With the Detroit Tigers’ spring-training lease up in 2016, Lakeland is spending $50,000 to map out the future of Tiger Town and Joker Marchant Stadium.
The study, to be performed by HKS (the same firm overseeing the 2001 renovation of Joker Marchant), will address the parts of the complex that need updating to meet current MLB standards as well as the total cost of the project, which could run between $20 million and $40 million. The last round of improvements addressed fan comfort, like upgraded seating and a new berm, but this round of upgrades is expected to cover the less-glamorous aspects of spring training: renovated clubhouses for visitors and minor leaguers, an expanded rehab facility and new batting cages and weight room.
The improvements address one of the big changes in a spring-training facility over the last decade: a facility is now basically in use 12 months a year. Extended spring training has been expanded in the last 10 years, and players will now spend a significant chunk of the winter months training at a team complex.
This isn’t exactly a crisis situation: the Tigers have been training in Lakeland since 1934, and no one is expecting a change.
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