The Frisco RoughRiders (Class AA; Texas League) garnered the attention of the sports world when they announced they would be expanding their pool area into a lazy river. The Choctaw Lazy River opened in time for the end of the 2016 season, and has garnered our award for Best Ballpark Improvement (Over $1 million). This is the second year in a row that Frisco has received a Ballpark Digest award, winning last year for improvements that included the Bull Moose Saloon, new video board, new team store, and new video control room.
We caught up with general partner and chief executive office Chuck Greenberg back in April, while The Choctaw Lazy River was still under construction. He said the team had high expectations for the area, and expected it would be a success. After speaking with him recently, he said the area has met and exceeded those expectations.
“The Choctaw Lazy River was open for the last 46 games of our season and 44 of those 46 games were sold out,” Greenberg said. “The two games we didn’t sell out were still close to being at capacity. We’re happy with the outcome. The visual appeal is phenomenal.”
And how have fans reacted?
“They have loved it. We have lifeguards out there who also have fishing nets to catch balls. We had a few home run balls go out there and people were thrilled,” Greenberg said. “The whole area is utilized in a way that appeals to our fans. We’ve had groups across the spectrum from fraternities to kid’s birthday parties to corporate outings.”
With the area being such a success, Greenberg said the focus now is to work on ballpark programming to figure out how to utilize the space for events.
“We just hired a full-time ballpark events person to focus on the hospitality aspect of the team including the Choctaw Lazy River,” Greenberg said. “This off-season, it’s all about programming to see the best way to utilize the area for events and outings. And for the 2017 season, we’d also like to look into add-ons such as themed towels and sunglasses that we can offer to fans to enhance their experience.”
With two Ballpark Digest awards back-to-back, time will only tell what the next state-of-the-art improvements will be made at Dr Pepper Ballpark as the team continues to make it a must-see venue.
Image courtesy Frisco RoughRiders.
Previous 2016 Award Winners:
Best Ballpark Improvement (Under $1 Million): The Perch
Broadcaster of the Year: Sean Aronson, St. Paul Saints
Ballpark of the Year: Spirit Communications Park