The moniker of the longtime spring home of the Detroit Tigers is receiving a slight naming-rights tweak for Spring Training 2017, with the introduction of Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium yesterday.
The grocery store chain, headquartered in Lakeland, will pay $3 million over 15 years for the naming rights. It will run through 2036.
“Lakeland is where our roots are, and we are proud of our long-standing relationship with the City of Lakeland and Tigertown,” said Brian West Publix Lakeland media and community relations manager. “We are honored to have an opportunity to help keep America’s pastime alive and well in this great city.”
The naming-rights deal coincides with a renovation of the facility, set to debut this coming spring. The public areas of Joker Marchant Stadium will be expanded with a 360-degree concourse, the installation of new seating and new concessions, and expanded public areas in back of the grandstand. Those dreadful bleachers down the third-base line will be done, replaced by modern seating angled toward the infield. Right now there’s minimal shading at the ballpark, and the renovations will yield a situation where half the seating is shaded.
Right now the concessions areas in back of the grandstand are difficult to maneuver, but the renovations will expand that area. Concessions and restrooms will be expanded as well.
“The Detroit Tigers thank Publix, the City of Lakeland, Polk County and the State of Florida for sharing our vision and commitment to provide a first-class entertainment experience and a point of destination for Tigers and all baseball fans to enjoy,” said Duane McLean, Tigers’ Executive Vice President of Business Operations. “The history both the Tigers and Publix have in Lakeland is historic and unique. Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium will symbolize how deeply rooted and invested both the Tigers and Publix are within the Lakeland community for many years to come.”
Named in honor of the late Joker Marchant, a former Lakeland Parks and Recreation Director, Joker Marchant Stadium was used by the Detroit Tigers for Spring Training for the first time in 1966. The Tigers have been training in Lakeland for 80 years, first playing their games at Henley Field and then at Joker Marchant Stadium.