Root, root, root for the professionals

As we approach spring training season for America’s favorite pastime sport of baseball, meeting professionals are looking at baseball stadiums in a whole new way.

Not only do stadiums offer top-of-the-line accommodations for meetings and incentives—groups can join a community steeped in the universal national language of baseball. Stadiums are providing local culinary fare, options to meet the players with activities such as batting practice and first-class AV technology. Private lounge space buyouts transition the corporate meeting seamlessly into a premier reception or incentive reward. The following stadiums function as corporate meeting spaces with fun incentive elements that represent the personality of the host city through the game, the people and the food.

Fenway Park

Boston Red Sox

inside of seating area at fenway park in boston
Fenway Park

The first baseball stadium in America continues to be one of the most famous. Opened in 1912, Fenway Park in Boston is the heartbeat of Beantown and home to some of the most dedicated baseball fans in the country. Without losing any of its historic integrity, Fenway Park has been renovating its interior to become a desirable destination for corporate meetings and group events.

“The newest space we have is a cool hybrid conference room/hospitality space,” says Ben Morse, account executive of premium sales for the Boston Red Sox. “We opened The 521 Outlook last season and it became a very popular space.”

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The 7,000-square-foot venue behind center field oversees the entirety of Fenway Park through a 10-foot-high wall of windows and its 1,661-square-foot private balcony. Fun fact—The 521 Outlook is named after the number of career home runs hit by Red Sox legend Ted Williams, yet it also happens to be roughly the same amount of feet from home plate to the lounge itself. Attendees can feel like they are part of Boston Red Sox history in the sleek lounge.

Yankee Stadium

New York Yankees

The ultimate rival of the Boston Red Sox are the New York Yankees. The teams have battled for almost the entirety of American baseball history. Not only rivals on the diamond, but the New York Yankees are also a formidable opponent to Boston’s historic ballpark as they have completed similar upgrades to Yankee Stadium. Delta Sky360° suite is also located behind its respective home plate and offers floor-to-ceiling collapsible windows for events to be both indoor and outdoor within one rental space. On a non-game day, the space can offer a panoramic view of one of New York’s most iconic establishments for up to 500 attendees.

As the first North American sports team to sign on to the UN Sports for Action Framework in 2016, the team partnered with the United Nations Sports for Climate Action Framework in April of 2019 to strive towards reducing greenhouse emissions and promote the importance of environmentally friendly initiatives at Yankee Stadium.

The team was the first major North American sports team to do so, yet the focus on sustainability had already hit the ground running. Eco-conscious operations include an open-air design of The Great Hall and accessibility to the stadium from mass transportation. In 2016, the stadium installed light-emitting diodes (LED) to illuminate the stadium and increase brightness by 50% and energy efficiency by 40%.

T-Mobile Park

Seattle Mariners

corporate suites interior at t mobile park in seattle
T-Mobile Park Corporate Suite

Ballparks on the West Coast are no stranger to sustainability efforts. Washington state has long been a pioneer of sustainability measures in almost every aspect of the city’s operations. From greener practices in the hospitality and travel industry to city-wide campaigns for sustainable fishing and farming, it is no surprise T-Mobile Park in Seattle has been recognized as one of Major League Baseball’s most sustainable facilities.

The Seattle Mariners and T-Mobile Park received the Green Glove Award from the MLB in 2017 for their eco-conscious efforts. In the 2017 season, The Mariners recycled 96% of waste and earned the title of the highest recycling rate in the league. Even the ballpark food is sustainable—T-Mobile Park offers both classic game day fare and surprising locally sourced options such as acai bowls and plant-based menus.

In addition to the buffets offered by Sodexo Live! at T-Mobile Park, the catering company also offers enhancements to the culinary options for corporate group events. Attendees with dietary restrictions or allergies are offered custom menus with organic options. Sodexo Live! reflects the dedication to sustainability of Washington residents and its Mariners fans—advertising fresh, local ingredients and compostable plates, cups and utensils.

Las Vegas Ballpark

Las Vegas Aviators         

man swinging bat at Las Vegas Ballpark Batting Cages
Las Vegas Ballpark Batting Cages

Major league ballparks aren’t the only baseball venues that can offer major event and meeting spaces. Las Vegas Ballpark is home to Triple-A team Las Vegas Aviators and has accommodations for groups to experience the game in a real way. Charles Johnson, general manager and vice president of sales and marketing, gives insight into how immersive group events can be at Las Vegas Ballpark.

“The meetings or group events can provide time to move away from a traditional meeting and create a team-building exercise on the playing surface,” says Johnson. “For example, hosting a batting practice can be the perfect element for employees to unwind.”

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The ballpark offers three different private party suites for nightly rentals with levels of 20-, 40- and 60-person capacities. Suites and outdoor stadium seats are climate-controlled for a luxury baseball experience. All suite rentals include access to the Playstudios Club Level, a premium lounge with specialty cocktails and elevated ballpark fare. While the glamor of Las Vegas is certainly evident at Las Vegas Ballpark, the love for the game is always in the forefront.

According to Johnson, a ballpark venue for corporate meetings creates an environment for professional colleagues to interact on an even playing field.

“In almost all cases, it places people in an atmosphere where maybe there isn’t any identifying of where one’s place is on the corporate ladder, but a chance to interact with each other in a different and more casual social setting.”

Globe Life Field

Texas Rangers

Globe Life Field exterior
Globe Life Field

Down in the Lone Star State in Arlington, Globe Life Field, home of the Texas Rangers, is hitting home runs when it comes to state-of-the-art technology for public games and private events. The nation’s newest ballpark in the heart of the Dallas-Fort Worth area impresses with a climate-controlled facility and a retractable roof, Globe Life Field offers flexible options for corporate events and incentives.

Directly behind home plate is The Lexus Club, a multifunctional private space that includes a banquet space, a cocktail area and a classroom. Host a small seminar in the 147-person capacity classroom before throwing a Texas-style ballgame party in the cocktail area with an impressive capacity of 777 people.

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Globe Life Field offers spaces of varying sizes to accommodate both larger conferences and smaller incentive purposes. For a larger crowd, Evan Williams Lounge is located directly where the first base foul line meets the warning track and has a capacity of 400. For more intimate gatherings, Balcones Speakeasy is removed further away from the field in the lower concourse with a cocktail capacity of 154 and a classroom of 69.

Busch Stadium

St. Louis Cardinals

fireworks going off at Busch Stadium in st. louis
Busch Stadium

In the “Gateway to the West”, the St. Louis Cardinals are Missouri’s pride and joy. Busch Stadium is home to the striking insignia of the red winter bird and offers its own Conference Center with up to 120-person capacity along with three smaller breakout rooms for groups of 20 to 50. All spaces are AV-supported and located in the executive offices.

To truly feel like you are part of the city, the Ford Plaza outdoor area overlooks the entire Busch stadium and the breathtaking St. Louis skyline. Offering capacity for up to 2,500 people with transformable options to prepare for varying weather conditions, guests can truly immerse themselves in downtown St. Louis.

Why Baseball?

Baseball has always been a gold mine of poetic life metaphors—and for a reason. Sportscaster Ernie Harwell says “baseball is a lot like life. It’s a day-to-day existence, full of ups and downs. You make the most of your opportunities in baseball as you do in life.” While not everyone in the group may recognize this writer’s biased affinity for the sport, there is something to be said of the parallels sports has to the workplace environment.

A group of colleagues can use the practical meeting spaces offered by ballparks while immersing themselves in a culture that far transcends a simple game. The teamwork, the dedication of the fans for a single unified goal and the representation of the true personality of a city make ballparks an unexpectedly fitting venue for corporate meetings and incentives. Attendees will feel the soul of the city and be uplifted by the passion for the game and the sense of comradery.

Sports Venues Offer Options

moda center exterior
Moda Center

The MLB isn’t the only sports organization offering flexible and convenient options for corporate events. While Portland, Oregon, may not have an MLB team, sports are integrated into the events culture. Their close proximity is ideal for businesses to easily transition into fun team-building events.

The Moda Center is the home to the NBA Portland Trail Blazers, the Portland Thunder football team and frequently hosts other sports events from major organizations such as the Harlem Globetrotters and the Pendelton Whisky Velocity Tour of the Professional Bull Riders (PBR). Directly adjacent to the Veterans Memorial Coliseum of the Portland Winterhawks hockey team and the Oregon Convention Center, meeting professionals have almost an unimaginable square footage of meeting and reception space to play with as they incorporate sports into their events.

This article appears in the January/February 2023 issue. You can subscribe to the magazine here.