Tampa Bay Rays

Charlotte Sports Park

Port St. Charlotte, FL

Year Opened: 1987 (renovated 2009)

Capacity: 7,670

Grade: 80 Ranking: FL: #11/14; Overall: TBD

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.  

March 13th 2010: Field Box
March 18th 2012: Field Box
March 11th 2013: Field Box
March 16th 2014: Field Box
March 15th 2016: Field Box

Click here to go to photo gallery

 

  • The (comparatively) low score really illustrates how great spring training parks have become, and how much better they are in Florida compared to a decade ago
  • The scores are relative, sometimes changing from year-to-year
  • Charlotte Sports Park was the first in a series of Grapefruit League (Florida) parks renovated in the 2010s, largely closing the gap between the fan spring training experience in Florida and Arizona
  • The boardwalk concept (destination outfield concourse, often with no berm) was emulated throughout Florida
  • Since the Charlotte Sports Park renovation in 2010, there have been 5 more extensive enhancements in the Grapefruit League (total 6), while there have only been 1 in Arizona during that time period
  • Compared to the others, this park mostly differs in the fact that not much money was spent to make the aesthetics unique or outstanding
  • The original Charlotte County Stadium was one of the ugliest of all time, so the goal was to make the renovated version presentable, but it wasn’t built with any design vision
  • Today, it is very presentable, just without the aesthetic intent of the others

 

Likes and Dislikes

Things I like:

  • I don’t grade this, but Charlotte Sports Park is perhaps the easiest place to get tickets in Florida, especially on the secondary market.  For the last 4 Rays games, we sat in the first row behind the dugout for under $35
  • Varied food options
  • Intimacy
  • 360-degree concourse with outfield boardwalk
  • Wide concourse around the infield
  • Tiki bar
  • New videoboard added in 2017
  • Rays branding
  • Kids Clubhouse

Things I don’t like:

  • The most isolated park in the Grapefruit League (within an area), perhaps all of spring training
  • Lack of aesthetic vision; bones of ballpark were maintained from previous era
  • Poor sightlines around home plate due to 80s design quirk
NEXT - Setting

Gallery

Scorecard:

Setting: 6.5/10

Location/Access: 6.5/10

Architecture & Aesthetics: 18/28

Exterior Design: 6/10

Interior Aesthetics: 10.5/15

Concourses: 1.5/3

Functionality: 20/25

Sightlines: 7.5/10

Seat Comfort: 4/5

Concourses: 5.5/7

Scoreboard: 3/3

Atmosphere: 13.5/17

Ballpark Personality: 8/10

Fan Support: 3.5/5

Ballpark Policies: 2/2

Amenities: 15/20

Concessions: 8.5/10

Premium Seats: 1.5/4

Sitting Areas: 3/4

Entertainment: 2/2

Conclusion

Bonus: 7

Final Score: 80