Monday, June 11, 2007

Good Practice: Fifth Third Field - Dayton, OH

DFWB stopped by Fifth Third Field in Dayton on Sunday to catch an afternoon game against the West Michigan Whitecaps.

Fifth Third Field opened in 2000 in downtown Dayton and has sold out every game since. The ballpark features a retro design, with the playing field below street level and a variety of seating options.

Fifth Third Field was built on top of a former parking lot in an industrial area of Dayton. Unlike Harrison Square, the Dayton ballpark project pretty much consists of just the baseball facility. Also, the orientation of Fifth Third Field does not lend itself to a skyline view, which is another feature that Fort Wayne will incorporate into the Harrison Square design.

Fifth Third Field has a number of different entrances into the ballpark and fans can even watch the entire game if they wanted to from the street. The exterior fences allow fans to do so, yet there were only a few people watching from the street and the seats in the ballpark were packed.

One of the amazing things about Fifth Third Field is that a live broadcast of the on-field action is shown on the video board while the game is being played.

This is amazing when considering that Fifth Third Field is a facility for single A baseball and that not even Major League ballparks would show a live videocast of the game action (only replays). Another impressive aspect of the ballpark is use of other electronic signage such as electronic advertisement boards on the outfield walls (not much of the outfield walls are covered in ads, which is good) and also signs flanking the baselines on the bottom edge of the upper deck showing game stats and advertisements.

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The concourse at Fifth Third is well designed and rightly makes use of classic, retro style signage, while also incorporating team colors and themes. The best feature of the concourse is that it is a 360 degree concourse, meaning that a person can walk around the entire field and still see the action from every vantage point.

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Seating (and standing) options are great at Fifth Third. There are three different berm seating areas, spots to lean and have a place to rest a drink, party areas, and of course, fixed seating that is astoundingly close to the action.

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The entire presentation at Fifth Third is first class. There is a sense of cohesion between all of the components of the ballpark and the Dragons theme is carried throughout and executed cleanly and professionally.

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Whether sitting on the lawn, in the upper deck, on a party deck, or on a picnic table, every view of the game is excellent at Fifth Third. The quantity and distinction of choices in the viewing experience creates a space that has something for everyone and allows fans to have options in how they take in a game.

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Fifth Third Field is an excellent ballpark and is rightly known as the best ballpark in the Midwest League. However, we are confident that Harrison Square will be even better than what is in Dayton.

Here's why:

  • A skyline view of downtown Fort Wayne
  • Better location that is closer to the core
  • Open public space and also use of the facility on non-game days
  • The ability to host large concerts and outdoor events
  • Residential condominiums that will have views into the ballpark
  • Retail on-site that will also have views into the ballpark
  • A new hotel and parking garage on-site
  • Ballpark seating that is restrained to the lower deck, with only suites in the upper deck

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Joe said...

VERY cool stadium. I think it would be cool to incorporate a couple smaller(showing only score, inning, Ball, Strikes, and Outs) digital scoreboards at other locations in the stadium, if the main scoreboard in the outfield will be manually operated. It would be cool to incorporate a video board into the outfield fence like they did in Dayton. And for the love of God, please not a gazillion banner ads on the outfield fence like at Memorial Stadium! There are other places ads can be placed, but for the most part lets keep the outfield wall green! I think that the new ballpark will appeal to the younger crowd (high schoolers, College students, young professionals) to a level that Memeorial stadium could never dream of! And THAT's where you will see the ticket sales jump.

Scott said...

This is truly a wonderful stadium. I would also like to see if we have video boards in the concourse for ads, that we have some that also show live feed of the game so you don't have to miss the game while standing in line. We could learn a lot from what Dayton did so we can make our ballpark first class as well. This is definetely something that could not be done at Memorial Stadium.