Changes could be in the offing for Marlins Park, as Miami Marlins president of business operations Chip Bowers is looking to improve the fan experience.
Bowers was hired away from the NBA’s Golden State Warriors earlier this year, marking a major addition on the business side of the equation for a new ownership group that includes team CEO Derek Jeter. Under Jeter and the new ownership, the Marlins are going through a major rebuilding phase and currently struggling on the field (they enter Thursday at 20-35, 12 1/2 games behind the first place Washington Nationals in the National League East).
Attendance has also been an issue for the Marlins over the years, and that has continued into 2018. In Bowers’ role, he is seeking to reverse that trend through a strategy that could include future upgrades to Marlins Park. It will take time for any changes to be implemented, but Bowers and other Marlins officials are exploring existing ballparks for ideas on how to enhance the fan experience in Miami. More from The Miami Herald:
“I think the ballpark is a great ballpark,” Bowers said of Marlins Park. “But we haven’t really made any real capital investments in that ballpark in the last seven years.”
Bowers noted that Petco Park, which opened 14 years ago, is designed in a way to feel southern California, with local food and beverage concessionaires that are familiar to those living in the area. He also pointed out the landscaping and architecture that give Petco a San Diego kind of vibe.
He would like to do the same at Marlins Park.
“I think that’s where probably we aren’t doing enough at Marlins Park,” Bowers said. “How do we create a similar experience that we see in and around the Miami community? Make that part of the Marlins Park experience, so it’s a destination like all the other great places in Miami.”
In our recent MLB Best of the Ballparks rankings, Marlins Park placed 24th out of 30 facilities. It was noted that Marlins Park “exudes a cool Miami vibe,” but that the Marlins would be wise to place a greater emphasis on improving the fan experience at the ballpark. “We’d love to see the crowds descend on Marlins Park, but it will take more than a barely competitive team to bring them out; the team really needs to pay more attention to the fan experience.” It remains to be seen what changes could take place, but the ongoing work of Bowers and the team’s front office at least provides an indication that improvements to the Marlins Park fan experience are on the organization’s radar.