The Ottawa Baseball Stadium (formerly JetForm Park) is a baseball stadium in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada with a seating capacity of 10,332. The stadium is located in the city's east end near the interchange of Queensway and Vanier Parkway. It has been used for minor-league professional baseball and music concerts since 1993.History
The stadium was built to house the Ottawa Lynx of the International League and opened prior to the 1993 season. In its first season, the Lynx sold out 43 games and set an International League attendance record by averaging 9,772 fans per game. However, annual attendance steadily declined from there, except for a modest increase in 2001. By 2006, Ottawa had the lowest average attendance in the league. The Lynx relocated after the 2007 season.
After the departure of the Lynx, the City of Ottawa considered other proposals for the site but kept the stadium as a baseball facility for the following season. Among the proposals rejected by the city in 2007 were:
- conversion of the stadium into the "Steelback Centre", a variable-use complex that could host 25,000 for concerts and 15,000 for sporting events as proposed by Frank D'Angelo of Steelback Brewery;
- replacement of the stadium by a casino;
- replacement of the stadium with a larger Ottawa Congress Centre;
- redevelopment of the site as conventional retail or office space.
A new team, the Ottawa Rapidz of the Can-Am League, was established in December 2007 and began to play in 2008. Despite attracting higher attendance than the Lynx, the Rapidz declared bankruptcy on 29 September 2009. A new team, the Voyageurs, was announced by the Can-Am league for the 2009 season. However, the league was faced with a lack of prospective owners for the team and with declining economic conditions and disbanded the Voyageurs in March 2009.
The stadium remained unused in 2009 except for a late-August series of community baseball games sponsored by Ottawa city councillor Bob Monette. Earlier, following the demise of the Voyageurs, Monette had suggested that the stadium be dismantled and the land sold to generate funds which could be applied to a new sports venue.
In August 2009, area businessmen Dave Butler and Duncan MacDonald presented a proposal which would renovate the existing stadium facility for activities throughout the year, including use as a venue for Winterlude.
In January 2010, the Intercounty Baseball League voted 6-2 in favour of presenting the Ottawa Stadium Group with an expansion franchise that will play at the Ottawa Baseball Stadium On 10 March 2010, the IBL confirmed that the application for an IBL expansion franchise has been accepted and will play in the 2010 season at the stadium. The new team, the Ottawa Fat Cats, played its home opener on 15 May 2010. The Fat Cats continue to play at Ottawa Baseball Stadium to this day.Branding
Ottawa company JetForm first bought the naming rights to the Stadium. The name was changed to simply "Lynx Stadium" after the 2002 season when JetForm changed its name to Accelio. Accelio was in turn bought by Adobe Systems. For the 2008 season, the Rapidz marketed the stadium as "Rapidz Stadium".Design
The stadium is in the split-level design, with a concourse running around the middle of the seating bowl. This concourse is at street level, so fans in the "lower" seats walk down, and fans in the "upper" seats walk up. All seats are blue chair-back models. Concessions, restrooms, a gift shop, and a kids' play area are located along a wider concourse (also at street level) located underneath the upper seats.
The stadium also features skyboxes and the "Upper Deck" restaurant (open to all fans) perched behind home plate. While the windows do open, there is no outdoor seating at this level. Access is by elevator from the concourse below. There are open-air picnic tables down the left-field line which are also available to all fans.
Coventry Road runs along the left-field fence, and the game can easily be seen from the street while driving or walking. There is less than 50 feet (15 m) of buffer between the stadium wall and the road, so flying balls can occasionally pose a hazard to passing cars.Concerts
Concerts have been held at the stadium on rare occasions:
- 19 July 1998: Stardust Picnic with Blue Rodeo, Great Big Sea, 54-40, The Waltons and Weeping Tile;
- 20–21 September 2002: Molson Canadian Snowjam featuring Treble Charger, Dropkick Murphys, Goldfinger, Gob, Swollen Members, Simple Plan, Mudmen, and Bowling For Soup;
- 5 July 2007: Nickelback, Daughtry, Puddle of Mudd, State of Shock