The Salem Red Sox (High Class A; Carolina League) and the city of Salem executed a ten-year extension of the lease of Lewis-Gale Field at Salem Memorial Ballpark, which expired at the end of the 2014 season.
The Salem Red Sox will begin its 20th consecutive season of professional baseball at the ballpark, which was originally constructed in 1995, at 7:05 p.m. tonight against the Carolina Mudcats. As part of the new agreement, the City of Salem will undertake a series of capital maintenance projects to ensure the long-term viability of the ballpark for years to come. In addition, the Salem Red Sox will contribute $150,000 to support youth athletics in Salem over the term of the agreement.
“For more than 75 years, minor league baseball has been an integral part of our community, and we are excited to announce the long-term extension of our partnership with the Red Sox,” said Salem Mayor Randy Foley. “The club not only brings America’s best-loved pastime to the valley but also enhances tourism and serves as an active community partner with a strong commitment to the region, our youth, and so many of our worthy causes. We look forward to continuing the proud tradition of offering professional baseball and affordable family entertainment at the ballpark as we march toward the team’s historic centennial anniversary.”
“This is a great day for the City of Salem, the Salem Red Sox and, especially, our loyal fans, who have provided us with unwavering support since we took ownership of the club in 2008,” said Tim Zue, Managing Director of the Salem Red Sox and Senior Vice President of Fenway Sports Management. “We are proud to continue the long-standing tradition of playing professional baseball at Salem Memorial Ballpark, and we look forward to extending our commitment to providing the best affordable family entertainment in the region and supporting youth athletics throughout the Roanoke Valley.”
The Salem Red Sox will introduce a number of new initiatives and programs designed to enhance the fan experience at the ballpark this season. Two new “snack shacks” have been added at each end of the main concourse to provide faster, more convenient food and beverage service. In addition, at every Friday night home game, the Salem Red Sox will don special camouflage jerseys, which will be auctioned off at the end of the season to support a military charity. Additional specialty jerseys to be used this season include Pink in the Park (May 9 and 10), Back to the Future (July 18), and throwback Salem Avalanche jerseys (August 15), which will commemorate the team’s 20 seasons at Salem Memorial Ballpark.
“This long-term commitment to the City of Salem and the broader market would not have been possible without the incredible fan support we have seen in recent years, particularly last season, when we had one of the largest increases in attendance in all of Minor League Baseball,” said Ryan Shelton, General Manager of the Salem Red Sox. “Over the next 10 seasons, we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that our fans’ loyalty is rewarded with an unparalleled ballpark experience.”
To celebrate this renewed partnership, the Salem Red Sox are offering all City of Salem residents free tickets to the game scheduled for Sunday, April 19 at 4:05 p.m. Fans can show a valid ID with a Salem address at the box office or call ahead to receive the complimentary General Admission tickets while supplies last.