Last night saw a record crowd at Fluor Field for a Greenville Drive (Low Class A; Sally League) season opener, and with good reason: it’s a great implementation of a downtown MiLB park.
The crowd of 6,402 was the largest ever for a Drive season opener at Fluor Field. The team is now firmly entrenched in the downtown Greenville culture and is a draw outside the Drive season, with college tourneys and other events on the calendar. Drive ownership has made the requisite investment in the ballpark, an accompanying Shoeless Joe Jackson museum and the surrounding area.
And those investments have paid off. Local owners love having Fluor Field as a neighbor, as fans flock to area during Drive games. From Fox Carolina:
“We love our location,” said Lindsey Pegg, general manager at Mac’s, in the shadow of the baseball stadium. “It definitely helps business because we are kind of out of the way on the West End, off the beaten path.”
Near Falls Park, the good weather brings extra customers into Spill the Beans for cool treats.
“Probably the craziest time of the year,” said Isaac Barcroft, who works there.
There are skeptics who say downtown ballparks are a waste of time. But by and large downtown ballparks work very well when there’s a committed ownership in place. From Parkview Field to Target Field to Fluor Field to Coors Field to Fifth Third Field to Petco Park to the new BB&T Ballpark, downtown ballparks have an established track record in attracting fans and investments.
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