Champion Stadium

Champion Stadium is a 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 home for the Rookie-league GCL Braves.

The 7,500-seat stadium was designed by David M. Schwarz in a style designer dubbed Florida Picturesque incorporating Venetian Gothic Revival, Mediterranean and Spanish influences with yellow-painted stucco, green-tile roofs, towers and arches.[2]

Champion Stadium
Home Of The Braves
Former names
  • The Ballpark at Disney's Wide World of Sports (1997, 2007)
  • Cracker Jack Stadium (1997–2006)
LocationWalt Disney World Resort
700 S. Victory Way
Kissimmee, FL 34747
OwnerWalt Disney Parks and Resorts
OperatorESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
Capacity7,500
Field sizeLeft 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
SurfaceGrass
Construction
Broke groundJuly 1995
OpenedMarch 28, 1997
ArchitectDavid M. Schwarz
Tenants

Name

Champion Stadium was originally known as The Ballpark then Cracker Jack Stadium.[3] 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.[4]

History

Originally, Disney planned for no MLB permanent spring training tenant for the stadium, instead using as a Grapefruit League neutral site with rotating teams. However, the Braves organization became interested and moved in.[5]

Braves spring training2008
The Atlanta Braves Spring Training game against the New York Mets in 2008

The Ballpark opened with the rest of Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex on March 28, 1997 with an exhibition baseball game between the Atlanta Braves and the Cincinnati Reds. The Gulf Coast League Braves began play at the stadium in 1997,[6] while the Atlanta Braves started its 20 year spring training lease in 1998.[2]

160508-D-DB155-013 (26328281343) (cropped)
Opening ceremony of the 2016 Invictus Games

In 2000, after years of poor attendance at Tinker Field, the Orlando Rays moved to the Ballpark. However, the 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)[7] and became the Montgomery Biscuits.

The venue hosted the 2001 Atlantic 10 Conference Baseball Tournament, won by Temple.[8]

The old style manual score board was replaced in 2003 with a larger electronic scoreboard and message center. 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.[5]

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.[9]

In January 2017, the Braves announced a formal agreement to move their spring training home to North Port in 2019.[10]

References

  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. ^ a b Carroll, Frank (January 17, 1997). "Braves To Toss 1st Pitch At Disney". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  3. ^ "Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex". OrlandoSentinel.com. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  4. ^ Carter, David M. (2010). Money Games Profiting from the Convergence of Sports and Entertainment. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press. ISBN 9780804776790. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Hixson, Derrick (February 24, 2009). "Atlanta Braves Spring Training Fan Guide". Bleacher Report. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  6. ^ Kornacki, Steve (March 23, 1997). "Now Disney Has Its Own Wide World Of Sports". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-09-23. Retrieved 2013-09-21.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Atlantic 10 Conference Baseball Record Book" (PDF). CSTV. p. 14. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-02-16. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
  9. ^ Topkin, Marc (2007-11-07). "MLB, likely foe open to return to Orlando". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2009-05-22.
  10. ^ Murdock, Zack (January 17, 2017). "Atlanta Braves pick Sarasota County for spring training". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved February 27, 2017.

External links

Preceded by
Olympic Stadium
London
Invictus Games
Opening Ceremonies Venue

2016 Invictus Games
Succeeded by
Air Canada Centre
Toronto

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

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2011 National Pro Fastpitch season

The 2011 National Pro Fastpitch season is the eighth season of professional softball under the name National Pro Fastpitch for the only professional women's softball league in the United States. From 1997 to 2002, NPF operated under the names Women's Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women's Pro Softball League (WPSL). Each year, the playoff teams battle for the Cowles Cup.

2012 Atlanta Braves season

The 2012 Atlanta Braves season was the Braves' 16th season of home games at Turner Field, 47th season in Atlanta, and 142nd season overall. After a late season collapse in 2011 kept the Braves from the playoffs, the team returned to the postseason for the second time in three seasons as a Wild Card team, with a record of 94-68. They lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in the one-game Wild Card Playoff.

2015 National Pro Fastpitch season

The 2015 National Pro Fastpitch season is the twelfth season of professional softball under the name National Pro Fastpitch for the only professional women's softball league in the United States. From 1997 to 2002, NPF operated under the names Women's Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women's Pro Softball League (WPSL). Each year, the playoff teams battle for the Cowles Cup.

2016 National Pro Fastpitch season

The 2016 National Pro Fastpitch season is the 13th season of professional softball under the name National Pro Fastpitch for the only professional women's softball league in the United States. From 1997 to 2002, NPF operated under the names Women's Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women's Pro Softball League (WPSL). Each year, the playoff teams battle for the Cowles Cup.

2017 Orange County SC season

The 2017 Orange County SC season is the club's seventh season of existence, their third in the United Soccer League, and their first in the second tier of American soccer. This is the club's first year being branded as Orange County SC after previously being known as Orange County Blues FC from 2014 through 2017 and the LA Blues from 2011 to 2014.

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The 2019 United Women's Soccer season is the 25th season of pro-am women's soccer in the United States, and the fourth season of the UWS league.

Balakovo

Balakovo (Russian: Балаково, IPA: [bəlɐˈkovə]) is a city in Saratov Oblast, Russia, located on the East bank of the Volga River about 131 kilometers (81 mi) northeast of Saratov, the administrative center of the oblast. Population: 199,690 (2010 Census); 200,470 (2002 Census); 197,391 (1989 Census).

Bowman Gray Stadium

Bowman Gray Stadium is a NASCAR sanctioned 1⁄4-mile (0.40 km) asphalt flat oval short track and longstanding football stadium located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It is one of stock car racing's most legendary venues, and is referred to as "NASCAR's longest-running weekly race track". Bowman Gray Stadium is part of the Winston-Salem Sports and Entertainment Complex and is home of the Winston-Salem State University Rams football team. It was also the home of the Wake Forest University football team from 1956 until Groves Stadium (later BB&T Field) opened in 1968. Bowman Gray Stadium was a popular venue for high school football in the 1970s and 1980s. Parkland and R.J. Reynolds High Schools shared Bowman Gray Stadium as their home field for high school football until the two schools built their own facility (Deaton-Thompson Stadium) in 1994.

ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is a 220 acres (89 ha) athletic complex located in the Walt Disney World Resort, in Bay Lake, Florida, near Orlando, Florida. The complex includes 9 venues and hosts numerous amateur and professional sporting events throughout the year.

It was known as Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex from 1997 until 2010 when it was re-branded with the Disney-owned ESPN brand. The rebranding was unveiled on February 25, 2010. The complex is a part of the Sports tourism emerging market.

List of Major League Baseball spring training cities

The following is a list of current and former Major League Baseball spring training cities.

List of soccer clubs in the United States

This is a list of soccer clubs in the United States. For clarity, teams based outside the United States that play in USSF-recognized leagues are also listed below, with their home country noted.

Montgomery Biscuits

The Montgomery Biscuits are a Minor League Baseball team based in Montgomery, Alabama. The team is the Double-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays and plays in the Southern League. The team was founded in Orlando, Florida, in 1973 as the Orlando Twins, an affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. After remaining in the Minnesota minor league organization for 20 seasons, the team became an affiliate of the Chicago Cubs for four seasons and then the Seattle Mariners for one. In 1999, the team became an affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, and they have remained in the organization ever since.

Over the years, the club changed names several times. They were the Orlando Twins for 17 seasons, then were known as the SunRays, Cubs, and Rays. The club became known as the Biscuits when it moved from the Orlando area to Montgomery in 2004.

The club played at Tinker Field near downtown Orlando from 1973 until 2000, when they moved to Champion Stadium in nearby Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Since moving to Montgomery in 2004, the Biscuits have played at Montgomery Riverwalk Stadium, a 7,000-seat facility which was built for the club in the downtown area.

Orlando Rays

Several different minor league baseball teams have called the city of Orlando, Florida home from 1919–2003. Most have played in the Florida State League.

The original Orlando franchise played between 1919 and 1924 and was alternately called the Caps, Tigers and Bulldogs. The Orlando Colts played between 1926 and 1928.

The Orlando Gulls began in 1937 but changed their name the following year to the Orlando Senators when they became an affiliate of the Washington Senators. The Senators remained through 1955 (though the team name and league was shut down from 1943–1945 during World War II and the name was changed to the Orlando C.B.s for 1954–1955). They won the FSL championship in 1940, 1946 and 1955

In 1956, they were an affiliate of the Diablos Rojos del Mexico of the Mexican League and were known as the Orlando Seratomas. As an affiliate of the Detroit Tigers they were the Orlando Flyers in 1957, a name that remained in 1958 when they were affiliated with the International League team, the Toronto Maple Leafs. They were a Los Angeles Dodgers affiliate known as the Orlando Dodgers from 1959–1961 when this version of the team was discontinued.

The Minnesota Twins arrived in 1963 and set up a new affiliate called the Orlando Twins. The franchise joined the Southern League in 1973. The Twins played at Tinker Field in downtown Orlando, near the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium. In 1990, the team was renamed the Orlando Sun Rays. In 1993, the Chicago Cubs became the team's new major-league affiliate, and the team was renamed the Orlando Cubs. While still a Chicago Cubs affiliate, the team renamed itself once again in 1997 and became the Orlando Rays. The following year, for one season only, the Seattle Mariners were the Rays' major-league affiliate. The Tampa Bay Rays (then the Devil Rays), an American League expansion team in 1998, assumed the Orlando Rays' major-league affiliation the following year.

The Orlando Rays' last season at Tinker Field was 1999. From 2000 to 2003, the Orlando Rays played in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, in Champion Stadium at Walt Disney World Resort. Despite the fact that the team played in a state-of-the-art stadium that was built in 1997 and used during spring training by the Atlanta Braves, attendance did not meet expectations; after trailing the Southern League in attendance in multiple years, the Rays' owners announced the team would move to Montgomery, Alabama in 2004 (terminating their 10-year lease with Disney after four seasons). Rays players who went on to the major-league level include Carl Crawford, Toby Hall, Jorge Cantú, Dewon Brazelton, Chad Gaudin, Matt Diaz, Jonny Gomes, and Seth McClung. The team is now known as the Montgomery Biscuits.

The Gulf Coast Braves also play in Orlando.

On June 17, 2016 as part of a charity appeal following the Orlando nightclub shooting, the Tampa Bay Rays wore Orlando Rays hats during their game against the San Francisco Giants.

Rogers Centre

Rogers Centre, originally named SkyDome, is a multi-purpose stadium in Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada, situated just southwest of the CN Tower near the northern shore of Lake Ontario. Opened in 1989 on the former Railway Lands, it is home to the Toronto Blue Jays of Major League Baseball (MLB). Previously, the stadium was home to the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League (CFL) and the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Buffalo Bills of the National Football League (NFL) played an annual game at the stadium as part of the Bills Toronto Series from 2008 to 2013. While it is primarily a sports venue, it also hosts other large events such as conventions, trade fairs, concerts, travelling carnivals, and monster truck shows.

The stadium was renamed "Rogers Centre" following the purchase of the stadium by Rogers Communications, which also owned the Toronto Blue Jays, in 2005. The venue was noted for being the first stadium to have a fully retractable motorized roof, as well as for the 348-room hotel attached to it with 70 rooms overlooking the field. It is also the last North American major-league stadium built to accommodate both football and baseball. The stadium served as the site of both the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2015 Pan American Games. During the ceremonies, the site was referred to as the "Pan Am Dome" (officially as the "Pan Am Ceremonies Venue") instead of its official name; Rogers Communications did not have sponsorship rights to the games.

Soccer-specific stadium

Soccer-specific stadium is a term used mainly in the United States and Canada to refer to a sports stadium either purpose-built or fundamentally redesigned for soccer and whose primary function is to host soccer matches, as opposed to a multipurpose stadium which is for a variety of sports. A soccer-specific stadium may host other sporting events (such as lacrosse, American football and rugby) and concerts, but the design and purpose of a soccer-specific stadium is primarily for soccer. Some facilities (for example Toyota Park, Toyota Stadium and Mapfre Stadium) have a permanent stage at one end of the stadium used for staging concerts.

A soccer-specific stadium typically has amenities, dimensions and scale suitable for soccer in North America, including a scoreboard, video screen, luxury suites and possibly a roof. The field dimensions are within the range found optimal by FIFA: 110–120 yards (100–110 m) long by 70–80 yards (64–73 m) wide. These soccer field dimensions are wider than the regulation American football field width of 53 1⁄3 yards (48.8 m), or the 65-yard (59 m) width of a Canadian football field. The playing surface typically consists of grass as opposed to artificial turf, as the latter is generally disfavored for soccer matches since players are more susceptible to injuries. However, some soccer specific stadiums, such as Portland's Providence Park and Creighton University's Morrison Stadium, do have artificial turf.

The seating capacity is generally small enough to provide an intimate setting, between 18,000 and 30,000 for a Major League Soccer franchise, or smaller for college or minor league soccer teams. This is in comparison to the much larger American football stadiums that mostly range between 60,000 and 80,000 in which the original North American Soccer League teams played and most MLS teams occupied during the league's inception. As opposed to gridiron-style football stadiums, where the front row of seats is elevated several feet above the field of play to allow spectators to see over the heads of substitute players and coaches on the sidelines, soccer-specific venues typically have the front row closer to the level of the pitch, providing a more intimate experience.

Spring training

In Major League Baseball (MLB), spring training is a series of practices and exhibition games preceding the start of the regular season. Spring training allows new players to try out for roster and position spots, and gives established players practice time prior to competitive play. Spring training has always attracted fan attention, drawing crowds who travel to the warm climates of Arizona and Florida to enjoy the weather and watch their favorite teams play, and spring training usually coincides with spring break for many US college students.

Spring training typically starts in mid-February and continues until just before Opening Day of the regular season, which falls in the last week of March. In some years, teams not scheduled to play on Opening Day will play spring training games that day. Pitchers and catchers report to spring training first because pitchers benefit from a longer training period. A few days later, position players arrive and team practice begins. Exhibition games usually begin in late February.

Western Conference (USL Championship)

The Western Conference is one of two conferences in USL Championship soccer.

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