its 1060 Project. The American Airlines 1914 Club is the latest phase of that project. Debuting this season, the ticketed club includes 600 seats behind home plate and references the year Wrigley Field opened.
SunTrust Park celebrates first anniversary
Switching gears from renovations to new ballparks, SunTrust Park has exemplified the social-first mindset since opening last season.
If the data is any indication, Braves fans have taken to their new home well. The team’s first season in SunTrust Park led to increases across the board for attendance (23%), ticket sales (76%) and concession sales (31%).
It should come as no surprise; hospitality is at the heart of the ballpark’s design as evidenced by spaces like the Terrapin Taproom, Chop House and Delta 360 Club. The last of those spaces was expanded this off-season due to popular demand.
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