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Durham Bulls Athletic Park

Durham, NC

Home of the Durham Bulls

4.7

4.5

Durham Bulls Athletic Park (map it)
409 Blackwell St
Durham, NC 27701


Durham Bulls website

Durham Bulls Athletic Park website

Year Opened: 1995

Capacity: 10,000

There are no tickets available at this time.

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Hit the Bull, Enjoy the Game

The Durham Bulls are easily one of the most famous minor league franchises in baseball. That fame comes from the 1988 film "Bull Durham," a box-office hit that still tops critics lists as one of the best baseball films of all time. However, the club has a long and storied history before and since the movie. The first Durham team was known as the Tobacconists in 1902, ten years later the club would adopt the Bulls moniker.

For nearly all of its history, they played at the original Durham Athletic Park (known locally as the DAP). The old wooden bandbox was full of charm and thankfully, it still stands at its original location a short distance to the north. Perhaps, the popularity of the film allowed for the construction of a new Durham Bulls Athletic Park (D-BAP) in 1995.

The current park has undergone numerous renovations and expansions in its relatively short life. No longer the scrappy losers of their film counterparts, the Bulls made the jump to the Triple-A International League in 1998 the same year they began their current affiliation with the Tampa Bay Rays. This necessitated the first large restructuring of the park to its current 10,000-seat capacity. There have been five major renovations to the park, including changes in 2014 that nearly redesigned the park completely.

4.7

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    5

The Durham Bulls Athletic Park has a near major-league selection of food and drinks to keep you fed, going so far as to brew beer in the park itself.There's tons of ballpark grub to choose from.

The majority of food is on the main promenade in simply named concessions (HOT DOGS, BURGERS, BBQ, etc), or restaurant specific stands around the park. The main concessions are specialty dogs ($4-7), specialty burgers ($6-$8), wings ($8-$10), various sausages ($6-$7), the popular bacon on a stick ($5-$6), BBQ sandwiches and platters ($8.50-$12), and pizza ($4 a slice or $20 for a pie).

The Bull Durham Beer Company is brewing suds right at the top of the main entrance of the park, exhaling the smell of fermenting hops to everyone as they make their way up the stairs to the park. Varieties include the Lollygagger Kolch and Water Tower Wheat.

Bud, Miller, Fat Tire, Corona, Blue Moon, and Yuengling are served up more widely, including the Budweiser Bar on the Jackie Robinson Landing. Lynnwood Brewing Company, Old Hickory, Goose Island, Bull City Cider, White Street, Sierra Nevada, and Brooklyn Brewery are also on tap around the park at their own kiosks or other concessions. The cost of beer runs around $7, but all beer can be upgraded to a larger mason jar for $4 more. Woodbridge Winery even gets in on the act with their own shack in left field. Pepsi is the non-alcoholic drinks of choice around the park ($4 for a regular and $5 for a souvenir cup).

Atmosphere    5

DBAP features an evocative brick facade that is ever-present around the park.The area in the outfield is further elevated with stairs leading up and down in left and right field from plazas in those respective fields. Company and condo building of downtown Durham provide a backdrop for the baseball and the famous bull sign stands out proudly in left field..

Visitors can enjoy a walk around the outfield promenade that provides great views of the action and a trip around the park is definitely worth it. Overhangs provide shade and rain coverage from about first to third base.

Wool E. Bull is the beloved Bulls mascot and is part of the event from the opening of the gates to after the last pitch. He gets mobbed wherever he goes in the park-it is good to be the bull. He and the fan service team run the events between inning breaks, and while most are minor league standard silly contests and races, there are several events special to DBAP.

In their take on the character race, the Bull Durham Racers (giant foam-suited Nuke, Crash, and Annie from the movie) take a run around the park. And in a rare nod to the grounds crew, the "Diamond Cutters" come out and do a YMCA-ish frenetic dance number in the top of the seventh while dragging the infield.

Terrace View seats are probably the best bang for your buck. Outfield reserved seats offer a fine view of the game, but be prepared to deal with the sun until it sets in the middle innings. Protective netting has been extended full-height to the ends of each dugout, you'll need to go further out to see a completely unobstructed view of the game.

Neighborhood    5

Duke University is a mile or so to the west of the park, and it plays a big role in the goings on of the greater Durham area, providing a fairly recent renaissance and revitalization of the town.There are a ton of places to eat and drink in Durhams, and it depends on where you go.

The historic American Tobacco Campus adjacent to the ballpark has the Mellow Mushroom (pizza), Tyler's Restaurant and Taproom (pub grub), Cuban Revolution, Basan Bull (sushi), Nana Steak, and the Tobacco Road Sports Cafe (pub grub).

Slightly north on Main Street is another clutch of dozens of eateries in the area known as the Loop. There are streets and numbered alleys rife with destinations, including Revolution (American), Bull City Burgers, Taberna Tapas, Toast (Italian), Old Havana Sandwich Shop, and Scratch (American). If you're looking for fancy cocktails, live music, and bar eats, try out Alley Twenty-Six.

The Duke Performing Arts Center is active all summer, as is the Duke Lemur Center, an unexpected stop that is likely to be popular with the kids. The nearby Museum of Life + Science will handle the kiddies as well if they want more animals than lemurs, and the 21c Museum and the Durham Performing Arts Center will help satisfy art lovers looking for more.

The university driven nightlife is to be had in the Brightleaf District, while the American Tobacco Historic District (steps from the park) and Bennett Place Historic site is great for shoppers and diners who can take advantage of the shops and restaurants.

The new Aloft Durham Downtown is steps from the outfield gate, while further up the road are the artsy 21c Museum Hotel, the Durham Hotel, and the Durham Marriott City Center. However, you will have to head out of town on I-85 before you hit anything reasonably inexpensive.

Fans    5

The Bulls are in top half to top quarter of the International League attendance figures averaging nearly 80% capacity. There are a large contingent of families just out for an evening, but there are a sizable core of hardcore baseball fans and Bull-backers. The fans enjoy the in between inning contest and are loud throughout the ballgame.

Access    4

Durham Bulls Athletic Park is located right off of S.R. 147, about a mile south of I-85 and two miles east of the big interchange with 85 and S.R. 501.

There is an extensive transit system. GoDurham bus lines 10, 10A, 10S, 5, 5K, and 7 ($1 single fare/$2 day pass) all serve Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Forward-thinking, the Bulls have even teamed up with Uber, giving first-time visitors to the park a $20 credit on a ride to or from the game with the code DURHAMBULLS.

There are four lots for parking pass holders, but visitors can use the $5 South Parking Deck at American Tobacco. Other city lots further away only go for $3 or less if you're in the mood for a walk. If you show up early enough after the work parking clears out at 5 PM, you may also be able to grab a free street space, but those get snagged especially quickly so don't plan on it.

Return on Investment    4

The Durham Bulls offer one of the cheapest tickets in the minor leagues, not just Triple-A. Tickets start at $10 for a lower-level seat, but you must purchase a $5 concessions credit in addition to the seats. That is not a problem, since spending $5 means maybe a drink or two. Upper-level seats under the cover are also $10, with no required concessions purchase. Other upper-level seats are $9, outfield seats are $7, and when necessary, the team will sell grass seats for $6. Just looking around the area, the Bulls offer the second-cheapest ticket prices in the state of NC, and are a Triple-A team.

A $10 ticket, $5 parking, a $3.25 hot dog, and a $3 soda make Bulls games $21.25 per person, which is an absolute steal. Without question, this is one of the best values in sports.

Extras    5

One extra point for perhaps the most iconic "Hit Bull, Win Steak, Hit Grass, Win Salad" sign in left field. It has a place of honor at the park. It lights up with each Bulls home run, as well.

Another extra point for exterior third-base side of the park's commemorative walk with tiles celebrating accomplishments, affiliations, former management, announcers, and players-even the real Crash Davis.

The entrance plaza is flanked by fountains and statues of children playing baseball. The seating plaza overlooks the main entrance and has an exhibit painted on the brick columns about the history of baseball cards, along with bull statues, and a nearby giant plastic Wool E. Bull on a bench, always ready for pictures.

An additional point for the retired numbers of Crash Davis, Chipper Jones, Joe Morgan, Bill Evers, Charlie Montoyo, and Jackie Robinson.

One final point for the main team store at the center of the entrance plaza flanked on the right by an outpost of the hand-made East Coast Bat Company.

Final Thoughts

Durham Bulls Athletic Park is one of the true gems of the minor leagues. The team uses the slogan "Famous for Fun," and it is hard to argue with them. Durham Bulls Athletic Park is one of the best parks in the minors in nearly every area, and it is backed by one of the best fan bases in minor league baseball.

Durham Bulls Athletic Park

I absolutely loved your review.The combination of old and new works really well.I hope that I can see this place before I become senile.Your pictures were great as well.I am a fan of the bull,as you know,and the picture of the field out beyond the centerfield fence was terrific.Once again,outstanding review.

by jerry | May 30, 2013 09:30 AM

Click On "Crowd Reviews" for Another In Depth Review of DBAP from Sports Venue Fan.

One of the Best in Minor League Baseball

by Sports Venue Fan | Aug 18, 2014 08:02 PM

DBAP

Never been that I have not had a great time, food, atmosphere fellow fans. If you are in the area, it is a must visit

by Brad | Sep 17, 2014 11:11 AM

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Crowd Reviews

No Crash and Nuke at the D-BAP

Total Score: 4.43

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 3

In the heart of basketball country, where legendary names like Dean Smith and Mike Krzyzewski are commonplace, stands a minor league baseball gem. The Bulls have been a staple in Durham since 1913 and have been rather infamous ever since the release of the 1988 feature film Bull Durham. Although you won't find Crash Davis and Nuke Laloosh here, you will find a baseball experience that will rival any other in Triple A Baseball.

In 1998 the Durham Bulls made the jump from the Single A Carolina League to the Triple A International League. Named after current Bulls owner and CEO of Capitol Broadcasting, Jim Goodmon, Goodmon Field is always referred to as Durham Bulls Athletic Park or D-BAP. As the Triple A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, the Bulls have flourished boasting solid attendance and on-field success.

Durham Bulls Athletic Park - Home of the Durham Bulls

Total Score: 4.43

  • Food & Beverage: 3
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 4

Built in 1995, the Durham Bulls Athletic Park was part of the first wave of the minor league building boom. Following the template established by the 1992 opening of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the “DBAP” is a steel and brick construct – a “new” ballpark with the retro feel of the ballparks of the past.

Less than a mile from Durham Athletic Park, film site for the classic “Bull Durham” film and the prior home of the Bulls, the DBAP has been the centerpiece of a downtown revitalization. Shops, restaurants and office and residential buildings have all sprung up around the ballpark, where previously it was primarily the burned out shell of the historic American Tobacco District.

All Around Great Park

Total Score: 4.14

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 4

To me, this is one of the premiere minor league parks out there. Plenty of food options (inside and outside of the stadium), the seating is major league quality, and it's easy to get to. The lower level seats are just $10, a great deal. I also love the view from the monster out in left. This is a must-see park.

An enjoyable park

Total Score: 4.57

  • Food & Beverage: 3
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 4

It's a great setting for a ballpark, with downtown buildings surrounding the ballpark on 3 sides. There are numerous areas to watch the game, and each separate area brings unique characteristics into focus. Watching the game from atop the left field wall was particularly nice. Minus points for not having ice cream helmets (and no ice cream, for that matter), and a lack of Bull Durham movie memorabilia on hand. Lots of choices in the area for dining before and after the game.

Bull Durham 2.0

Total Score: 4.57

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

Back in the early 90s, the iconic Durham Bulls were considering a move to nearby Raleigh, NC. The team had just been moved up to Triple-A status, and the team needed to move from the much smaller Durham Athletic Park. Raleigh was trying hard to lure the Bulls, but the owner continued to work with Durham and finally settled on a deal that would keep the team in the city. The Durham Bulls Athletic Park (DBAP) opened in 1995 and consistently ranks as one of the top minor league stadiums in the country. For the 2014 season, the Bulls announced that they were renovating the stadium by replacing the seats, adding concessions in the outfield, putting video boards across the outfield wall, and other small additions that enhance an already great fan experience.

Hit the bull, enjoy the game

Total Score: 4.57

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

The Durham Bulls are easily one of the -- if not the -- most famous minor league franchises in baseball. That fame comes, of course, from the 1988 film "Bull Durham," a box-office hit that still tops critics lists as one of the best baseball films of all time. However, the Bulls have a long and storied history before and since the movie. The first Durham team was known as the Tobacconists in 1902, ten years later the club would adopt the Bulls moniker.

For nearly all that history, they played at the original Durham Athletic Park (known locally as the DAP). Perhaps, the popularity of the film allowed for the construction of a new Durham Bulls Athletic Park (DBAP) in 1995. The old wooden bandbox was full of charm and thankfully, it still stands at its original location a short distance to the north.

The current park has undergone numerous renovations and expansions in its relatively short life. No longer the scrappy losers of their film counterparts, the Bulls made the jump to the Triple-A International League in 1998, the same year they began their current affiliation with the Tampa Bay Rays. This necessitated the first large restructuring of the park to its current 10,000-seat capacity; it wouldn't be the last. There have been five major renovations to the park, including changes in 2014 that nearly redesigned the park completely. In addition to minor league baseball, the DBAP also hosts Duke Blue Devils and the North Carolina Central Eagles college baseball teams.

The Durham Bulls use the slogan "Famous for Fun," and it is hard to argue with them. Durham Bulls Athletic Park is one of the best parks in the minors in nearly every area, and it is backed by one of the best fan bases in minor league baseball.

Hit the bull, enjoy the game

Total Score: 4.71

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 5

The Durham Bulls are easily one of the most famous minor league franchises in baseball. That fame comes from the 1988 film "Bull Durham," a box-office hit that still tops critics lists as one of the best baseball films of all time. However, the club has a long and storied history before and since the movie. The first Durham team was known as the Tobacconists in 1902, ten years later the club would adopt the Bulls moniker.

For nearly all of its history, they played at the original Durham Athletic Park (known locally as the DAP). The old wooden bandbox was full of charm and thankfully, it still stands at its original location a short distance to the north. Perhaps, the popularity of the film allowed for the construction of a new Durham Bulls Athletic Park (D-BAP) in 1995.

The current park has undergone numerous renovations and expansions in its relatively short life. No longer the scrappy losers of their film counterparts, the Bulls made the jump to the Triple-A International League in 1998 the same year they began their current affiliation with the Tampa Bay Rays. This necessitated the first large restructuring of the park to its current 10,000-seat capacity. There have been five major renovations to the park, including changes in 2014 that nearly redesigned the park completely.

Bull Durham Modernized

Total Score: 4.71

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

Beautiful ballpark with many amenities. Enormous food and beverage selection to appeal to all fans. Sell-out crowds on weekday nights when not many people would attend a minor league baseball game. Situated right in the heart of downtown Durham with a modernized classic park. Fans interested and always loud. Easily accessible from the Southern Durham Highway. For $15, you can get a seat along the first or third base line and a $5 concession/merchandise credit. Parking is very reasonable (I found a lot across from the park for $5) and the staff is friendly and always willing to help. Scenes from the hit movie Bull Durham are used to help explain the rules of the park, putting a small twist on the usual boring PA voice. The Blue Monster in left field resembles the Green Monster at Fenway Park and has both a video board with statistics and the classic manual scoreboard. And of course, the bull on top of the Blue Monster lights up and snorts steam after every Bulls home run. If a player hits the bull, they win a steak dinner from a local restaurant and if they hit the grass, they win a salad from a local restaurant. One lucky fan will join the player in winning a meal. In-game promotions keep fans entertained and there is never a dull moment at the DBAP.

One of the Best in Minor League Baseball

Total Score: 4.57

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 4

Durham Bulls Athletic Park is a great example of how a baseball stadium can revitalize an area. Just a few years ago, downtown Durham was not much to look at. There was no reason to come down here. But, build a ballpark, then it gives people reason to come. Then American Tobacco opens across the street with shops, restaurants and a college. Then a performing arts center, then more condos, business and retail surrounding the ballpark. This is the right way to do it; too bad Atlanta was not watching! Now, I believe downtown Durham has more going on than its sister sister across the triangle, downtown Raleigh; another reason why not to build baseball stadiums and arenas in the middle of nowhere (PNC Arena). With the just completed renovations, this stadium is still like new.

Food & Beverage:
A lot of selections including local favorites. I recommend you either go behind left field to the Mexican food stand which is next to a Mexican-themed bar, or go all the way to the end of the concourse on the first base side, then take the elevator up to the Triangle Fish Fry, the 42 Bar, and Smokebox BBQ. The bar is great and gives you a view of the field. But, any ballpark must have a good hot dog, and I was sooo disappointed, which is why I did not score them a 5 in food. I first got one of their red hots, which was just ok. I then got a regular dog and I could not even finish it. It was that bad! Bulls executives: take a visit to Charlotte Knights and see why they use Sahlen's hot dogs; the best!!

Atmosphere:
Again, this is how ballparks should be build, downtown and let the rest of the development come. The stadium is a classic look but with all the amenities. Out front at the main gate are fountains and pre-game activity going on. I came on a rainy night and there was still a big enthusiastic crowd. They have a great 2-level main team store with a great selection. There are a lot of great areas to enjoy, like the bar, the area in left field, plenty of outside tables to enjoy your food, and the walk around the entire stadium, especially on top of the blue monster, so do walk the stadium. Here is where they made a mistake, now I know most games are not played in the rain, but on the night I was there is was raining. Other than the upper level seats under the roof and the stools at the outside bar, there are very few, and I mean very few areas to sit where you are protected from the rain. Like I said there are a ton of tables and chairs to sit and eat, but they are all unprotected. They could put a roof over the tables and chairs by the bar, and it would not affect any sight lines. On the concourse, there are maybe only a handful of tables and chairs near the main entrance, so we had to eat our food, and a lot of others as well, standing in the concourse in large areas where they could easily put in more tables and chairs. Plus there is no indoor restaurant open to the public, just a private club, which is also unfortunate.

Neighborhood:
There are a lot of restaurants within walking distance of the stadium. Just outside the gate there are four, then across the street in the American Tobacco complex there are several more; both sit-down and faster food. We stayed at the Marriott City Center and it was only a 10 minute 4-5 block walk from the hotel to the ballpark. The area is a great example of what to do with old factories and warehouses. Walking, I felt safe and there were a lot of people around.

Fans:
I thought the fans were great. Like I said we came on a rainy night so I thought were would be a skeleton crowd of a few die hards, but there was a big crowd on hand, and they stayed for the most part to the bitter end when the game was finally called. I have seen less at Major League games with similar weather.

Access:
The Durham Freeway, NC-147, runs right along the ballpark with exits right there, so getting there from I-40, I-85, and other areas of the city and the Triangle are easy. We walked from our hotel, but there looked like plenty of parking nearby in lots under the highway and in ramps in American Tobacco complex.

Return on Investment:
Our tickets were lower level and very low cost for Triple-A, compared to the gouging in Charlotte for the same level of play. The concession prices were reasonable, and again, there was a great selection; just stay away from the hot dogs! Plus, it's the Durham Bulls!

Extras
It's the Durham Bulls! Also, there are plenty of staff holding up "How may I help you?" signs to help fans, so the customer service is great. The renovations have made this stadium even greater. But, they still need more covered tables and chairs, and an inside dining option for all fans, not just club seat holders.

Final Thoughts:
Again, this is how to do it! Any city looking to build a ball park needs to tour here; actually the day before representatives from Columbia SC were here touring the stadium as they prepare to build their new downtown ball park. A great night out seeing players on the verge of making the big show. Just get some better hot dogs!

Bulls Hit

Total Score: 4.57

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 4

Triple-A ball at this iconic park can be had for just $7 or so. The surrounding area is great for AAA ball. Great fans and lots to see and do before the game. Only minor quibbles with the access to the concourse from the seating bowl. Free parking on the street helps. Not to be missed!

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Local Food & Drink

Tobacco Road Sports Cafe  (map it!)

280 S Mangum St

Durham, NC 27701

(919) 937-9909

http://www.tobaccoroadsportscafe.com/about/index.html

The Cuban Revolution Restaurant  (map it!)

318 Blackwell St

Durham, NC 27701

(919) 687-4300

http://thecubanrevolution.com/

Dame's Chicken & Waffles  (map it!)

317 W Main St

Durham, NC 27701

(919) 682-9235

http://www.dameschickenwaffles.com

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