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  • Writer's picturePaul Baker

Campanelli Stadium - New England Knockouts


Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.86


Campanelli Stadium

1 Feinberg Way

Brockton, MA 02301



Year Opened: 2002

Capacity: 4,750


Can the Knockouts Go the Distance?

 

How many teams can say they had two official nicknames before they even took the field? When the Frontier League announced that they were granting a franchise to the city of Brockton, Massachusetts, the team held the standard name the team contest.

 

The winning entry, the Chowdahheads, was announced in November 2023. After a lukewarm reaction, the team pivoted to a new nickname, the Knockouts, a month later. This name reflects Brockton’s history of producing championship boxers, most notably Rocky Marciano and Marvelous Marvin Hagler.

 

It’s difficult to completely tell the story about the New England Knockouts without first mentioning the Brockton Rox. The Rox are the original tenants of Campanelli Stadium, debuting along with the ballpark in 2002. The Rox competed in the Northern and Can-Am Leagues until 2012 when the team downsized to summer college leagues.


This move was made not due to a lack of support, but due to mismanagement by the former ownership and city officials. The move to summer college ball was meant to be temporary until the team’s finances were squared away.  2024 will mark the Rox 13th season in the Futures League. The Knockouts and Rox, who are operated by the same ownership group, will share Campanelli Stadium.

 

Campanelli Stadium is named for Alfred Campanelli, who donated two million dollars to the City of Brockton for a project that would “substantially benefit the people of Brockton.” The city used this money to build the ballpark that would bear his name in 2002.

 

Food & Beverage 3

 

There are concession stands on either side of Campanelli Stadium, with only one stand open during Knockouts games. The menu offered does not stray far from ballpark standards, with hot dogs, burgers, sausage and pepper sandwiches, and chicken fingers anchoring the menu. A decent menu of snack items is also available here. An ice cream stand located on the third base side of the ballpark serves up Dippin’ Dots and other snack items.

 

Pepsi products are featured at Campanelli Stadium, available in both bottles and fountain cups. A decent variety of beer is sold at the concession stands, highlighted by offerings from local brewery Brockton Beer Company.

 

Atmosphere 3

 

The Knockouts serve up the standard minor league ballpark experience, anchored by the new video board in left-center field. This scoreboard is put to good use throughout the game with video clips, player stats, fan dance cams, and graphics. Music and sound effects play over the new sound system throughout the game. The goal here is to fill in those empty spaces throughout the game and to keep the fans entertained, which they do in spades.

 

The PA announcer adds some energy to the proceedings without being too over the top. The team is phasing out the typical between-innings filler with their own shenanigans, including the blazing rubber race and "RBPie" contest. The “foreth” inning chip contest, where a fan competes with a Knockout player to hit a golf ball closer to a flag placed in the outfield, has proven to be a highlight of every game thus far.

 


Neighborhood 3

 

Campanelli Stadium is located in the hardscrabble city of Brockton, a city of approximately 106,000 residents located 25 miles south of Boston. Originally named North Bridgewater, the city was later named in honor of Isaac Brock, the British commanding general at the Battle of Queenston Heights, the first major battle of the War of 1812. A couple of trivial facts about Brockton: during the Civil War it was the nation’s largest supplier of shoes, and it is the second windiest city in the United States.

 

Baseball fans visiting Brockton for a Knockouts game will not find much near the ballpark in terms of dining or lodging options, although Pho89, McMenamy's Seafood and Cheesesteak Charlies are solid choices. Just a few miles away, near Stonehill College, Stoneforge Grill and Brack’s Grill & Tap highlight the options. The Residence Inn here is a quality lodging option.

 

For fans visiting during the baseball season, there is no shortage of options in the area. As mentioned before, Boston is just 25 miles to the north, and the popular summer attractions of Cape Cod are just 35 miles to the southeast. The historic destinations of Plymouth, MA, and Newport, RI are both within an hour’s drive of Campanelli Stadium.

 

Fans 1

 

Local fans have been slow to check out the Knockouts thus far into their inaugural season. After about a dozen games, they rank last in the Frontier League in attendance, with an announced average of just over 500 fans per game. This figure is well behind the other teams in the circuit. Perhaps the Knockouts are just being more honest than the other teams. Less-than-ideal weather and the short run-up to the season hindered efforts, but an opening day crowd of under 1,300 fans still fell far short of expectations.

 

There is hope on the horizon, as crowds have started to grow with the arrival of warmer weather in Massachusetts. As the team becomes more established, it is hoped that fans will discover the value of a Knockout game. Stadium Journey will revisit this review to update as the season progresses.

 


Access 3

 

Campanelli Stadium is located on the campus of Brockton High School about a mile from Route 24, the highway which connects Fall River and much of the Massachusetts South Coast with the Greater Boston area. Interstates 495, 93, and 95 all pass within a short distance of Brockton.

 

While driving is the primary method to get to the ballpark, the Brockton Area Transit Authority’s number 3 bus does have a stop at the High School next door. The final bus departs at 9:30 pm, so plan accordingly. The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority’s Middleboro/Lakeville train brings passengers from downtown Brockton north to Boston (and soon south to Fall River and New Bedford) throughout the day until after midnight.

 

The Knockouts website advises visiting fans to park in the large lot at Brockton High School. This has proven to be problematic in the early season, as the path from the lot to Campanelli Stadium is unpaved, unlit, overgrown with brush, and strewn with trash. On opening night the path was even blocked by a fence, forcing fans to push their way through this barrier. For now, Stadium Journey advises that fans park in the lots along Feinberg Way behind the stadium. The businesses on this street do not charge for the use of their lots (at least not yet).

 

Most fans will enter Campanelli Stadium via the main entry plaza, where the ticket offices and team store are located. Additional entrances are located on the third base side of the ballpark and in the deep right field. No matter which entrance you use, you will be required to climb a set of stairs to reach the concourse level. There is an elevator located in the main plaza.

 

The seating bowl stretches from short left field around to the right field foul pole. An open concourse runs atop the seating bowl. Seating consists of red plastic stadium seats with decent legroom. Sections far down the right field line consist of metal bleachers with backs. All seats feature good views of the field, although there are a pair of strangely placed security cameras atop the first base dugout. A deck in right field provides a unique, if unfinished, spot from which you can take in the action.

 

Return on Investment 5

 

The Knockouts are promoting themselves as an affordable alternative to expensive ballparks in nearby Boston and Worcester. Tickets are priced at $8 (outfield reserved), $10 (upper infield) and $13 (lower infield). Waiting until game day to buy your tickets raises all prices by two dollars. In addition, there are ticket and concession specials during all weekday games. Two Dollar Tuesdays and Thirsty Thursdays highlight the options.

 

Parking is free in the lots near the ballpark, and while prices for some concession items may feel a bit high for this level of baseball, there are many bargains to be found throughout the menu.

 


Extras 2

 

Two retired numbers hang on Campanelli Stadium’s outfield wall. Brockton native sons Rocky Marciano (#49) and Marvelous Marvin Hagler (#62) are immortalized with their final victory totals. Behind the ballpark in the entry plaza to Marciano Stadium is a statue of Rocky Marciano. At 20 feet tall, it is noted to be the tallest statue of a sporting figure in the world.

 

An extra point is awarded to the work done by the city of Brockton and the ownership group to renovate virtually every inch of Campanelli Stadium and once again bring professional baseball to the city, honoring a promise made over a dozen years ago.

 

Final Thoughts

 

Can the Knockouts go the distance, or will they be another independent league TKO? Early returns are not promising, but this fight is far from over. While Campanelli Stadium doesn’t do anything new in terms of the facility itself or the game-day experience, this is a worthy addition to the Frontier League roster of ballparks.

 

Follow Paul Baker’s stadium journeys on Twitter and Instagram @PuckmanRI.

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