AutoZone Park

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AutoZone Park
AutoZone Park logo.png
AutoZone Park, Memphis.jpg
A Redbirds game at AutoZone Park
Location200 Union Avenue
Memphis, Tennessee
United States
Coordinates35°8′35″N 90°2′57″W / 35.14306°N 90.04917°W / 35.14306; -90.04917Coordinates: 35°8′35″N 90°2′57″W / 35.14306°N 90.04917°W / 35.14306; -90.04917
Public transitHeritage streetcar Main Street Line
at Union Avenue
OwnerCity of Memphis
OperatorMemphis Redbirds, LLC[1]
Capacity10,000 (2015–present)[2]
14,384 (2008–2014)[3]
14,320 (2000–2007)
Record attendance18,620 (August 31, 2008; Oklahoma RedHawks vs. Memphis Redbirds)[4]
Field sizeLeft Field: 319 ft (97 m)
Left-Center Field: 360 ft (110 m)
Center Field: 400 ft (122 m)
Right-Center Field: 373 ft (114 m)
Right Field: 322 ft (98 m)[3]
SurfaceTifton 419 Bermuda grass[1]
Construction
Broke groundJanuary 15, 1998[5]
OpenedApril 1, 2000[9]
Construction cost$80.5 million[3]
($120 million in 2019 dollars[6])
ArchitectLooney Ricks Kiss
HOK Sport
Structural engineerStanley D. Lindsey & Associates[7]
Services engineerGriffith C. Burr Inc.[8]
General contractorBeers-Inman[9]
Tenants
Memphis Redbirds (PCL) 2000–present
Memphis 901 FC (USLC) 2019–present

AutoZone Park is a Minor League Baseball stadium located in downtown Memphis, Tennessee, and is home to the Memphis Redbirds of the Pacific Coast League (PCL) and Memphis 901 FC of the USL Championship. The Redbirds are the Triple-A affiliate of Major League Baseball's (MLB) St. Louis Cardinals. In 2009, the stadium was named Minor League Ballpark of the Year by Baseball America.[10]

History[edit]

Designed by Looney Ricks Kiss Architects of Memphis with Kansas City-based HOK Sport, AutoZone Park cost $80.5 million to build. This is by far the most money ever spent on a structure dedicated to a minor league baseball team.[11] AutoZone Park was built to "MLB standards", but with the absence of outfield seats or food vendors far down the foul lines, making it, for comparison purposes, a major league stadium with only the 'good' seats". It opened in 2000, replacing Tim McCarver Stadium. The stadium also hosts some games for the University of Memphis baseball team, and most notably, the annual game with Ole Miss.

The Redbirds had been unique in baseball until recently, in that they were owned by a non-profit community foundation, the Memphis Redbirds Foundation; the Green Bay Packers of the NFL have a similar ownership structure. However, the Foundation defaulted on its bond payment in 2010. On November 15, 2013, the Foundation announced that the default would be remedied by the St. Louis Cardinals paying off the bonds at a discount and acquiring the Redbirds, while the city of Memphis resumes ownership of the stadium.[12]

The park's main entrance

The stadium hosted the 2003 Triple-A All-Star Game in which the International League All-Stars defeated the Pacific Coast League All-Stars, 13–9.[13]

In October 2004 and 2005 AutoZone Park was home to the Greater Mid-South Jaycees Field of Screams Haunted House.

In October 2005, AutoZone Park became the first venue outside of New Orleans to host the Voodoo Music Experience. One day of this music festival was moved to Memphis due to Hurricane Katrina.[14]

On December 4, 2006, at the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings, MLB announced that an exhibition game to be called the Civil Rights Game would be held at AutoZone Park, with the first game on March 31, 2007. The game featured the Cardinals and the Cleveland Indians, with the Cardinals winning 5-1.[15] The second game was played on March 29, 2008, between the Chicago White Sox and the New York Mets. The Mets defeated the White Sox 3-2.[16]

On August 31, 2008, the ballpark's largest crowd to date witnessed the Redbirds lose to the Oklahoma RedHawks, 10-7 in front of 18,620 fans.[17]

AutoZone Park was the site of the 2016 Triple-A National Championship Game in which the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, champions of the International League, defeated the PCL-champion El Paso Chihuahuas 3–1 before a crowd of 9,471 people on September 20.[18] The stadium once again hosted the championship game on September 17, 2019, in which the PCL's Sacramento River Cats defeated the Columbus Clippers 4-0 with 9,123 on hand.[19]

Size[edit]

AutoZone Park has a seating capacity of 10,000,[3] and has been aptly described as "one-third" of a major league baseball park.

For its construction 17,586 cubic yards (13,445 m3) of concrete were used, or enough to cover 11 acres (4.5 ha). There are 125,738 square feet (11,681.4 m2) of brick walls surrounding it, utilizing 380,000 specially manufactured bricks. It holds 3,400 short tons (3,100 metric tons) of steel and 227 miles (365 km) of electrical wiring. To build the playing field, 350 short tons (320 metric tons) of clay, and 5,000 short tons (4,500 metric tons) of sand were needed. The outfield contains 100,000 square feet (9,300 m2) of sod. The infield is capable of draining 1 inch (25 mm) of rain per hour. while remaining playable, which means that the field only rarely has to be covered during games.

AutoZone Park also has one of the largest video screens in minor league baseball. It is located 127 feet (39 m) above the play field, giving a view of the board to many areas of downtown Memphis.[11] On January 10, 2012 the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported that the Redbirds will install a 60 by 60 feet (18 by 18 m) full HD video display, replacing the old video screen.[20] The new video board will be the largest in "Minor League Baseball" .[21]

A panoramic view of the field and stands inside AutoZone Park

Amenities[edit]

AutoZone Park contains several special seating sections designed to give patrons a variety of viewing options.

  • The Family Leisure Picnic Pavilion is located on the east of the park, and contains several picnic tables and space for vending food. It is commonly used for special event hosting, and can seat up to 500 people.[22]
  • The Bluffs, located in each corner of the park has grass covered lawn seating, and tickets to this area are sold cheaply, but in limited numbers. It is a favorite spot for many fans because of the picnic atmosphere. Chairs are not allowed on the Bluff.[23]
  • The upper club levels contain 700 seats in 48 suites, and are generally reserved to groups or local companies. Many larger Memphis companies retain one suite for the entire season, for all games.[23]
  • The normal club seating have access to an air conditioned concourse, along with several restaurants and bars located on the concourse itself.[23]
  • In total, the ballpark has 1,600 club seats.[24]
  • There are two open-air party decks, each of which seats up to 175 people, and three pre-game balconies.[23][25]

Attendance records[edit]

AutoZone Park's single-game attendance record was set on August 31, 2008, for a game between the Redbirds and the Oklahoma RedHawks in front of a sellout crowd of 18,620 people.[4] The park's season attendance record of 887,976 and average attendance record of 12,507 were both set in 2001. Attendance records through the completion of the 2019 season are as follows.[26]

Single-game attendance[edit]

Bold indicates the winner of each game.

Single-game attendance records
Rank Attendance Date Game result Ref.
1 18,620 August 31, 2008 Oklahoma RedHawks – 2, Memphis Redbirds – 4 [4]
2 18,302 July 4, 2006 Nashville Sounds – 4, Memphis Redbirds – 1 [4]
3 17,508 August 26, 2000 Nashville Sounds – 11, Memphis Redbirds – 9 [4]
4 17,213 July 4, 2007 Albuquerque Isotopes – 12, Memphis Redbirds – 7 [4]
5 17,107 April 20, 2002 New Orleans Zephyrs – 5, Memphis Redbirds – 3 [4]
6 17,104 August 10, 2002 Nashville Sounds – 8, Memphis Redbirds – 3 [4]
7 17,048 August 17, 2013 Omaha Storm Chasers – 5, Memphis Redbirds – 4 [4]
8 16,965 August 26, 2006 Nashville Sounds – 1, Memphis Redbirds – 2 (10 innings) [4]
9 16,920 July 4, 2005 Omaha Royals – 1, Memphis Redbirds – 6 (7 innings) [4]
10 16,703 July 4, 2004 Nashville Sounds – 3, Memphis Redbirds – 6 [4]

Season attendance[edit]

Season attendance records
Rank Year Total attendance Openings Average attendance Ref.
Total PCL rank Openings PCL rank Average PCL rank
1 2001 887,976 71 12,507 [26]
2 2000 859,823 72 11,942 [26]
3 2002 794,550 72 11,035 [26]
4 2003 749,446 72 10,409 [26]
5 2004 730,565 70 10,436 [26]
6 2005 696,083 3rd 69 4th (tie) 10,088 2nd [27]
7 2006 692,426 2nd 71 2nd (tie) 9,752 2nd [28]
8 2007 633,129 3rd 72 1st (tie) 8,793 3rd [29]
9 2008 569,172 4th 69 4th (tie) 8,249 4th [30]
10 2013 498,362 5th 69 4th (tie) 7,223 5th [31]
11 2012 493,706 6th 71 2nd (tie) 6,954 6th [32]
12 2011 493,528 6th 70 3rd (tie) 7,050 5th [33]
13 2009 474,764 7th 68 5th (tie) 6,982 6th [34]
14 2010 462,041 7th 71 2nd (tie) 6,508 7th [35]
15 2014 381,429 10th 67 5th 5,693 9th [36]
16 2017 350,007 13th 69 3rd (tie) 5,073 13th [37]
17 2018 340,476 13th 68 3rd 5,007 13th [38]
18 2019 327,753 15th 66 5th (tie) 4,966 13th [39]
19 2016 324,581 15th 69 4th 4,704 15th [40]
20 2015 278,579 16th 69 4th (tie) 4,037 16th [41]
Totals 11,038,396 1,395 7,913

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "2016 Memphis Redbirds Media Guide" (PDF). Memphis Redbirds. 2016. pp. 214–16. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 18, 2016. Retrieved April 18, 2016.
  2. ^ McMillin, Zack (January 6, 2015). "AutoZone Park Transformation Under Way as Cardinals Add $2 Million to City's $4.5 Million". The Commercial Appeal. Memphis. Archived from the original on April 6, 2015. Retrieved April 2, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d "Pacific Coast League Ballparks". Ballparks.com. Retrieved September 22, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Top 10 Crowds in AutoZone Park History" (PDF). 2019 Memphis Redbirds Media Guide. Minor League Baseball. 2019. p. 106. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  5. ^ Stukenborg, Phil (January 16, 1999). "Excavation Begins for New Ballpark". The Commercial Appeal. Memphis. Retrieved September 21, 2011.
  6. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  7. ^ "Project: AutoZone Park Baseball Stadium". Geopier. Archived from the original on May 18, 2006. Retrieved September 22, 2011.
  8. ^ "Projects". OGCB, Inc. Retrieved September 22, 2011.
  9. ^ a b Knight, Graham. "AutoZone Park". Baseball Pilgrimages. Retrieved September 22, 2011.
  10. ^ Leventhal, Josh (April 17, 2009). "Top 10 Ballparks". Baseball America. Retrieved March 28, 2014.
  11. ^ a b "AutoZone Park Facts". Minor League Baseball. January 4, 2006. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  12. ^ "St. Louis Cardinals to Acquire Memphis Redbirds" (Press release). Major League Baseball Advanced Media. November 15, 2013. Retrieved February 19, 2014.
  13. ^ "Triple-A All-Star Game Results (2003–2007)". Triple-A Baseball. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  14. ^ Jones, Yolanda (October 31, 2005). "It's All Voodoo: Good Times Roll on in Festival's Home Away from Home". The Commercial Appeal. Memphis. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
  15. ^ Cacciola, Scott (April 1, 2007). "Baseball Honors Leaders: Emotional Tribute Also Recalls Dr. King". The Commercial Appeal. Memphis. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
  16. ^ Morgan, Marlon W. (March 30, 2008). "Reluctant GMs Reflect on Careers at Civil Rights Game". The Commercial Appeal. Memphis. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
  17. ^ Morgan, Marlon W. (September 1, 2008). "Redbirds Ending With a Bang at the Gate". The Commercial Appeal. Memphis. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
  18. ^ "El Paso vs. Scranton/WB - September 20, 2016". MiLB.com. September 20, 2016. Retrieved September 20, 2016.
  19. ^ "Clippers vs. River Cats Box Score - September 17, 2019". MiLB.com. September 17, 2019. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
  20. ^ Morgan, Marion (January 10, 2012). "Giant Video Screen to Be Memphis Redbirds New Star". The Commercial Appeal. Memphis. Retrieved January 10, 2012.
  21. ^ "Video Board to Be Replaced at AutoZone Park". Minor League Baseball. January 12, 2012. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
  22. ^ "Picnic Pavilions". Minor League Baseball. January 4, 2006. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  23. ^ a b c d "AutoZone Park". Minor League Baseball. November 30, 2005. Retrieved February 19, 2014.
  24. ^ "AutoZone Park / Memphis Redbirds". Ballpark Digest. February 21, 2009. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  25. ^ "Party Decks". Minor League Baseball. January 4, 2006. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  26. ^ a b c d e f "Yearly Attendance Totals" (PDF). 2019 Memphis Redbirds Media Guide. Minor League Baseball. 2019. p. 61. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  27. ^ "2005 Pacific Coast League Attendance". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  28. ^ "2006 Pacific Coast League Attendance". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  29. ^ "2007 Pacific Coast League Attendance". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  30. ^ "2008 Pacific Coast League Attendance". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  31. ^ "2013 Pacific Coast League Attendance". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  32. ^ "2012 Pacific Coast League Attendance". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  33. ^ "2011 Pacific Coast League Attendance". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  34. ^ "2009 Pacific Coast League Attendance". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  35. ^ "2010 Pacific Coast League Attendance". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  36. ^ "2014 Pacific Coast League Attendance". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  37. ^ "2017 Pacific Coast League Attendance". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  38. ^ "2018 Pacific Coast League Attendance". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  39. ^ "2019 Pacific Coast League Attendance". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  40. ^ "2016 Pacific Coast League Attendance". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  41. ^ "2015 Pacific Coast League Attendance". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved February 6, 2020.

External links[edit]

Events and tenants
Preceded by
Tim McCarver Stadium
Home of the
Memphis Redbirds

2000 – present
Succeeded by
Current
Preceded by
first game
Host of the
Civil Rights Game

2007 – 2008
Succeeded by
Great American Ball Park