banner
Bulls

DBAP to show off new look at Thursday's opener

Posted March 31

— The newest social hotspot in Durham opens Thursday.

With a renewed emphasis on the gameday experience and entertainment, the 18-year-old Durham Bulls Athletic Park broke ground on over $20 million worth of renovations as soon as the last pitch was hurled in September.

Fans will get to see the result when the Bulls begin the 2014 season Thursday at 6 p.m. (620 The Buzz) against the Gwinett Braves. Gates open at 5 p.m.

“These renovations are really a culmination of fan comments and season ticket holder comments and things we have noticed over the years,” said Mike Birling, Durham Bulls general manager. “There is nowhere that they are going to go where they don’t notice something different, which is fun.”

Changes start at the front entrance, which has lost the gates but gained a grand facade. On the concourse, nearly a dozen new concessions options have been added. Overlooking the field of play, just a few of the additions include a new picnic-style seating area in the right field corner, an expanded pavilion with a full-service bar along the right field line, a brand new club level behind home plate, a taqueria in left and enhanced social seating just over the right field wall.

“We tried to create other larger areas in different places so not everyone hangs out in the concourse waiting on food,” Birling said. “I think we have pretty much touched every part of the ballpark with something new and I think the fans are really going to be surprised and excited when they see it.

And for all the traditional upgrades, the overhaul did not skimp on technology either.

An enhanced WiFi integration will allow up to 8,000 simultaneous users – up from fewer than 2,000 a year ago at a stadium that seats 10,000. New speakers have been installed in the outfield so the patrons behind home plate will no longer be deafened at the expense of their cheap-seat brethren.  And there are more than 4,100 square feet of brand new, state-of-the-art HD video boards highlighted by a 2,048 square foot screen on the Blue Monster in left field.

“The video boards, in my mind, are just to enhance the experience and that’s what they are going to be used for,” Birling said. “Technology is a big part of the experience of fans now with social media and all of that, We want to create that, but we still want to be minor league baseball with our promotions and fun.”

The field of play itself is a brand new surface, the light banks are new and with the addition of the scoreboards, the dimensions of the field have even changed with the centerfield and rightfield walls coming in a few feet.

Plus, the Bulls will be wearing new-look uniforms unveiled this winter.

Cost and Impact
In May, the city of Durham and the Bulls agreed on a lease that will keep the baseball team in the DBAP through the 2033 season and have the team assume all operating costs. The deal is expected to save the city $10 million over the life of the contract, but initially, Durham would be on the hook for $12 million - $6 million in deferred funds and $6 million for general stadium improvements.

The renovations, which will exceed $20 million, used the $12 million from the city with the Bulls supplying the rest.

“From our end, we didn’t really have a set budget,” Birling said. “We just signed a new 30-year lease with the City of Durham and the whole point of that is to make sure this place is still looking like the incredible ballpark that it is for the next 30 years and I think we’ve accomplished that with these renovations.”

Time and money were also lost due to a particularly cold and wet winter. Crews lost over 50 work days because of snow and low temperatures that prevented certain projects such as the pouring of concrete. With opening day Thursday, however, crews have been working around the clock to get the final pieces in place.

While the stadium will not be in All-Star Game shape on opening day, fans can still expect a noticeable transformation and the idea of a finished product. When the national lights do come on at DBAP for the Triple-A Mid-Summer Classic, the stadium will undoubtedly be ready, however.

“We are trying to set ourselves up for big events like the ACC Tournament and the All-Star Game,” Birling said. “Now it’s just a matter of getting the games started and operationally getting used to all the changes.”

The Durham Bulls host the Gwinnett Braves Thursday at 6 p.m. (620 The Buzz). Gates open at 5 p.m.

9 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • pause to consider Apr 1, 10:59 a.m.

    I saw a picture from someone's office there yesterday and they'll be hard pressed to be completely ready for opening day. But as long as the beer is cold and the weather's nice, Game On!

  • Doc Holliday Mar 31, 9:38 p.m.

    Did they add bullet proof glass to the luxury boxes?

    — Posted by Super Hans

    lol.....that was kinda funny. It is a nice park though.

  • Gator Girll Mar 31, 4:57 p.m.

    After I drove past there a week or so ago I didn't think they would be done in time.

  • Bunghole Stench Mar 31, 3:17 p.m.

    Durham is really starting to come into it's own. I hardly get propositioned for sex or drugs when I go downtown now. It's kind of bittersweet.

  • kikinc Mar 31, 2:57 p.m.

    @ Super Hans, do they have bulletproof glass in St. Louis, B'more, K.C. or Raleigh? Go and enjoy... View More

    — Posted by gmuny33

    If you're talking about Cary, they already have a cyber crimes unit, which is why they're able to get the sickos.

    I can't wait to check out the DBAP at the end of the month. Just got tickets for the Scranton/WB series. It should be great!

  • BlueDeviIs00 Mar 31, 2:41 p.m.

    Can't wait to bring the family to the DBAP! I've been going for 20+ years and it seems to get better each year. The police presence is noticeable and I've never once seen or heard of any violence. The DBAP is a wonderful place to take your family and I know my daughter is highly anticipating the new taqueria!

  • gmuny33 Mar 31, 1:37 p.m.

    @ Super Hans, do they have bulletproof glass in St. Louis, B'more, K.C. or Raleigh? Go and enjoy the game and the atmosphere before you judge. Last I checked, many of the homeowners in your city need bulletproof glass and a child porn division.

  • tann84 Mar 31, 11:22 a.m.

    I'm def going to check out the dbap this year. The wifi improvement is key for me.

  • Mrs. Beasley Mar 31, 11:21 a.m.

    My brother has been going to opening day for 21 years straight!

  • NFL: Chicago at Detroit

    Tomorrow at 12:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Philadelphia at Dallas

    Tomorrow at 4:00 pm on FOX50

  • SEC: Arkansas at Missouri

    Friday at 2:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • HSFB: Football Friday with Tom Suiter

    Friday at 11:35 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: Duke vs. Furman

    Tonight at 5:00 on 620am

  • CBB: NC State vs. Richmond

    Tonight at 7:00 on WRAL-FM

  • NHL: Hurricanes at Florida

    Tonight at 7:30 on 99.9 The Fan

  • NFL: Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions

    Tomorrow at 12:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
ECU 58
FRES 52
Final
CIN 59
NCCU 50
 
12:00pm Today
UNC
BUT
 
2:30pm Today
ECU
HAW
 
5:00pm Tonight
DUKE
FUR
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
POR
 
7:00pm Tonight
NCSU
RICH
 
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
CAR
 
Final
WAS 102
ATL 106
Final
MIA 97
GSW 114
Final
MIL 98
DET 86
Final
NOP 89
SAC 99
Final
DEN 114
CHI 109
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
BRK
 
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
GSW
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
POR
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLE
WAS
 
7:30pm Tonight
DET
LAC
 
7:30pm Tonight
DAL
NYK
 
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
TOR
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
MIL
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
SAC
 
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
UTA
 
8:30pm Tonight
SAN
IND
 
9:00pm Tonight
PHO
DEN
 
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
MEM
 
Final
UMO 21
OHIO 24
Final
ECU 58
FRES 52
Final
ELON 74
MRGST 73
 
Final
MIZZ 61
PURD 82
Final
MAR 55
HAW 62
Final
UNF 77
LIB 57
 
Final
CHAM 85
BYU 121
Final
BUCK 58
MDES 55
Final
UGST 85
WCU 70
Final
UWGB 64
EVAN 62
Final
ARST 71
ALA 76
Final
OHIO 69
ARKPB 60
 
Final
UNH 75
BU 68
 
Final
OU 70
CHIST 57
Final
TOL 79
DET 82
Final
CLMB 57
FD 47
 
Final
QUIN 50
HART 54
 
Final
SFLA 71
HOF 70
Final
HARV 84
HOU 63
Final
BONA 79
JST 71
 
Final
STJOE 74
LIU 70
 
Final
SYR 70
GHND 37
 
Final
MLOWELL 102
MTIDA 57
 
Final
CIN 59
NCCU 50
 
Final
VT 54
NIOWA 73
Final
WOFF 82
OHVALLEY 54
 
Final
TEMPL 76
PENN 67
Final
RUTG 50
PETE 68
Final
BGU 62
SEMIZ 54
Final
LAS 73
Terriers 60
 
Final
UVA 79
TENST 36
Final
KENT 92
TXARL 44
Final
FSU 66
CITA 55
Final
PBY 63
TOCC 40
 
Final
COOK 56
TENNM 74
 
Final
WMARY 83
WILL 49
Final
USB 71
WKENT 61
 
Final
HIGH 88
WMPEACE 71
 
Final
SMU 72
ARK 78
Final
ARMY 80
BING 54
 
Final
CSOU 80
CARK 67
 
Final
UMBC 54
HOW 68
 
Final
ARZ 72
KYST 68
Final
OREG 63
VCU 77
Final
PSU 78
AKR 72
Final
SCST 92
CIU 55
 
Final
CREI 75
EILL 53
Final
ALAAM 61
JVST 67
 
Final
ABCHRIST 91
JCHR 65
 
Final
TXSA 57
LOYC 71
Final
NDST 64
MNCROOK 63
 
Final
NEB 80
NEOM 67
Final
VANDY 63
NORST 53
 
Final
STLU 57
NCAT 54
 
Final
MTST 65
NARZ 53
Final
TTU 75
NWST 64
 
Final
TULA 74
SOUTH 59
 
Final
ILLCH 87
STXAVIER 76
 
Final
TEX 78
RFLSH 46
Final
BRAD 52
TAMCC 38
 
Final
SMISS 72
TROY 70
Final
DRAK 73
IUPUI 60
Final
ARKST 58
LAM 63
 
Final
FLGC 62
USF 47
Final
COL 68
AFA 53
Final
IDAHO 75
BSU 86
Final
GRCN 64
BUF 80
 
Final
ORU 52
LALAF 76
Final
CHAR 74
MIAMI 77
Final
ISU 63
MD 72
Final
UMO 46
NW 55
Final
SACST 97
BRISTOL 63
 
Final
MICH 55
VILL 60
Final
SDST 74
PITT 57
Final
USC 53
CSFU 49
Final
STAN 84
DEL 47
12:00pm Today
UNC
BUT
 
12:00pm Today
FRES
MAR
 
12:00pm Today
CHAT
RMU
 
12:00pm Today
EMICH
ROCH
 
1:30pm Today
MRGST
LIB
 
2:00pm Today
HAMP
AMER
 
2:00pm Today
BEL
DEN
 
2:00pm Today
UMASS
NE
 
2:00pm Today
JMU
SHU
 
2:00pm Today
KNST
SAMF
 
2:30pm Today
ECU
HAW
 
2:30pm Today
CHAM
MIZZ
 
2:30pm Today
OKLA
UCLA
 
2:30pm Today
CCAR
LAMON
 
4:00pm Today
ELON
UNF
 
4:00pm Today
UWMIL
ORU
 
4:30pm Today
WCU
CHIST
 
5:00pm Tonight
DUKE
FUR
 
5:00pm Tonight
BYU
PURD
 
6:00pm Tonight
EVAN
USF
 
7:00pm Tonight
COL
GTDNS
 
7:00pm Tonight
VERM
BRY
 
7:00pm Tonight
OSU
CAMP
 
7:00pm Tonight
CORN
CAN
 
7:00pm Tonight
LOU
CLST
 
7:00pm Tonight
UCF
DAVID
 
7:00pm Tonight
IONA
DELST
 
7:00pm Tonight
OU
UGST
 
7:00pm Tonight
TOWS
GOUCHER
 
7:00pm Tonight
ND
GRAM
 
7:00pm Tonight
YALE
LAF
 
7:00pm Tonight
GWU
LONG
 
7:00pm Tonight
VT
UMO
 
7:00pm Tonight
WAKE
MNTER
 
7:00pm Tonight
NAVY
PSUHARRIS
 
7:00pm Tonight
NCSU
RICH
 
7:00pm Tonight
MINN
STJ
 
7:00pm Tonight
JVU
TRINBAPT
 
7:00pm Tonight
YOUNG
UMKC
 
7:00pm Tonight
UAB
WISC
 
7:30pm Tonight
PITT
KYST
 
7:30pm Tonight
WVU
VMI
 
8:00pm Tonight
DEP
LEH
 
8:00pm Tonight
UNT
MVSU
 
8:00pm Tonight
MARS
MORE
 
8:00pm Tonight
TCU
RAD
 
8:00pm Tonight
SELA
TENT
 
8:00pm Tonight
SMU
TXSOU
 
8:00pm Tonight
UTAH
TXPA
 
8:00pm Tonight
LMU
UCR
 
8:00pm Tonight
SCAR
UNCA
 
8:00pm Tonight
SD
WAYNEST
 
8:30pm Tonight
UWGB
FLGC
 
8:30pm Tonight
IOWA
NILL
 
9:00pm Tonight
ORST
AUB
 
9:00pm Tonight
MONT
CARROLLMT
 
9:00pm Tonight
SUTAH
EKENT
 
9:00pm Tonight
NMST
FAM
 
9:00pm Tonight
WYO
STET
 
9:05pm Tonight
EWASH
NKENTUCKY
 
9:05pm Tonight
IDST
WLVRN
 
9:30pm Tonight
GEOR
UF
 
9:30pm Tonight
GONZ
UGA
 
9:30pm Tonight
NIOWA
NW
 
10:00pm Tonight
SDST
ARZ
 
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
CPSL
 
10:00pm Tonight
UCD
UTST
 
10:30pm Tonight
NDAK
ALAST
 
11:00pm Tonight
CSNO
PORST
 
11:30pm Tonight
AKAN
PAC
 
11:30pm Tonight
OKST
TULSA
 
Final
CLB 2
WIN 4
Final
NAS 4
LOS 3
Final
STL 2
OTT 3
Final
DAL 3
EDM 2
Final
ARI 3
COL 4
Final
ANA 3
CAL 2
Final
VAN 2
NJD 0
7:00pm Tonight
NYI
WAS
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
WIN
 
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
CAR
 
7:30pm Tonight
TAM
NYR
 
7:30pm Tonight
DET
PHI
 
7:30pm Tonight
PIT
TOR
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
LOS
 
9:00pm Tonight
COL
CHI
 
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
CAL