Champion Stadium

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Champion Stadium
Home Of The Braves.jpg
Former names Cracker Jack Stadium (1997-2006)
The Ballpark at Disney's Wide World of Sports (2007)
Location Walt Disney World Resort
700 S. Victory Way
Lake Buena Vista, FL 34747
Opened 1997
Owner Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
Operator ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
Surface Grass
Capacity 9,500
Field dimensions Left field - 335 ft / 102 m
Left Center - 385 ft / 117 m
Center Field - 400 ft / 122 m
Right Center - 385 ft / 117 m
Right field - 335 ft / 102 m
Tenants
Atlanta Braves (spring training)
Gulf Coast Braves (GCL)
Tampa Bay Rays (one three game series in 2007 and 2008)
Orlando Rays (SL) (2000-2003)
A-10 Tournament (2001)
USSSA Pride (NPF) (2011-present)

Champion Stadium is a 9,500 seat baseball stadium located at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in the Walt Disney World Resort.[1] The stadium was built in 1997. It is the spring training home of the Atlanta Braves[2] and is the home for the Rookie-league GCL Braves. The stadium has a capacity of 9,500 including seating in the berm area. It features four luxury boxes and two open-air party suites.

Name[edit]

Champion Stadium was originally known as Cracker Jack Stadium. When it was first built, Frito-Lay purchased the naming rights to the venue for ten years and put its Cracker Jack brand on the stadium. Frito-Lay chose not to renew its naming rights deal. During most of 2007, it was referred to as The Ballpark at Disney's Wide World of Sports. On November 1 of that year, HanesBrands Inc. purchased the naming rights for ten years and put its Champion brand on the stadium.

Orlando Rays[edit]

In 2000, after years of poor attendance at Tinker Field, the Orlando Rays moved to the Ballpark. However, the Rays, the Class AA Southern League affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, continued to draw barely 1,000 fans a game in their new stadium. Things improved somewhat over the next three seasons; the Rays drew 150,051 fans in 2003, more than twice what they had seen just a few years earlier at Tinker Field, but still last in the league. Following the 2003 season, the Rays moved (breaking a 10-year lease at Disney after just four years)[3] and became the Montgomery Biscuits.

Other uses[edit]

The Atlanta Braves Spring Training game against the New York Mets in 2008

Champion Stadium was used during first-round games for the 2006 World Baseball Classic. It hosted Pool D, and featured teams with professional players from Venezuela, Australia, Dominican Republic and Italy. All games were sell-outs.

The stadium hosted its first regular season MLB games from May 15–17, 2007 season when the Texas Rangers played the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in a three-game series. The three games drew a total of 26,917 fans, and attendance went up each game. In April 2008, the Rays moved another series, this time against the Toronto Blue Jays, to Orlando.[4] The Rays won all three games both years they visited Champion Stadium.

The venue hosted the 2001 Atlantic 10 Conference Baseball Tournament, won by Temple.[5] Champion Stadium is used for numerous high-school baseball tournaments every year, and has also hosted the Disney Channel Games.

As part of the ESPN rebranding of the complex as a whole, an HD video panel was placed on the right side of the scoreboard wall in center field.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Powers, Scott (2008-06-17). "Fun and games serious business at Disney's Wide World of Sports". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  2. ^ "Check out ticket prices, directions and more for all 16 Grapefruit League teams". Orlando Sentinel. 2009-02-17. Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Topkin, Marc (2007-11-07). "MLB, likely foe open to return to Orlando". St. Petersburg Times (TampaBay.com). Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  5. ^ "Atlantic 10 Conference Baseball Record Book". CSTV. Atlantic 10 Conference. p. 14. Archived from the original on 2012-02-16. Retrieved 16 February 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 28°20′13.5″N 81°33′21.6″W / 28.337083°N 81.556000°W / 28.337083; -81.556000