Field of Dreams Games Creates Grand Slam Impact in Dyersville
24 Aug, 2021By: Mary Helen Sprecher
A Sequel (in Iowa, Not Hollywood) is in the Works
Field of Dreams is getting a sequel but not in Hollywood - in Dyersville, Iowa. The big game between the Yankees and the White Sox hit it out of the park, and MLB, seeing the potential, has already announced a game in 2022. But don’t look for a rematch of this one; next year’s will feature the Reds and the Cubs. (Sorry, Yanks; you don’t get to avenge that walkoff loss).
The plan for next year, according to NBC Sports, has a few legal details left to iron out but currently calls for the Cubs and Reds to play at the Field of Dreams site Thursday, Aug. 11, take Friday off, and then conclude their three-game series Saturday and Sunday in Cincinnati, sources said. (There will be one more neutral site MLB game in 2021 as Cleveland faces the Angels in Williamsport, Pennsylvania – but don’t expect it to have quite the impact of the game in the cornfield).
Given the success of the 2021 Field of Dreams game (held on August 11), we can expect it to become an annual event. And nobody believes thatt more than Kevin Costner, the star of the original film, who was on hand for the big game a few weeks ago.
"You never mess with a winning streak," Costner said, according to Tyler Kepner of the New York Times, "It does feel like all the teams will want to touch this."
The cornfield was the summer’s hottest ticket, according to Sportico. In fact, tickets for the game are among the highest in history for an MLB regular season game. At one point, the cost of a single general admission seat soared as high as $8,669, plus a 4% fee, in a four-pack worth a total of $18,031.52. (StubHub, meanwhile, was offering two tickets in Row 41 down the left-field line priced at a modest $874.96 each).
Those who went to the game loved it; in fact, the game-winning run shot over the outfield and vanished into the cornfield, drawing roars of appreciation from fans.
The Field of Dreams Game was, of course, postponed from the 2020 season. The stadium reportedly cost nearly $6 million to build, unassembled and then reassemble.
And while the economic impact figures are still being tallied, there are plenty of good indicators. The movie site itself, intact since the filming, drew baseball buffs each year; however, according to Dyersville Major James Heavens, interest had leveled off until new owners took over with improvement plans.
“For many years the Field of Dreams was kind of just there,” according to Heavens, “it wasn’t a big economic engine for the city or the county. But it did attract 60,000 visitors per year.”
With the announcement of the MLB game came even more interest, according to the Des Moines Register.
In past years, most visitors have come during the summer, then traffic dies down after Labor Day. When the game was announced in 2019, the site welcomed a record 150,000 visitors. This year, Roman Weinberg, director of operations for Go The Distance, the organization that owns and operates the movie site, says he expects to see traffic through the fall and hit 200,000 visitors.
"It's put us on another platform and has helped us reach a whole other level of brand awareness for baseball fans and the national and international markets out there," said Weinberg.
The city of Dyersville (population 4,000) has three hotels. Period. And when word got out about the game, the lines were flooded.
"We probably had almost hundreds or thousands of calls that same day," said Dipen Patel, the hotel's general manager.
Some visitors had never heard of the movie site until the MLB announced the game, Weinberg said. The league started promoting the game (and the site) in earnest once the game went onto the schedule. Shots of the ballpark in the cornfield were even shown during the 2021 All-Star Game.
"Is it a godsend?" Weinberg says. "Yes, I would say so."
Weinberg hopes the renewed attention could propel the organization's goal of putting in youth baseball fields near the original diamond.
"This is as big as it gets," he added. "Especially in baseball, there's no bigger platform than Major League Baseball. When you get someone of that … caliber shining the spotlight on your location, all you can do is tip your cap, smile and say, 'Thank you very much.'"