Joker Marchant Stadium
|Location||2301 Lakeland Hills Boulevard
Lakeland, Florida 33805
|Owner||City of Lakeland|
|Field size||Left - 340ft.
Center - 420ft.
Right - 340ft.
|Broke ground||September 1965|
|Opened||March 12, 1966|
($2.66 million in 2016 dollars)
|Architect||Lakeland Engineering Associates|
|General contractor||Frank C. Decker Construction Co.|
|Lakeland Flying Tigers (FSL) (1967–2001, 2003–2015, 2017-present)
Detroit Tigers (MLB) (spring training) (1966–present)
GCL Tigers (GCL)
Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium is a baseball field located in Lakeland, Florida. The stadium, opened in 1966, was renovated in 2003, holds 8,500 people, and was named after local resident and former Lakeland Parks and Recreation Director Marcus "Joker" Marchant. It is the spring training home of the Detroit Tigers, as well as the regular season home for the minor league affiliates Lakeland Flying Tigers and Gulf Coast Tigers. On March 15, 2011, the largest crowd in the stadium's history (10,307 people) watched a spring training game between the Detroit Tigers and the Boston Red Sox.
The stadium's capacity was originally 4,900 in 1966 when it opened. In 1988, a bleacher section was added down the left field line, increasing seating capacity to 7,027. In 2003, Joker Marchant Stadium was renovated. The State of Florida's $4.5 million grant was the biggest financing chuck, while the Polk County Tourist Development Council chipped in $2 million. The remainder of the renovation's cost was paid for by the Tigers and City of Lakeland, increasing capacity to its present figure of 8,500.
In October 2014 the Lakeland City Commission announced that as part of a new agreement with the Detroit Tigers a $37 million renovation and upgrade of the 50-year-old stadium will commence starting in April 2016 following the conclusion of the Major League Baseball Spring Training. Funding will be provided in part by the Detroit Tigers, the City of Lakeland and Polk County. Two construction firms Barton Malow of Southfield, Michigan and Rodda Construction of Lakeland were chosen by the City Commission to oversee the project. The Detroit Tigers High Class 'A' Minor League club the Lakeland Flying Tigers part of the Florida State League played for the duration of their season at Henley Field which is located 1½ miles from Joker Marchant Stadium.
The stadium was renamed Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium on the first day of MLB's 2017 Spring Training. The contract for the rights is 20 years and expires in 2036.
- Knight, Graham (May 29, 2010). "Joker Marchant Stadium". Baseball Pilgrimages. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
- Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
- Zebold, Tom (April 18, 2011). "Spring Attendance Was 2nd All Time for Detroit Tigers". The Ledger. Lakeland. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
- Joker Marchant Stadium Renovations on Tap (Spring Training Online)
- The Ledger Newspaper Online
- Claytor, Stephanie (August 5, 2016). "Lakeland's Tigers stadium to be renamed, renovated for 2017". Bright House Sports Network. Retrieved September 14, 2016.