Great American Ball Park - Cincinnati Reds tickets

Great American Ball Park

Cincinnati, Ohio

Tenant: Cincinnati Reds (NL)
Groundbreaking: October 4, 2000
Opened: March 28, 2003 (exhibition against the Cleveland Indians)
First regular season game: March 31, 2003 (against the Pittsburgh Pirates)
Style: Open air
Surface: Grass
Capacity: 42,059 (baseball only)

Architects: HOK Sport (Kansas City); GBBN Architects (Cincinnati)
Construction: Hunt Construction Group, Inc. (Indianapolis)
Owner: City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County
Cost: $325 million
Public financing: $280 million, or 86 percent, primarily from a half-cent-per-dollar sales tax increase approved by the voters in 1996
Private financing: $45 million, or 14 percent, primarily from a naming rights deal with Great American Insurance Company
Lease: 35 years (2003-2037); $2.5 million annually for the first 9 years; One dollar annually for the final 26 years; The Reds keep all revenue generated by the ballpark

Cincinnati Reds tickets:

Location: Left field (E), Broadway; third base (N), Pete Rose Way and I-71; first base (W), Johnny Bench Boulevard; right field (S), Mehring Way, railroad tracks, and the Ohio River.

Dimensions: Left field foul pole: 328 feet; left field power alley: 379 feet; center field: 404 feet; right field power alley: 370 feet; right field foul pole: 325 feet; backstop: 55 feet; foul territory: small.

Fences: Left field: 12 feet; center field: 8 feet; right field: 8 feet.

across the river

In March of 1996, Cincinnati voters approved a half-cent-per-dollar sales tax increase to build separate stadiums for Cincinnati's Reds and Bengals. The budget at the time for both stadiums was $544 million. However, the Bengals new stadium alone exceed that amount.

Negotiations between the Reds and the City of Cincinnati dragged on for years. A major reason for the delay was that Reds ownership had been slow to spend a lot of money, both their own and taxpayer, on a new stadium. There were several proposals put forward by various factions, but in November of 1998, Cincinnati voters chose to build a stadium on the waterfront and ruled out a popular ballpark proposal referred to as Broadway Commons.

Construction began in October 2000 and was completed in time for the 2003 season. The new ballpark was "wedged" between Firstar Center and old Riverfront Stadium, allowing games to be played in the old stadium while the new one was built. It also meant that no new land had to be purchased. In March 1999, Hamilton County commissioners approved a ballpark which opened up to the Ohio River, the configuration that was favored by the Reds. The new stadium faces 40° further south than Riverfront Stadium, meaning batters face southeast.

outside the ballpark

The exterior facades of the ballpark are brick with a cast stone base and details. The major structure is painted steel. The brick is a reference to the architecture of Cincinnati, while the cast stone provides a strong base and references the image of the famous Roebling Suspension Bridge nearby.

The arrangement of the seating areas were designed to be more recognizable neighborhood areas, not like the repetitive round seating at Riverfront Stadium. A distinctive notch separates sections of the upper decks, opening the ballpark to the city and allowing seating areas that are closer to the field than most upper decks in baseball. A bridge in the notch allows for some exciting concourse views into the field.

The Reds continued to play baseball in Riverfront Stadium while they awaited their new ballpark. However, a large section of the outfield stands in the old stadium were removed in late 2000 to make room for construction. Once the new ballpark was completed, Riverfront Stadium was demolished. A plaza connecting Cincinnati's new baseball and football stadiums was built in its place.

On July 7, 2000 the Reds announced a naming rights deal with the Great American Insurance Company to call the stadium the "Great American Ball Park. The $75 million deal called for the Reds to receive $2.5 million annually for 30 years, beginning in 2003.

main entrance

More on Great American Ball Park:

Great American Ball Park Trivia:

  • George W. Bush became the first sitting president to throw a ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day in Cincinnati here on April 3, 2006.
  • Crosley Terrace, inspired by the former Reds ballpark, is the main entry plaza at 2nd and Main. It features statues, benches and landscaped grass areas built at the same incline as those at old Crosley Field.
  • The Reds Hall of Fame is located on the western edge of the ballpark.
  • A replica of the Longines clock from Crosley Field is located on the top of the main scoreboard.
  • An out-of-town scoreboard is installed in the left field wall and allows for other game scores to be displayed at the same time and continuously.
  • Two 64-foot-high smokestacks with a riverboat theme in right field spew fireworks and mist after Reds' home runs, stellar plays or victories.
  • Most main concourses are forty feet wide as compared to twenty feet wide in the green level at Riverfront Stadium.
  • A quote band is located on the northern edge of the ballpark, which faces downtown, displaying phrases or sayings that best represent the Reds.
  • The ballpark has 17 men's restrooms with 253 toilets, 17 women's restrooms with 272 toilets and 6 family toilets.
  • There are 27 concession stands and 215 points of sale.

Recommended Reading (bibliography):

  • Opening Day at Great American Ball Park by Dann Stupp.
  • Riverfront Stadium: Home of the Big Red Machine by Mike Shannon.
  • Fodor's Baseball Vacations, 3rd Edition: Great Family Trips to Minor League and Classic Major League Ballparks Across America by Bruce Adams and Margaret Engel.
  • The Ultimate Baseball Road-Trip: A Fan's Guide to Major League Stadiums by Joshua Pahigian and Kevin O'Connell.
  • Joe Mock's Ballpark Guide by Joe Mock.
  • Take Me Out to the Ballpark: An Illustrated Tour of Baseball Parks Past and Present by Josh Leventhal and Jessica Macmurray.
  • The Ballpark Book: A Journey Through the Fields of Baseball Magic (Revised Edition) by Ron Smith and Kevin Belford.
  • Ballparks: A Panoramic History by Marc Sandalow and Jim Sutton.
  • Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit (2nd Edition) by Joanna Cagan and Neil deMause.
  • Public Dollars, Private Stadiums: The Battle over Building Sports Stadiums by Kevin J. Delaney and Rick Eckstein.
  • Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums by Roger G. Noll and Andrew Zimbalist.

Great American Ball Park seating diagramPalace of the FansCrosley FieldRiverfront Stadium

Cincinnati Reds
Great American Ball Park
100 Main St.
Cincinnati, OH 45202

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IMAGES:

Aerial view of Great American Ball Park © 2003 by Mike Smith.
View of Great American Ball Park from across the Ohio River © 2003 Russ Andorka.
All other images courtesy of the Cincinnati Reds.

Updated April 2006

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