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Coca-Cola Field

Coca-Cola Field
Former names Pilot Field (1988-1995)
Downtown Ballpark (1995)
North AmeriCare Park (1995-1998)
Dunn Tire Park (1999-2008)
Location 275 Washington Street
Buffalo, NY 14203
Coordinates
Owner City of Buffalo[1]
Operator Bison Baseball Inc.
Capacity 17,600 (2015–present)[2]
18,025 (2005–2014)[3]
21,050 (1990–2004)[3]
19,500 (1988–1989)[3]
Field size Left Field - 325 feet (99 m)
Center Field - 404 feet (123 m)
Right Field - 325 feet (99 m)
Surface Grass
Construction
Broke ground July 10, 1986
Opened April 14, 1988
Construction cost $56 million
($112 million in 2016 dollars[4])
Architect Populous (Formerly HOK Sport)
Services engineer Wendel Engineers PC[5]
General contractor Cowper Construction Management
Tenants
Buffalo Bisons (IL) (1988-Present)

Coca-Cola Field (formerly Dunn Tire Park, North AmeriCare Park, Downtown Ballpark and Pilot Field) is a 17,600-seat baseball park in Buffalo, New York that hosted its first regular season baseball game on April 14, 1988, as the tenants of the facility, the Buffalo Bisons, defeated the Denver Zephyrs, 1–0.[6]

HOK Sport (now known as Populous) designed the park as one of the first retro-classic ballparks. This concept featured classic and distinctive architecture, a grass, baseball-specific design, and a location within the downtown core. The same firm would bring this concept to the major leagues four years later with Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

History

Coca-Cola Field and One HSBC Center

At the time of the stadium's construction, Buffalo was hoping to get either an expansion Major League Baseball team or a relocated team; Buffalo was one of the five finalists in the early 1990s National League expansion process, which led to the 1993 debuts of the Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins. The ballpark was built with a seating capacity of 19,500 people,[3] which makes it the third largest stadium in minor league baseball. The design allows for future expansion to accommodate a major league team: capacity could be increased to nearly 40,000 by double-decking the existing mezzanine.

In the first season the Bisons played at the stadium, the team shattered the previous minor-league attendance record, as many Buffalonians and visitors traveled downtown to enjoy the amenities offered by the new facility, which replaced the old War Memorial Stadium as the Bisons' home. In this first season, the Bisons outdrew a number of Major League teams.[7]

After several years as Pilot Field, there was a dispute involving the naming rights to the stadium following Pilot Air Freight's defaulting on naming rights payments. For part of a season, the stadium was known locally simply as the "Downtown Ballpark". In July 1995, however, another company stepped in and acquired the naming rights, and the stadium became known as North AmeriCare Park. The stadium maintained this moniker for only a few years, however. Prior to the start of the 1999 season, Dunn Tire, a local chain of retail tire outlets, became the naming rights holder for the stadium, thus the name Dunn Tire Park. On December 17, 2008, the Buffalo News reported that a new naming deal has been reached with Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Buffalo, with the stadium renamed as Coca-Cola Field for the 2009 season.[8]

Coca-Cola Field was also home to the Buffalo Nighthawks of the short-lived Ladies Professional Baseball League in 1998, when known as North Americare Park. Other events hosted at the stadium include the "Ballpark Brawl" annual wrestling events, and the annual National Buffalo Wing Festival on Labor Day Weekend.[9] Also, it is the host of WYRK's Taste of Country concert. Before the baseball field was built, the corner of Swan and Washington was the site of Ellsworth Statler's first hotel, Statler Hotel.[10] It was later called the Hotel Buffalo after Statler built a new Statler Hotel on Niagara Square in 1923 and sold this one. Before the Statler Hotel here was St. John's Episcopal Church built from 1846-1848 on land donated by Joseph Ellicott,[11] remained in use until 1893 and finally demolished 1906.[12]

Coca-Cola Field is served by the Seneca station on the Buffalo Metro Rail.

With the Omaha Royals moving out of Rosenblatt Stadium after the 2011 season, Coca-Cola Field is the highest-capacity minor league baseball stadium in the United States.[13]

The Goo Goo Dolls used the stadium back when it was named Pilot Field to film their music video for "There You Are".

In 2011, the Buffalo Bisons added a new state of the art video screen. The screen is the largest high-definition LED video display in all of Minor League Baseball.[14]

Along with the new video board, a new lighting system was added for Coca Cola Field. The new lighting system at Coca-Cola Field cost over $970,000 and contains fewer bulbs and emits more light.[1]

On July 11, 2012, Coca-Cola Field hosted the 25th Annual Triple-A All-Star Game.[1] The Pacific Coast League stars beat the International League stars.

For the 2014 season, $500,000 was spent in improvements to Coca-Cola Field. These improvements included a new sound system to replace the dated version that had been in house since the ballpark's 1988 opening and the installation of new LED message boards on the facing of the club level down both baselines.[15]

On August 22, 2014, it was announced that the Buffalo Bisons would get new seats for the 2015 season, replacing 3,700 original seats from the ballpark's 1988 opening. The new seats were installed during the offseason, and these seats are for specially reserved sections. It is possible that this is a multi-year project. The seating capacity dropped from 18,025 to 17,600.[16][17]

References

  1. ^ a b c "City of Buffalo and Bisons to Partner and Improve Experience at Coca Cola Field".  
  2. ^ Northrop, Milt (March 25, 2015). "Baseball Herd Changes Start with Seat Upgrade".  
  3. ^ a b c d "2012 Buffalo Bisons Media Guide" (PDF). April 9, 2012. Retrieved April 29, 2012. 
  4. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  5. ^ Maddore, James T. (April 19, 1991). "Wendel Engineers Plans New Building".  
  6. ^ "Coca-Cola Field".  
  7. ^  
  8. ^ Harrington, Mike (December 17, 2008). "Goodbye, Dunn Tire Park. Hello, Coca-Cola Field!".  
  9. ^ "Dunn Tire Park to Host August 23rd Wrestling Super Show". Minor League Baseball. June 1, 2007. Retrieved May 15, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Ellsworth Statler in Buffalo". Western New York Heritage Press. Retrieved February 15, 2013. 
  11. ^ LaChiusa, Chuck (2002). "St. John's Grace Episcopal Church - History". Buffalo Architecture and History. Retrieved February 20, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Ellsworth Statler in Buffalo". Western New York Heritage Press, Inc. 2007. Retrieved February 20, 2014. 
  13. ^ Kingston, Rachel (April 4, 2010). """Buffalo Among the "Top Ten Places for a Baseball Pilgrimage.  
  14. ^ Arrington, Blake (March 30, 2011). "HD Scoreboard Highlights What's New". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved May 15, 2014. 
  15. ^ Harrington, Mike (February 24, 2014). "Bisons to Unveil New Message Boards, Sound System on Opening Day at Coca-Cola Field".  
  16. ^ "Bisons, City of Buffalo Announce Installation of New Seats in Special Reserved Sections". Minor League Baseball. August 22, 2014. Retrieved March 26, 2015. 
  17. ^ Harrington, Mike (August 22, 2014). "Updated: Bisons to Replace 3,700 Seats As Phase I to 'overhaul' of Coca-Cola Field".  

External links

  • Coca-Cola Field
  • Rochester Area Ballparks - Coca-Cola Field
  • Rochester Area Ballparks - War Memorial Stadium
  • Ball Parks of the Minor LeaguesCoca-Cola Field Views -
  • Pilot Air Freight
  • Dunn Tire
Events and tenants
Preceded by
War Memorial Stadium
Home of the
Buffalo Bisons

1988 - Present
Succeeded by
Present
Preceded by
Don Valley Stadium
 UK
Universiade
1993
Succeeded by
Fukuoka Dome
 Japan
Preceded by
Spring Mobile Ballpark
Triple-A All-Star Game
2012
Succeeded by
Aces Ballpark
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