Dunn Tire Park

Coca-Cola Field (formerly Dunn Tire Park, North AmeriCare Park, Downtown Ballpark and Pilot Field) is a 18,025-seat baseball park in Buffalo, New York that hosted its first regular season baseball game on April 14, 1988, as the tenants of the facility, the Buffalo Bisons, defeated the Denver Zephyrs, 1-0.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards is often considered the trendsetter among American cities towards retro-styled, baseball-only stadiums located in downtown cores. However, the architectural firm that designed Camden Yards, HOK Sport (now known as Populous), originally implemented its design with Coca-Cola Field, which opened four years prior.

History

At the time of the stadium's construction, Buffalo was hoping to secure either an expansion Major League Baseball team or a relocated team. The Montreal Expos and Pittsburgh Pirates were often mentioned as a leading contender in the latter category and Buffalo was one of the five finalists in the 1993 National League expansion derby, which brought the Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins to Major League Baseball. When completed, however, the stadium seated fewer than 20,000 people. While this was a large number of seats for a minor-league facility, it was dwarfed by many major-league parks. Thus, the design made provisions for future expansion that would have allowed the seating capacity to grow to nearly 40,000 by adding an upper deck above the existing mezzanine should a major-league team decide to relocate to Buffalo.

In the first season the Bisons played at the stadium, the team shattered the previous minor-league attendance record, as many Buffalonians and visitors traveled downtown to enjoy the amenities offered by the new facility, which replaced the old War Memorial Stadium as the Bisons' home. In this first season, the Bisons outdrew a number of Major League teams.

After several years as Pilot Field, there was a dispute involving the naming rights to the stadium following Pilot Air Freight's defaulting on naming rights payments. For part of a season, the stadium was known locally simply as the "Downtown Ballpark." In July 1995, however, another company stepped in and acquired the naming rights, and the stadium became known as North AmeriCare Park. The stadium maintained this moniker for only a few years, however. Prior to the start of the 1999 season, Dunn Tire, a local chain of retail tire outlets, became the naming rights holder for the stadium, thus the name Dunn Tire Park. On December 17, 2008, the Buffalo News reported that a new naming deal has been reached, with the stadium renamed as Coca-Cola Field for the 2009 season.

Coca-Cola Field was also home to the Buffalo Nighthawks of the short-lived Ladies Professional Baseball League in 1998, when known as North Americare Park. Other events hosted at the stadium include the "Ballpark Brawl" annual wrestling events, and the annual National Buffalo Wing Festival on Labor Day Weekend. Also, it is the host of WYRK's TASTE of Country, and Kiss 98.5's "Kiss the Summer Hello".

Before the baseball field was built, the corner of Swan and Washington was the site of Ellsworth Statler's first hotel, Statler Hotel. It was later called the Hotel Buffalo after Statler built a new Statler Hotel on Niagara Square in 1923 and sold this one. Before the Statler Hotel here was St. John's Episcopal Church.

Coca-Cola Field is served by the Seneca station on the Buffalo Metro Rail.

As of 2011, after the closure of Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, the field will become the highest-capacity minor league baseball stadium in the United States.

The Goo Goo Dolls used the stadium back when it was named Pilot Field to film their music video for "There You Are."

On Wednesday, January 12th, the Buffalo Bisons announced that they have begun construction on a new state of the art video screen. The screen will be the largest high-definition LED video display in all of Minor League Baseball. The dimensions of the screen will be 80' x 33' which is over three times larger than the previous video board built in 1999. The screen will be built by Daktronics, Inc. of Brookings, South Dakota and is expected to be completed by opening day of the 2011 season. The project is projected to cost $2.5 million. Along with the announcement of the new video board on January 12th, 2011 the city of Buffalo announced that they will be financing a new energy efficient lighting system for Coca Cola Field. The new lighting system at Coca-Cola Field will cost over $970,000, contain fewer bulbs and emit more light

On July 11, 2012, Coca-Cola Field will be the site of the 25th Annual Triple-A All-Star Game.

Building Activity

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