As the SEC searches for a home for its tournament in 2017 and beyond, conference officials will visit New Orleans’ Zephyr Field on April 30. To boost their ballpark’s chances of landing the tournament, the New Orleans Zephyrs (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) are planning a special promotion for that evening’s game.
Back in February, we took a closer look at the SEC bidding process and explained why it would be so competitive. Besides Zephyr Field and current host Hoover Metropolitan Stadium, three other Southeast ballparks are in the running: Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville (Jacksonville), AutoZone Park (Memphis), and First Tennessee Park (Nashville). While Hoover Met has served as a fine home for the tournament—and it has been upgraded in recent years, following the departure of the Birmingham Barons (Class AA; Southern league)—SEC officials feel that the event has a chance to grow, as it is now routinely drawing in excess of 10,000 fans per game.
The Zephyrs are joining forces with the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation in their bid for the tournament. We noted in February that the state of Louisiana was prepared to provide backing for a bid that would include enhancements to Zephyr Field. While the ballpark does seat 11,000 fans, it seems likely that upgrades would need to be made before the next tournament to meet the SEC’s standards.
To spruce up their pitch for the tournament, the Zephyrs are calling on fans to come out in full force for their April 30 home game. Fans can currently go on Ticketmaster and purchase $5 admission for that contest by using the promo code SEC.
“The SEC Tournament would be of tremendous impact to Jefferson Parish, as well as all surrounding parishes and across the region,” said Zephyrs general manager Cookie Rojas. “To make it happen, we need the full support of the community and baseball fans, and showing the committee what enormous interest there is in this event would be a wonderful first impression.”
The Advocate reported today SEC officials are also expected to visit Jacksonville, Memphis, and Nashville.
Image by Parker Waters, courtesy New Orleans Zephyrs.