Even a great ballpark can benefit from a refresh, especially one as extensive as the upgrades implemented by the Frisco RoughRiders and the city of Frisco in Dr Pepper Ballpark this season. The improvements and subsequent success earned Dr Pepper Ballpark Ballpark Digest’s Best Ballpark Renovation (Under $6M) for 2015.
“Frisco has always been one of the leading franchises in Minor League Baseball, and Dr Pepper Ballpark has always been regarded as a great venue,” said Kevin Reichard, Ballpark Digest publisher. “It would have been easy for the new RoughRiders ownership to maintain the status quo, but it was important to tell fans things were different – and very much improved – for 2015.”
The ballpark improvements were a big part of a new front office’s campaign to crank up all aspects of the franchise. Begin with a new high-definition videoboard five times larger its predecessor, along with new outfield wall LED signage (shown above) that included the largest digital signage and display space in all of Minor League Baseball. Add in a new sound system, complete with an open air perch where the in-house DJ controlled the music through the ballpark. On the food front, a new State Fairway (shown below) was made for a rotating series of locally operated food trucks and other fair-themed portables reminiscent of a walk along a midway. The old team store was replaced by the Bull Moose Saloon (shown below), connecting directly to the State Fairway area and the third-base concourse. Finally, behind the scenes the home and visitor clubhouses and team tunnel were upgraded with a new kitchen, new floors, chairs, murals and design. All of this was accomplished for $5.8 million.
“This recognition from Ballpark Digest is the result of our great partnership with the City of Frisco and outstanding collaboration with our architects, vendors and contractors,” said Chuck Greenberg, RoughRiders’ CEO & General Partner. “The improvements made to Dr Pepper Ballpark prior to this past season were a huge hit with our fans and business partners and provided the centerpiece for a completely re-imagined RoughRiders’ game day experience.”
The ballpark opened in 2003 for the RoughRiders’ inaugural season and has been widely recognized as one of the country’s top baseball venues ever since. Ballpark Digest previously honored Dr Pepper Ballpark in 2008 for the addition of the current Playground Area and Outfield Pool.
“Dr Pepper Ballpark and the Frisco RoughRiders are very important to the City of Frisco,” said Frisco Mayor Maher Maso. “The venue has hosted baseball fans, sports enthusiasts, concert goers, conventioneers and fun seekers for more than twelve years. It is the first in our collection of professional sports venues developed from a public private partnership. While Dr Pepper Ballpark has evolved with our community, one thing hasn’t changed. The ballpark continues to provide affordable, family friendly entertainment. Our (City of Frisco) decision to reinvest in this award-winning ballpark is nothing short of a home run for Frisco.”
The end result: a record-breaking season at the gate. The RoughRiders drew seven of their ten biggest crowds in franchise history in 2015. Frisco set a new franchise record with 11,915 fans on May 8, only to see the record broken on June 12th when 11,927 watched the Riders defeat San Antonio. In addition, a grand total of 22,298 fans attended Frisco’s home games on July 4th and 5th, the most ever on back-to-back nights around the Fourth of July. Frisco once again led all Double-A Minor League Baseball teams in attendance, with 6,918 fans per game and a total of 477,354 for the season.
“This was a great year for the RoughRiders, and the ballpark renovations were a big part of that success,” Reichard said. “Fans respond when owners make a commitment to a great experience, as was proven this year in Frisco.”
PREVIOUS 2015 AWARD WINNERS:
Best New Food Item: Sweenie Donut Dog
Broadcaster of the Year: Josh Whetzel
Best New Logos/Branding: Daytona Tortugas
Best New Ballpark: CHS Field, home of the St. Paul Saints