The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

Guaranteed good eats: Sox Park offers new twists on classic ballpark food, most craft beer in the majors !

Joseph
Times business reporter Joseph Pete orders the Cuban Burger at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago.

The Chicago White Sox are rebuilding and are likely to lose more games than they win this season.

But it’s still an exciting time at Guaranteed Rate Field, a chance to see young talent develop as the Pale Hose tries to replicate the tear-it-all-down-and-stockpile-prospects approach that propelled the Cubs and Houston Astros to World Series titles. And of course the team has rolled out new food, amenities and craft beer this year.

Guaranteed Rate Field now offers than 100 different beers, including from beer sponsors Modello, Revolution and Goose Island, said concessionaire Delaware North Operations Manager Rebecca Spalding.

“We have the most craft options out of Major League Baseball,” she said. “We’ve led the charge with that. But that’s what fans are looking for. Craft beer is huge and it’s definitely something that’s hot right now. So we’re excited to be able to provide that.”

Last season, Sox Park replaced the Miller Lite Bullpen Sports Bar in right field with the Craft Kave, which sports more than 75 craft beers from 38 different Midwestern breweries, including 3 Floyds in Munster and 18th Street in Hammond. Fans could watch other games or horse races in the craft beer-themed sports bar, and pay a surcharge to sit outside right over the right field bullpen, with a view that feels like being on the field. It proved so popular they’ve added a Craft Kave Express location with 40 different brews on the 500 level.

“It’s something no other ballpark has, and it was widely received by fans,” Spalding said. “We wanted to make it available to fans on the 500 level so they don’t have to travel as far to try all those craft beers. It’s a little bit less space, so it’s just the more popular selections.”

Craft beer lovers can choose from a wide variety of India Pale Ales, pale ales, stouts, lagers, pilsners, sours and wheats.

“We have the full gamut of beers available,” Spalding said. “We don’t want all IPAs because we know our fans like all different types of beers. Whatever your taste is in beer, we want to have that for you. Craft beer lovers also want to try new things, so we, for instance, had a jalapeno ale. It was different. Craft beer lovers want to try new things.”

The Craft Kave is planning a mug club, where participants could potentially earn T-shirts or their photos on the wall after trying enough varieties of beer.

Chicago-based Revolution Brewing also is pouring six of its acclaimed craft beers on tap in the remodeled Revolution Brewing #SoxSocial Tap room on the 200 level, which is in an all-new location that’s accessible from the stairs at Section 157. Fans can go there to charge their phones, get free T-shirts or other prizes when they check in with the MLB Ballpark app, or snap selfies in front of a life-sized Jose Abreu bobblehead or a huge map of the surrounding Bridgeport neighborhood.

There’s a rotating draft beer menu, a full bar with wine and cocktails, basic food items like pizza, phone chargers with lockers, comfy seats for hanging out and 22 televisions. There’s an outdoor patio where fans can chill out and watch the game if they prefer the view there to their own seats.

“Revolution Brewing is an established hometown brewery that shares our passion for connecting with fans who love White Sox baseball in new ways,” said White Sox Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing Brooks Boyer. “We are thrilled to grow our relationship with a brand that has such a strong presence in Chicago and among our fans.”

Other new features at the park include the new virtual reality batting cage in The Chicago Sports Depot near Gate 5, which simulates a 90-second home run derby at Guaranteed Rate Field, and the new Grab-’n-Go food stand in Section 142. Similar to a 7-Eleven or Walgreens, the kiosk offers beer, pop, milk, juice, fresh fruit, yogurt, hummus, salads and wraps that are often somewhat cheaper than more traditional ballpark fare.

“It’s meant for fast transactions,” Spalding said. “Just like at an airport, it has beverages, salty and sweet snacks and healthier choices. It’s a one-stop shop for fans to get items that couldn’t find anywhere else in the ballpark. We do get requests for healthy items, and want to have that available for the fans that like it. It’s definitely a need our fans do have. People are always in search of healthy options.”

There’s also a wealth of new concessions on the 100-level and 500-level concourses, including Affy Tapple Caramel Apples, Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Rods, Churro Ice Cream Sandwiches, Cuban Burgers, Hand-Scooped Ice Cream, Johnsonville Specialty Sausages and Organic Apple Strawberry Frozen Juice Cups.

For fans lucky enough to land seats in the club level, there’s also new Buffalo Chicken Empanadas; Nashville Hot Chicken Sliders; provolone-stuffed dough balls known as Knuckle Balls; and the South Side Horseshoe, a spin on the classic open-face Springfield sandwich that loads Italian sausage, giardiniera, hand-cut fries and Modelo cheddar sauce on thick-cut Texas toast.

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Lincoln City, NB Council approves new sports facility !

 

April 18, 2018

On Monday the Lincoln, NB city council approved a new project.  It will be west Lincoln’s very own sports facility.

Authorization was given to fund a brand new, 78,000 square foot indoor sports complex that will be able to hold eight basketball courts or 12 volleyball courts.

The nearly 12 million dollar complex will be called the Lincoln Sports Facility.

“We are one step closer to making this project a reality. Sports tourism is becoming a really big business in the United States and we believe this will attract a number of people from outside of Lincoln,” said developer Sam Manzitto.

Pending a traffic safety study, construction documents will be filed shortly. 

The location will be across the street from west gate plaza near west O street and southwest 14th plaza.

A little more than 10 percent of the funding will come from tax payer dollars, but city council members say the economic potential of a state-of-the-art sports complex will pay for itself with ease.

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To turn a failing Hazelwood mall into a sports complex, St. Louis County wants $6 million from CVC !

April 18, 2018

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger is requesting the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission contribute $6 million to help pay for the PowerPlex project, a regional youth sports complex that would re-imagine the failing St. Louis Outlet Mall in Hazelwood. 

According to a letter Stenger posted to his Facebook page on Monday, the county is asking the CVC to appropriate the funds from its Convention and Recreation Trust Fund. 

Stenger, officials with the CVC and some County Council members met Monday afternoon to discuss the possibility of the CVC chipping in on the $92 million project.  

“I’m supportive of the PowerPlex project and am working right now on finding the resources and funding from the CVC for that project,” Stenger told the Post-Dispatch. “The CVC indicated they are willing to discuss it and consider it.”

The massive proposal, including a 750-foot long dome for indoor play, would put baseball fields and basketball and volleyball courts alongside entertainment, restaurants and retail on the site of the nearly vacant St. Louis Outlet Mall, originally known as the St. Louis Mills when it opened only 15 years ago. Some current tenants could remain at the property.

Big Sports Properties, led by former newscaster and former St. Patrick Center CEO Dan Buck, is the developer behind the ambitious plan. A previous plan to put the complex in Chesterfield fell apart last summer after the city balked at a request to extend an agreement to buy land and lease it to developers. 

St. Louis County Council Chairman Sam Page, in a letter to CVC Chairman Andrew Leonard, said the money would come from the county’s 3.5 percent hotel tax. 

“When coordinated with other similar efforts in the St. Louis region, this type of attraction can bring needed tourism activity to our region and help brand us as a family travel destination,” Page said in the letter. 

 

Officials with the CVC were not immediately available for comment.

To move forward with the project, Buck’s group needs to overcome roughly $36 million debt held by a transportation development district established on the mall site. The special sales tax district has seen revenue plummet as stores in the mall closed, putting the property at risk of foreclosure, Buck said.

Hazelwood is offering to buy the outstanding TDD bonds to clear the way for Buck’s group to buy the mall property. 

Some $6 million of a county contribution would go to the Hazelwood site to free up money for debt service. The city of Bridgeton is also partnering on the project, and $2 million would go toward turning the fields at the Bridgeton Athletic Complex just across Highway 370 from dirt to turf for tournament play.

County Council members have hinted at the possibility of the CVC helping out financially. And the CVC pledged two years ago financial support for a youth soccer tournament complex in Creve Coeur Lake Park.

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Albuquerque’s west side sports complex booked through November !

The company managing it says the fields are booked every weekend through November, and the combination of tournaments, league events and practices are expected to bring in 250,000 visitors to the facility this year.

Council President Ken Sanchez says it’s already proving to be a big win.

“There will be a cost associated with it, too. You’ve got maintenance, you’ve got umpires. But again, you’ve got some major tournaments coming to Albuquerque that should offset that through sales tax at the same time,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez says the council is set to approve a five-year contract for SMG to manage the complex, Civic Plaza and the Convention Center for $4.5 million.

That vote is expected in two weeks.

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Ballfield Updates From Beacon ! (April ’18)

Apr. 3, 2018       |       BeaconAthletics.com        |       Ballfields.com

THIS WEEK’S FIELD THOUGHTS

Choosing the right float drag or drags for your infield can be a confusing task but we can help with that. In fact, it’s wise to have a couple different types of float drags in order to be properly equipped to do your dragging duties no matter what the conditions are on your infield skin. All of these choices leave a nice professional finish. Checkout these recommendations… Click to see float drag recommendations from Beacon’s Paul Zwaska on Ballfields.comChoosing Float Drags for Your Infield Skin

Visit Ballfields.com frequently for tips & articles andGroundskeeperU.com for online training.

Pro Rigid Steel Mat Drag  SAVE 10%!

IN STOCK: Typically ships the next business day. Speedy between-innings touchups and pre-game prep. Its leading edge levels surfaces while the slightly angled rigid steel skims over the field — no digging in — for a smooth finish and minimal displacement. (Valid thru April 8, 2018, discount applied automatically)

Cocoa Mat Drag w/Leveling Bar  SAVE 10%!

IN STOCK: Typically ships the next business day.  The finishing drag that virtually floats across your infield. Natural fiber cocoa provides a highly professional finish. (Valid for 6×4 Cocoa Mat with Leveling Bar only thru April 8, 2018, discount applied automatically)

Cocoa Mat Hand Drag  SAVE 10%!

IN STOCK: Typically ships the next business day.  A perfect finish. The Cocoa Mat Hand Drag seemingly floats over topdressing for a pro-style finish — without displacing topdressing or soil. (Valid thru April 8, 2018, discount applied automatically)

OPEN BOX ITEM OF THE WEEK

OPEN BOX Item — Outfield Distance Marker (“200”) — SAVE $25!  — This navy blue outfield distance sign with gold lettering (24″ numerals) is a great value. Standard = 38″H x 56″W.  Brand-new condition. Quantities are limited… Reg. $95, NOW $75

By Groundskeepers, For Groundskeepers.

The time and effort necessary to train new staff each year can become overwhelming, and that’s exactly why we developed Groundskeeper U. GU is the perfect online tool for teaching new staff, summer help, and volunteers. Through videos, photos, audio, and written material your staff will learn the right way with the tried and true practices taught by Paul Zwaska.

Enjoy this by-groundskeepers-for-groundskeepers resource and, when you find a lesson or technique you know others will benefit from, be sure to share it on social media and with your colleagues!

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It’s Never To Late To Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

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