Surprise Stadium – Kansas City Royals Spring Training
You’ll Be Treated Royally In Surprise
Surprise Stadium has been the Cactus League headquarters for the Kansas City Royals since it opened in 2003. The 10,714-seat stadium is shared with the Texas Rangers. The stadium has experienced great growth in attendance the last few years, as both teams have gone deep in the playoffs / World Series the past few seasons. When you arrive at the training complex, the Royals facilities are on the third base side of the facility and the Rangers are located along the first base side.
Food and Beverage 4
The concession stands at Surprise Stadium are located along the concourse level behind home plate, along the left field line and out behind the berm in the outfield. The home plate area booths carry traditional baseball fare including hot dogs ($5), popcorn ($5), brats ($7.75), peanuts ($5) and nachos ($5.75).
Beverages include Pepsi brand soft drinks ($7.75), bottled water ($6.75) and beers from Kansas City’s own Boulevard Brewing Company as well as Surprise’s State 48 Brewing. Premium drafts go for $8.50 and regular drafts are $7.75
The food options along the left field line feature foods on a midway much like you would find at a county fair. These tents feature local community groups selling specific items such as funnel cakes ($7), corn dogs (($7), and pork sandwiches ($9). The Budweiser Party Deck offers a wide variety of party food and offers a tented dining experience for an extra charge.
Surprise Stadium offers three distinctly different viewing experiences depending on your priorities. If you would like a nice mountain backdrop as a part of game viewing, you can sit in either the lower seating bowl (below the concourse) or in the upper level (tougher to get as season ticket holders and locals snatch these up first.) The third option is the berm seating, which is the least expensive choice and provides views down into both teams’ bullpens. If being in the shade is your priority, then try to sit as close to the home plate area as possible, as the left field stands are exposed to the sun. The stadium is one of the few with a 360-degree continuous concourse in the Cactus League, so feel free to walk around and check out the various angles around the field.
The immediate area surrounding Surprise Stadium is the Municipal Complex and Recreation Complex for the City of Surprise. This means if the game is out of reach, you can always go take a dip in the city pool or go read a book at the air-conditioned library next door! Both the Residence Inn and the Holiday Inn Express are located just down Bullard Road, within easy walking distance of the stadium.
Most of the restaurants, hotels and entertainment facilities in Surprise will be located along Bell Road. While there are plenty of big box stores and fast food chains to choose from, two restaurants that stand out in town are the State 48 Brewery and Rito’s Mexican Restaurant. On the entertainment front, you may need to make a 25-minute drive to either the Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium and Safari Park or the Del Webb Center for Performing Arts in nearby Litchfield Park.
The fan base in Surprise is made up of three main audiences. The first two audiences come from the hometown of the teams headquartered there… the Kansas City Royals and the Texas Rangers. The third portion of the crowd are the retirees who discovered the good life in the Valley of the Sun at one of the many Del Webb Sun City developments located nearby.
While you would think Ranger fans would bring the larger turnout for games, the Royals typically bring a much bigger influx of supporters. This is probably for two reasons…1) the weather in Kansas City can still be raw in February and March and, 2 ) they are still in a state of euphoria after going to the World Series twice in the last few years after nearly a 30-year drought.
The crowds at Surprise are usually on the sedate side more than the boisterous side, as they realize spring training does not have a pennant race and it is a time to try out the prospects from the minors. In addition, the Royals bitter rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals, are playing thousands of miles away in the Grapefruit league.
Getting to Surprise is the hardest part of accessing the stadium. It is the northernmost and most western of all the Cactus League outposts. You should allow at least 45 minutes to reach the stadium from downtown Phoenix. It is most easily reached via Route 101 North on the west side of Phoenix. You will exit Route 101 at the Bell Road exit. Turn left on Bell Road and stay on it for six miles. Turn left on Bullard Road and then a right into the stadium parking lot.
Surprise Stadium’s layout is unusual in that both of the main entry points are located in the outfield. This is done so that you can go directly in from the parking lot to the stadium. It is one of the most accessible stadiums in the Cactus League in that the very wide concourse goes completely around the park. Most other stadiums in Arizona have an interruption in their concourses due to the outfield berms. Surprise’s concourse circumnavigates the berm. All concessions and the team store are also found on the concourse level.
Return on Investment 5
Surprise offers an excellent return on investment compared to other Cactus League facilities. The price range for tickets is $8 for berm seating up to $35 for the best seat in the house. Parking is free, and you are allowed to bring food into the stadium with you. If you do decide to sample the concessions, they offer great quality and value. You may want to explore some of their local specialties.
The stadium offers a great deal for a $15 add on fee. This fee allows you access to the tented Budweiser Party Deck. This is a great place to escape the hot Arizona sun. Your $15 also provides you with an entrée and dessert from one of the local caterers and a drink ticket. You can return to the tent as many times as you would like throughout the game.
Surprise Stadium is one of the few Cactus League stadiums that allow you to bring food in. The food must be able to fit a quart sized ziplock bag and be able to fit under your seat. No coolers are allowed in the stadium.
In Surprise, being the site of a spring training facility is a source of community pride. Nearly everyone you encounter working in the stadium is doing it on a volunteer basis. They are easy to spot in their bright yellow shirts, as they are known as the Surprise Sundancers. This group’s hard work allows the expenses in running a game to stay at a bare minimum. This results in your enjoying free parking and one of the lowest ticket prices in the Cactus League.
If you are a college basketball fan, buying a tent ticket allows you to keep up with the various March Madness games as it is wired for cable.
You can expect to be treated Royally at Surprise Stadium. The level of community involvement in all aspects of stadium operation is unique in the spring training world. This keeps the prices low and has helped Surprise earn the title of best place to watch a baseball game in the Cactus League by several national publications. We could not agree more.
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AMC Surprise IMAX Pointe 14
Wildlife World Zoo
16501 W Northern Ave
Litchfield Park, AZ 85340
Quality Inn & Suites Of The Sun Cities
16741 N Greasewood St
Surprise, AZ 85374
Windmill All Suites Surprise
12545 W Bell Rd
Surprise, AZ 85374
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The stadium itself has a very nice, unique look to it. It has a Southern and Midwestern flavor as far as the main architecture goes in the infield. The Rangers and Royals offices down the right and left field lines respectively also have that same design, with all of the offices facing in towards the stadium. In fact, most of the buildings on the Surprise Recreation Campus are all built the same way, which makes the area stand out.