Dunedin Stadium (Florida)

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Dunedin Stadium
Knology Park.jpg
Former namesDunedin Stadium at Grant Field
Knology Park (2004–2008)
Florida Auto Exchange Stadium (2010–2017)
Location373 Douglas Avenue #A
Dunedin, FL 34698
Coordinates28°0′13″N 82°47′11″W / 28.00361°N 82.78639°W / 28.00361; -82.78639Coordinates: 28°0′13″N 82°47′11″W / 28.00361°N 82.78639°W / 28.00361; -82.78639
OwnerCity of Dunedin Parks & Recreation Department
OperatorCity of Dunedin Parks & Recreation Department
Capacity5,509 (2005–present)
6,106 (1999–2004)
6,218 (1990–1998)
3,417 (1977–1989)
Field sizeLeft Field – 333 ft
Left-Center – 380 ft
Center Field – 400 ft
Right-Center – 363 ft
Right Field – 336 ft
SurfaceGrass
Construction
Broke groundSeptember 1, 1989[1]
OpenedMarch 1, 1990
Construction cost$2.4 million
($4.5 million in 2017 dollars[2])
ArchitectJohnston Dana Associates
General contractorCase Contracting Company[3]
Tenants
Toronto Blue Jays (Spring training) (1990–present)
Dunedin Blue Jays (FSL) (1990–present)
Dunedin High School baseball

Dunedin Stadium (originally Dunedin Stadium at Grant Field) is a baseball field located in Dunedin, Florida. The stadium was built in 1990 and holds 5,509 people. It is the spring training home of the Toronto Blue Jays, as well as home to the Dunedin Blue Jays of the Class A Florida State League and the Dunedin High School Falcons baseball team. The stadium has also been known as Knology Park (2004–2008) and Florida Auto Exchange Stadium (2010–2017).

History[edit]

From 1977 to 1989, the Blue Jays played at Grant Field, which had a seating capacity of 3,417. Grant Field opened in 1930 and was named after the mayor of Dunedin Albert J. Grant, who had donated the land. The first Toronto Blue Jays game ever was played there on March 11, 1977 when the Blue Jays beat the New York Mets 3–1.

In 1990, at a cost of approximately $2.4 million, the City of Dunedin built a new stadium called Dunedin Stadium at the same location as Grant Field. It had a capacity of 6,106. The actual playing field and team clubhouses did not change.

In the fall of 2000, the Toronto Blue Jays signed an agreement to remain in Dunedin for an additional 15 years pending a $12-million renovation. The state of Florida paid $6 million, Pinellas County $3 million, and the Jays and Dunedin paid the remainder for the renovations. The agreement took effect in March 2002. Part of the renovations have included a new two-story building that includes a clubhouse, training room, weight room, and office space that was built next to the stadium. The most recent renovations at Dunedin Stadium include remodeled restrooms and replacement of the grandstand seats.

In February 1995, during the Major League Baseball strike, the Blue Jays considered holding regular season games at Dunedin Stadium if the regular season began with replacement players. Ontario law forbade the Blue Jays from using replacement players in Toronto. American League officials inspected the ballpark on February 21, 1995 in response to the club's request to host games in Dunedin.[4] The strike ended in March 1995 and no regular season games were played at the park.

Dunedin Stadium was once ranked by Sports Illustrated as one of the top five facilities to watch a Major League Baseball Spring training game[citation needed]. Dunedin has been the only spring home for the Toronto Blue Jays since their inception in 1977.

The current park capacity is 5,509 individual seats and features include a press box level with air-conditioned skyboxes, three picnic areas, two air-conditioned rooms, a scoreboard with electronic message display, regulation-sized Major League playing field and lighting, two half-fields (one natural grass and one artificial turf), batting tunnels, and full concession capabilities. In addition, the administrative offices feature an executive boardroom, dining room and kitchen, classroom, clubhouse and workout and training facilities.

The Blue Jays lease of the facility ran through 2017, however they held the option to extend it by an additional five years twice. After investigating possible alternative sites to host their spring training facility,[5] the team negotiated a $81 million renovation to the stadium ($33.3 million) and Englebert Complex ($47.8 million) in 2014 in which they would contribute $20 million to (plus any cost overruns) with the rest coming from the state ($13.7 million), county ($41.7 million) and city ($5.6 million) governments.[6][7][8] The stadium capacity would be expanded from 5,500 to 8,500, with 6,500 fixed seats.[9] The lease agreement for the stadium lasts for 25 years, with the option to renew for a further 2 years five times.[6][10] The City Commission approved the deal in November 2017.[11] The club retains all revenue from sales at concessions and parking at the stadium, while they share revenue from naming rights with the city.[6] The county agreed to approve a funding request for the project in April 2018, and initial construction is planned to begin after the end of 2018.[12]

Naming rights[edit]

Beginning in 2004 the stadium was known as Knology Park as part of a naming agreement with Knology, a southeastern United States communications and entertainment company. This agreement expired on September 30, 2008.[13]

On November 7, 2010, the City of Dunedin announced that it had reached a 7-year, $181,000 agreement with the Florida Auto Exchange, a Dunedin car sales center, for the naming rights of Dunedin Stadium. The facility was renamed "Florida Auto Exchange Stadium" until October 1, 2017 when the agreement expired.[14][15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Groundbreaking Set for Stadium". St. Petersburg Times. August 26, 1989. Retrieved March 3, 2012.
  2. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  3. ^ "Dunedin Stadium at Grant Field" (PDF). Case Contracting Company. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  4. ^ Walker, Ben (February 21, 1995). "Dunedin Home to Majors?". Ocala Star-Banner. p. 1C. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  5. ^ Griffin, Richard (2014-01-25). "Blue Jays likely to keep Dunedin as spring training home". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2014-08-04.
  6. ^ a b c Davidi, Shi (2017-11-06). "Details emerge from Blue Jays' new spring training agreement in Dunedin". Sportsnet. Retrieved 2017-11-06.
  7. ^ "Clock is ticking for Dunedin to sign deal with Toronto Blue Jays". 2017-09-27. Retrieved 2017-09-29.
  8. ^ Davidi, Shi (2017-02-21). "Plans for spring facility, Rogers Centre renovations in progress". Sportsnet. Retrieved 2017-02-25.
  9. ^ "AGREEMENT FOR THE CONSTRUCTION AND RENOVATION OF THE DUNEDIN SPRING TRAINING FACILITIES". City of Dunedin. 2017-11-02. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
  10. ^ "CITY OF DUNEDIN AND TORONTO BLUE JAYS LICENSE AGREEMENT". City of Dunedin. 2017-11-02. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
  11. ^ "Blue Jays New License Agreement". City of Dunedin. 2017-11-03. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
  12. ^ McManus, Tracey (2018-04-24). "Pinellas County commits $41.7 million to Blue Jays Stadium". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 2018-04-25.
  13. ^ "Knology Park Reverts to Old Name, Dunedin Stadium". St. Petersburg Times. November 4, 2008. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  14. ^ Harwell, Drew (November 6, 2010). "It's no 1-800-ASK-GARY". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  15. ^ Naming rights agreement between the City of Dunedin and Florida Auto Exchange

External links[edit]