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BaseballBnb? Teams Finding Alternative Uses for Shuttered Ballparks

21 Jun, 2020

By: Michael Popke

While current plans call for a late July restart for the Great American Pastime (at least on the MLB level; the minors are still up in the air), teams are finding alternate uses for their ballparks (as well as ways to make a few bucks).

According to BallparkDigest.com:

• The Lehigh Valley IronPigs (a Pennsylvania-based Class AAA affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies) hosted a Drive-In Fireworks show on Memorial Day weekend. For $10 per carload, fans could purchase tickets online, but the concessions stands and restrooms were closed.

• The Daytona Tortugas in Florida (a Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds) showed the Jackie Robinson biopic, 42, on the scoreboard at Jackie Robinson Ballpark on May 22, with various ticket packages including reserved spaces on the field for groups of four and eight people. The team also hosted a multi-day bulk chicken sale ($53 for a 40-pound case of frozen boneless chicken breasts from Mountaire Farms).

• The Madison Mallards (a Wisconsin team in a summer collegiate league) has converted its Duck Pond stadium into a drive-in movie theater with audio delivered to vehicles via FM transmitter. The team charges $25 per vehicle with up to two people inside and $40 per vehicle with three or more people inside. Prepackaged concessions and alcohol also are available for touch-free purchasing. Titles shown in June include Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Space Jam, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Rocky Horror Picture Show andGrease.

• The Pensacola Blue Wahoos (a Class AA Florida affiliate of the Minnesota Twins) have listed the team’s stadium on Airbnb. “Guests staying at the ballpark will have full access to the newly-renovated and fully-furnished clubhouse, a large bedroom with 10 beds, the batting cage, and the field itself!” gushes the listing. In this case, a night at the ballpark will set you back $1,500.

PeoplesBank Park in York, Pa. — home of the York Revolution independent baseball team — is offering Patio Parties each Friday and Saturday through June at the stadium’s Bullpen Balcony and Home Run Patio. The dining venues can hold nearly  200 people while still maintaining the required six feet between tables, team officials say. Each “party” also features beer and live music.

“Now that people are more comfortable socializing and enjoying a night out, we are happy to provide what is frankly one of the largest outdoor venues for them to do that safely these next few weekends,” Revolution president Eric Menzer said in a statement.

Major League stadiums are getting in on the action, too. From June 4-7, the Texas Rangers promoted the QuickTrip Concert in Your Car series at the brand-new Globe Life Field with country artists the Eli Young Band, Whiskey Myers, Pat Green, the Josh Abbott Band and Kevin Fowler, featuring one-hour acoustic sets by a different artist each day. Tickets ranged from $40 to $80 per vehicle. Concert audio was provided through a specially designated FM radio channel, and as at any other concert, T-shirts and other souvenirs were available. A portion of the proceeds benefitted the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation to support ongoing COVID-19 relief efforts, according to BallparkDigest.com

This kind of creative marketing isn’t limited to baseball stadiums. The NFL’s Miami Dolphins have turned Hard Rock Stadium into a drive-in movie theater that also includes an open-air venue on the property’s South Plaza for small groups to watch entertainment on a large screen.The plan, according to the Orlando Sun-Sentinel, is to “showcase classic Miami Dolphins content from the team’s 54-year history, as well as classic films, concerts, commencement ceremonies and other events. …. Food and beverage will be available at the complex through an online ordering and payment system, with delivery service. Restrooms also will be available.”

“We’ve spent several weeks planning this to be able to provide people with a safe option to go out,” Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium vice chairman and CEO Tom Garfinkel said in a statement.“It’s a fundamental human need to physically experience and celebrate events and experiences together, and we’re trying to provide options for everyone, where they can be safely socially distant and socially present at the same time.”

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