The nostalgic and energetic atmosphere of ballparks can provide a memorable backdrop for meetings and events. Attendees can often enjoy a view of the field and neighboring city highlights from the conference room or suite, and later watch the game as built-in after-hours entertainment.
Here are five ballparks with distinctive amenities to consider for your next group outing.
First Energy Stadium
As the oldest stadium in the Eastern League, FirstEnergy Stadium provides a classic 1950s American ballpark setting with first-rate facilities and entertainment.
“A lot of people like coming because it’s a mix of classic and modern,” said Anthony Pignetti, chief director of business development.
Located between the bullpen and the dugout, the Dugout Suite opened in 2016 as the ballpark’s prime seating venue, placing guests just feet away from first base. This exclusive 56-seat section includes personal wait staff service; optional add-ons include an open bar, an all-you-can-eat barbecue buffet and a cocktail party package. The adjacent Club Box offers the same wait staff service and add-on options and seats up to 36 guests.
The 67 Club picnic area gives attendees a front-row view of the game from the third-base line. This section’s 28 picnic tables reflect FirstEnergy Stadium’s longstanding affiliation with the Philadelphia Phillies, with each table named after a Philly baseball legend. Guests can eat their fill from a buffet that includes traditional American fare like barbecue ribs and chicken, macaroni and cheese, hot dogs and hamburgers.
Meeting groups sometimes rent out the team store and use the built-in TVs to display PowerPoint presentations. Others make use of the expansive covered picnic areas surrounding the field. It is also possible to rent the field itself for kickball games, trade shows and more.
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Home of the Fort Wayne TinCaps, Parkview Field offers meeting groups a wide range of venue options. The 5,000-square-foot Suite Level Lounge is an excellent event space for corporate meetings and receptions; it features an upscale, full-service bar as well as a scenic surrounding view.
“You not only see the gorgeous baseball stadium, you get a great view of the Fort Wayne skyline,” said special event manager Holly Raney.
With an expansive prefunction space connecting to the parking garage, the Lincoln Financial Event Center provides 5,000 square feet of flexible meeting space that can be divided into four smaller areas. The 400 Club has both indoor and outdoor seating, and can accommodate up to 220 guests. For a more intimate setting, the Conference Room comes with free Wi-Fi, a plasma screen TV and seating for 25.
Groups can take a 20-minute tour of Parkview Field, walking through the locker rooms and adjacent tunnels to the field while a guide discusses the history of the ballpark and team.
For a fun after-hours activity, attendees can test their pitching speed with a radar gun or practice their swing in the batting cage. The park also contains a playground and large, open concourse area that can be used for team-building activities such as scavenger hunts, minute-to-win-it contests and rock climbing.
“Some groups come to us with great creativity, and others use what we already have,” said Raney. “Last year, a group did a human Hungry Hippos game.”
Though spring and summer are peak season for visitors, the winter months can offer a special experience as well. Raney described how relaxing it is to sit in the Suite Level Lounge with a serene blanket of snow covering the field outside.