Now that its opening is just weeks away, the Hartford Yard Goats (Class AA; Eastern League) are planning some aspects of the fan experience at Dunkin’ Donuts Park.
Dunkin’ Donuts Park was originally slated to open last year, but construction delays and cost overruns stalled the ballpark’s progress, forcing the team to spend the 2016 campaign on the road. Construction was halted last June after the city terminated its contract with the ballpark’s original developers–Centerplan Cos. and DoNo, LLC–and did not resume until October, when Whiting-Turner took over after being selected by Arch Insurance.
Steady progress on the ballpark’s completion has been made since then, and the Yard Goats recently moved their front office staff into the facility. The team is now turning its attention to some of the ballpark’s offerings that, according to assistant general manager Michael Abramson, will help shape the fan experience. More from The Hartford Business Journal:
Stadium novelties, like the giant, centerfield Dunkin’ Donuts coffee cup that will emit steam for each home run, each have a role in enhancing the park’s fun atmosphere, team officials say. The coffee cup is an extension of Dunkin’s stadium-branding, courtesy of the huge “Dunkin’ Donuts Park” sign at the main entryway.
“It’s part carnival, part ballpark,” Abramson said. “When you walk into the main gate and see the size of that sign, it tells you you’re not walking into a ballpark, you’re walking into a carnival midway.”
With names like “Dark Blues Diner,” “The Grazin’ Goat,” and “Huck’s Hot Corner,” the stadium’s food-beverage concessions will contribute to the loose, fun atmosphere Yard Goats games intend to evoke, Abramson said.
Centerfield also houses the “Travelers Fun Zone,” where kids play on “bounce-houses” and other playscapes while their guardians enjoy the game. Unlike the old play zone in New Britain, Hartford’s has a view of — and can be seen from — the ballfield, Abramson said.
The Yard Goats’ long-awaited debut at the facility is currently scheduled for April 13.