Fifth Third Field – Dayton Dragons
The Ballpark that Sold Out
When you think about the Dayton Dragons, you have to think about “The Streak.” The streak of consecutive sold-out games currently stands at 1,316 heading into the ball club’s 20th season of 2019. This record was accomplished seven seasons ago went the team eclipsed the mark of 815 consecutive home sellouts that was established by the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers between 1977 and 1995.
The Dragons annually outdraw every other team in Class A, every team in Double-A, and all but nine teams in Triple-A. It also does not appear that this record will end anytime soon, because the Midwest League affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds still has a waiting list. The accomplishment is quite impressive for the City of Dayton that had gone almost 50 years between minor league baseball before it returned in 2000.
At the time of its planning, Fifth Third Field was deemed by some people as a gamble, but the ballpark injects about $27.6 million annually into the regional economy and attracts about 7.2 million visitors annually. The stadium has been the catalyst in the northeastern section of town, boosting other investments like the Water Street District, which turned unoccupied property and vacant buildings into fresh apartments, restaurants, and retail space.
Food & Beverage 4
Fifth Third Field features six permanent stands and multiple portables throughout the concourse that offer a selection of menu items for everyone to choose from when at the game.
Monument Ave BBQ serves up beef brisket sandwiches, pulled pork nachos, pulled chicken sandwiches, and smoked sausages, along with sides of jalapeno corn slaw, mac and cheese, and smoked corn on the cob. Dragon on the Grill offers specialty ½ pound burgers that include Bacon & Beer Cheese Burger and the Hawaii Five-O burger.
Smokies Sausage Shack features foot long bratwurst and hot dogs, Polish sausages, and cheddar jalapeno sausages. Steakadelphia, found at various ballparks throughout the country, makes cheese steak and chicken sandwiches and nachos right in front of your eyes to savor. Salsa serves burrito bowls, walking tacos, and super nachos.
Milano’s Tap Room is located down the first base concourse and offers ten beers on tap, multiple flat screen TV’s, and two large garage doors that open up the crowd. There are also more areas in the ballpark to grab a cold beer both domestically or locally produced.
The stadium offers gluten-free options: fresh wraps, veggie dogs and burgers, pulled pork nachos, and Omission Lager. If you have a sweet tooth, the stadium treats include walking apple pies, brownie and cookie sundaes, candy apples, and helmets filled with ice cream. A few favorites to find while you are there are Cincinnati-style coneys, potato skins, sweet tea, deep-fried Oreos and sweet potato fries.
Fifth Third Field is tucked in and woven into the streets of downtown Dayton offering a wraparound concourse that provides fantastic views of the city’s once abandoned buildings that are now being converted into both retail and living spaces. Sears and E. 1st Street are just footsteps away from the outfield concourse areas.
The ballpark consists of 7,230 seats plus 1,000 more on the lawn seats, 1,400 club seats, 29 suites, and 3 party decks. The Azek Dragons Lair was remodeled in 2016 offering space for 120 fans and all-inclusive buffet with non-alcoholic drinks and a cash bar. If you are with a smaller group all of the stadium seating is theater-style in the colors of forest green and maroon.
The Dragons Den offers official team merchandise and the club employs two mascots, Heater and Gem, who run around the stadium and entertain fans of all ages. The video board is also massive and at the time of its installation in 2015, was the tallest and widest ever in a Single-A ballpark and among the five largest in any minor league ballpark.
The atmosphere of the ballpark blends in quite nicely with the activities before and after the game, the focus is on the game and also with friends and families out for a weekday or weekend night at the ballpark.
The area near the ballpark has improved massively over the last two decades, at one time the area was deemed unsafe and not even a baseball stadium would improve the surrounding neighborhood. The Water Street District is one developed that opened up blocks away from Fifth Third Field and is now filled with business and loft-style apartments that were at one time abandoned old warehouses.
You don’t have to look far, Lock 27 Brewing is within a stone’s throw of the stadium, joining Canal Street Arcade and Deli and Mudlick Tap House. Lock 27 also offers food service, and it shares the main plaza with Fifth Third Field.
The local restaurant scene includes Basils, 2nd Street Market, The Southern Belle Tavern, and Dayton Beer Company that are all within blocks of the ballparks. Fans gather at many of these restaurants for food or drink before or after the game. The RiverScape Metro Park is ideal for hiking, jogging, or sightseeing along the river.
The fan base has been a juggernaut the last two decades with a consecutive sellout streak that has been second to none in the professional rankings. Many of the fans have grown up rooting for the nearby Cincinnati Reds and being a farm team of the club makes coming out to the game that much more of an experience; however, the response by the local populace has paid higher dividends since it keeps people in town and provides a sense of pride.
The downtown ballpark is very easy to get in and get out of for home games. Traffic moves smoothly after games, various lots offer parking, and police presence gives a sense of safety after night games. Inside the ballpark, the wraparound concourse opens up the stadium that is wedged inside downtown to concession areas, exits/entrances, popular meeting spots, and designated food and beverage areas.
Return on Investment 4
The Dragons offer two separate prices for home game tickets: $9 for lawn seating and $17 for stadium seating. The concept of having only two areas for picking is intriguing since the majority of the league have at least three price points, but the $13 average ticket is along the lines of other franchises in Wisconsin, West Michigan, Kane County, and Lansing. Also, when you have sold out every game in franchise history dating back to 2000, having a ticket option under $10 is nice.
Fifth Third receives a point for its neighborhood location of old buildings that are now being converted into shops, breweries, restaurants, and lofts.
Fifth Third receives a point for the streak of 1,316 consecutive home sellouts-a record in pro sports, the Boston Red Sox hold the Major League Baseball streak of 820 between 2003 and 2011.
Fifth Third receives a final point for the Milano’s Tap Room, a great spot for a craft beer and conversation.
Fifth Third Field has been a mainstay in Dayton since the turn of the century, the enthusiasm by its fans has been clear since day one and as each home game is played, the Dragons establish a record of consecutive sellouts. The surrounding neighborhood is a hub of activity before and after the game, and downtown Dayton is once again full of life.
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National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
111 E Monument Ave
Dayton, OH 45402
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