Category Archives: baseball

Pittsburgh Pirates Announce Plans For Improvements to McKechnie Field and Pirate City

(Bradenton, FL) The Pittsburgh Pirates today announced plans for two capital improvement projects to enhance baseball operations and training facilities at McKechnie Field and Pirate City. 

At historic McKechnie Field, where a renovation completed in 2013 has contributed to record-setting attendance for Spring Training, the Pirates plan to replace the aging clubhouse building at the southeast corner of the property. The new, 22,500-square-foot building will include the Pirates/Bradenton Marauders locker room, strength training facility, training center, food service operations and baseball operations offices. 

At Pirate City, the Pirates’ training facility in east Bradenton, the Club plans a new performance center to be constructed adjacent to the existing dining facility. The 10,500-square-foot center will include weight training and fitness facilities to support year-round athletic performance and rehabilitation programs in Bradenton.

The Pirates will fully fund construction of the buildings, which were approved this morning by the Bradenton City Council.

“The Pirates are continuing to invest in Bradenton because of our long-standing relationship with the community and the vital, year-round training and rehabilitation assets that have been developed by our partnership with the City,” said Pirates President Frank Coonelly. “Our Major League and Minor League players deserve first-class facilities and the new home clubhouse at McKechnie Field and performance center at Pirate City will be among the best in the industry.”

Both projects are scheduled to be completed by early 2015 and are included in long-range plans for the facilities. The Pirates have hired local firms NDC Construction and Fawley Bryant Architects to design and build the projects.

Bradenton has hosted Pirates Spring Training every year since 1969. Only one team has trained at its current Spring Training facility longer.  First opened in 1923, McKechnie Field is the oldest Spring Training ballpark in use.  The addition of lights in 2008 and the expansion of fan-friendly amenities in 2013, have enhanced the ballpark’s status as one of the gems of the Grapefruit League. Ballpark Digest honored McKechnie Field as the “Best Ballpark Renovation” of 2013.

In 2014, the Pirates set new records for average attendance and single game attendance during the 2014 Grapefruit League season. The average attendance at McKechnie Field this spring was 7,587 per game, surpassing the prior high mark of 6,229, set in 2013. A new single-game attendance record was also established. The game between the Pirates and the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday, March 22 drew 8,566 fans.

In addition to Spring Training, McKechnie Field is home to the Bradenton Marauders, the Pirates’ Single-A affiliate in the Florida State League.  McKechnie will also host the 2014 Florida State League All-Star Game on June 14.

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2014 Tampa Bay Rays Spring Training Visitors Generated nearly $21 Million for Charlotte County’s Economy

(Tampa Bay, FL) Visitors attending Tampa Bay Rays spring training games in Port Charlotte generated an estimated economic impact of $20,978,500 for Charlotte County. This estimated figure includes direct and indirect spending and is based on out-of-county visitors. It does not include the spending of the Tampa Bay Rays organization, visiting teams or media staying in the destination.

This estimated figure is based on research the Charlotte Harbor Visitor & Convention Bureau commissioned Research Data Services, Inc., of Tampa, to conduct during the 2014 spring training season which ran from Feb. 28 to March 29.

Highlights of the research include:

·   Of the 78,624 people who attended the 2014 Tampa Bay Rays home spring training games, 39 percent were Charlotte County residents or seasonal residents;

·   Of the non-Charlotte County resident attendees, 68 percent came from other Florida counties, 22.7 percent from other states in the U.S. and 9.3 percent hailed from other countries;

·   The typical overnight visitor party had a median party size of 2 people and spent on average five nights in the area;

·   More than half the respondents attended regular season Tampa Bay Rays games at Tropicana Field in 2013;

·   In addition to spring training baseball, the top five activities out-of-town visitors enjoyed were:

Dining Out

Shopping

Beach/Walking on the Beach

Relaxing

Bars/Nightlife

Each year, the Charlotte Harbor Visitor & Convention Bureau conducts marketing, sales and promotional campaigns to increase awareness of and visitation to Charlotte County. In addition to generating economic contributions, the Charlotte Harbor Visitor & Convention Bureau is also focused on developing soft adventure or eco-tourism, a low-impact industry enabling the county to preserve the invaluable natural resources that contribute to its ecological health, distinguish the area and draw visitors.

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