Detroit Tigers

Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium

Lakeland, FL

Year Opened: 1966 (2003 and 2017 renovations)

Capacity: 9,000

Grade: 90.5 Ranking: FL: #2(t)/14; Overall: #5(t)/24*

Note: A full, in-depth review will come out in 2017-2018. The following bullet points consist of quick opening thoughts. Likes and dislikes will be extensively qualified in subsequent reviews. They also don’t contain detailed architectural or aesthetic observations.  

Many games attended from 2000-2016 before renovation
March 15th 2017, Field Box
March 18th 2017, 34′ Club
March 19th 2017, Field Box

Photo Gallery at bottom of page

*Note: There are 23 spring training ballparks, as 7 complexes are shared by two teams.  For the “Fan Support” score, I usually just split the difference, as differences in fan support don’t fundamentally alter the ballpark experience.  I found only one exception: Roger Dean Stadium, where the Cardinals (arguably possessing the best fanbase) and the Marlins (some would say the worst) play.  Thus, I split those two scores, which is why there are 24 different ballparks graded overall.
  • Overall, these new renovations were perhaps the best we’ve seen out of the 6 renovated Grapefruit League parks since 2010 in terms of enhancing and preserving the aesthetic appeal, improving functionality, and adding amenities
  • The Joker Marchant Stadium renovation was also a bit trickier than the other 5, as people already loved the look resulting from the 2003 enhancements, and they mostly succeeded
  • Tiger Town and Joker Marchant Stadium are classics, and that impression was still preserved throughout these new enhancements
  • This new round of renovations resulted in one of the best interior aesthetic designs, as a 360-degree concourse made a world of difference for the outfield look
  • Extra money was spent on the aesthetics of the left field berm area, and it shows
  • What’s most notable is the quality of the new amenities added
  • Premium spaces like the 34’ Club are unparalleled in all of spring training; it’s an all-inclusive, climate-controlled club available for season and single-game ticket purchases as you would find in major league baseball; it isn’t just a group space
  • There are also many party decks, and the berm bar is well designed
  • The Tigers added the largest kids’ entertainment area in spring training in the left field corner
  • Overall, Joker Marchant Stadium’s gorgeous aesthetics were enhanced, while the amenities added are some of the best in all of spring training
  • In fact, Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium is probably the best *ballpark* in the Grapefruit League, but we also factor in location
  • Lakeland is lovely, don’t get me wrong, but it will soon be the most isolated location in Florida, and the only one not near the coast or a major tourist destination; a ballpark is nothing without its location


Likes and Dislikes:

What I like:

  • Enhancement of excellent exterior and interior aesthetics
  • Joker Marchant statue
  • 360-degree concourse with fun standing room only areas
  • Spacious area beyond left field and in left field corner
  • Excellent videoboard
  • One of the best atmospheres in spring training
  • Detroit Coney Island concession stand beyond the berm
  • Strawberry Shortcake in-seat servers
  • Some of the best premium spaces in spring training, such as the 34’ club (named after the first year the Tigers trained in Lakeland)
  • Berm Bar
  • The best “entertainment” options in spring training: largest kids play area, “cornhole”, checkers (!), and even grass to play catch at the back of the Berm Bar

What I don’t like:

  • Most isolated location in the Grapefruit League
  • Box seats are restricted at any time before the game to get autographs, a rarity in spring training
  • Concessions are good, but probably could have been more significantly improved with renovations
  • While the bleachers were replaced with new fold down seats, the relatively seasoned (but nearly indistinguishable) old fold down seating from the 2003 renovations were not replaced
NEXT - Setting



Setting: 6.5/10

Location/Access: 6.5/10

Architecture & Aesthetics: 23.5/28

Exterior Design: 8.5/10

Interior Aesthetics: 13/15

Concourses: 2/3

Functionality: 19.5/25

Sightlines: 8/10

Seat Comfort: 3.5/5

Concourses: 5/7

Scoreboard: 3/3

Atmosphere: 15/17

Ballpark Personality: 9.5/10

Fan Support: 4.5/5

Ballpark Policies: 1/2

Amenities: 17/20

Concessions: 8/10

Premium Seats: 4/4

Sitting Areas: 3/4

Entertainment: 2/2


Bonus: 8

Final Score: 90.5