Nothing screams summer like traditional American baseball games. If you're looking for a unique experience for your events, why not add your local ballpark to the list of potential venues? In addition to hosting games during the baseball season, many stadiums open their facilities year-round for public and private events. No matter what kind of event you're hosting, a ballpark can offer functionality and creativity that will excite your guests. Carrie Campbell, Vice President of Sales & Service at Fenway Enterprises for the Boston Red Sox, says they regularly host weddings, engagement parties, retirement parties and bar/bat mitzvahs at Fenway Park, while corporate events, galas and concerts are popular events held at Minute Maid Park, home to the Houston Astros Baseball Club. Miami is also a big corporate event and employee incentive destination. According to Chelsea Hirschhorn, Associate Counsel & Director of Special Events at Marlins Park in Miami, FL "We host a lot of corporate events for companies looking to wow their employees with a once-in-a-lifetime experience." This season, the field is being used for multiple charity events that transform the field into an exciting new space. Among the event opportunities, these facilities offer multiple event spaces that can be suited for your needs and can hold anywhere from 5 to 37,000 guests. In addition to clubhouses and suites, outdoor decks, lobbies and meeting rooms offer unique alternatives for your event set up. "We even have the ability to host events directly on the warning track right next to the field!" states Campbell. "Each space offers something unique, whether it is a luxurious atmosphere or a spectacular view of the Boston skyline." Events on the plazas at Marlins Park are popular due to the art-deco flooring and tropical landscaping, while the retractable roof of the stadium allows guests to enjoy the field rain or shine. The Union Station Rooftop at Minute Maid Park also offers stunning views of downtown Houston and is the perfect setting for an outdoor event any time of the year. These facilities can be available for event rental year-round and busy seasons may vary depending on your location's climate. While summer is the busiest season at Fenway Park, the holiday season (October through March) is busiest for Minute Maid and Marlins Park, which are located in warmer climates. The baseball season typically begins in April and can run through October, depending on the success of the team, though available dates for private events offset the schedule for home games. Equipped with on-site catering services, the venues can also make it easy for you to plan dining options for your event. "We take great pride in our culinary offerings," says Campbell of their work with Aramark, "Our honored chefs have created five-star menu selections for all occasions, from traditional ballpark favorites to breakfast and brunch to plated entrees and desserts." They can also connect you with preferred suppliers to support your AV, entertainment, décor and staging needs or, in many cases, you can rent directly from the venue. Horschhorn notes that the Marlins typically welcome guests using LED designs on the main scoreboard and ribbon boards, creating a special entrance for guests. From meet and greets with players to using the batting cages to appearances by the team mascots, stadiums can offer unique experiential opportunities unavailable anywhere else, leaving your guests and clients with memorable experiences as they head home. "We provide access to something that most people do not get to experience," states Hirschhorn. "Interacting first-hand with professional sports is always something people find fascinating."
eNews July 2013