Back Home

New seats will help White Sox fans keep eyes on the game

New seats will help White Sox fans keep eyes on the game

Published

Don Muret
The Chicago White Sox are upgrading their outfield sports bar with new seats to improve the fan experience.

The team recently bought 25 four-seat tables from 4Topps, a North Carolina company producing seats for new stadiums and retrofits. Each semicircular table comes with four flip-up swivel chairs.

For the 2013 season, those tables, encompassing 100 total seats, will replace the old picnic table setup at the Miller Lite Bullpen Sports Bar, a popular destination in U.S. Cellular Field’s right-field corner.

The space has three levels. At field level, a covered bar underneath the stands provides views of the visiting team’s bullpen with outdoor seats behind the right-field fence. The ground floor is open to fans 21 and older regardless of seat location.

The picnic tables at the Miller Lite Bullpen Sports Bar in Chicago are being replaced.
Photo by: RON VESELY / CHICAGO WHITE SOX
Above are two tiers of outdoor seats that the White Sox sold for groups with the option to buy an all-inclusive ticket package covering the cost of food and drink with wait service. If no groups bought the picnic tables, those seats were open to all ticket holders.

Last year for groups, single-game ticket prices for the two upper levels cost an average of $42 a person with a meal and $32 without food and drink, said Tom Sheridan, the team’s director of ticket sales.

White Sox officials last week were still developing ticket prices for the 56 seats in the two upper tiers. They could fold the cost of food and drink into the ticket price, but no decisions have been made, Sheridan said. The 44 seats at ground level will be open to all ticket holders.

The 4Topps setup should provide a greater level of comfort for all bullpen bar patrons, Sheridan said. Under the old setup, “you had to turn on one cheek to see the game,” Sheridan said. Now, fans can watch the game and still have a face-to-face conversation with their seatmates.

Delaware North Sportservice runs the stadium’s general concessions and operates the Miller Lite Bullpen Sports Bar. As part of the upgrades, Sportservice is working with MillerCoors to name the outdoor seating area, said Matt Krauss, Sportservice’s operations manager.

> STANDING OVATIONS: The Charlotte Knights, the White Sox’s Class AAA affiliate, have selected Ovations Food Services as the food provider at their new ballpark opening in 2014, confirmed general manager Dan Rajkowski.
As of last week, the two parties were still negotiating the terms of a multiyear deal, Rajkowski said.

Ovations, a division of Comcast-Spectacor, has been the team’s concessionaire at Knights Stadium in Fort Mill, S.C., for five years.

BB&T Ballpark, an 8,500-seat facility being built in downtown Charlotte, will offer plenty of dining options through 18 regular suites, two dugout suites, two skyboxes reserved for nightly rentals, a home plate club and outfield picnic areas.
 
The home plate club, supported by an indoor lounge with glass walls in the top eight rows of the bowl, will be unique in the minor leagues, ballpark architect Martin DiNitto said. DiNitto’s firm, Ballpark Design Associates, designed the ballpark with Odell Architects.

“Kauffman Stadium has something similar, but this one will be 20 rows closer to home plate,” DiNitto said.

> DEW NOT DROP: The Milwaukee Brewers recently announced a new rock-climbing wall as part of the revamped Dew Deck at Miller Park, which team officials think is a first at an MLB facility.

To ensure the safety of fans climbing the 25-foot-high attraction in right field, the Brewers are in talks with Adventure Rock, a local climbing gym, to assist in operations, said Teddy Werner, the team’s senior director of business operations. As of last week, no deal was signed.

All climbers will be required to sign insurance waivers and wear helmets and harnesses, said Brewers Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger.

Team officials approached PepsiCo, owner of Mountain Dew, with the idea to build the wall as a tie-in to the soft drink brand’s focus on extreme sports, Schlesinger said.

The cost to build the wall is a little under $200,000. Total cost to renovate the 240-seat group space was about $500,000.

Don Muret can be reached at dmuret@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @breakground.

Coast to Coast

Research and Ratings