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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Oakes

Durham Bulls Athletic Park - Duke Blue Devils

Photos by Joseph Oakes, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.00

Durham Bulls Athletic Park 409 Blackwell St Durham, NC 27701

Year Opened: 1995

Capacity: 10,000

Durham Dukes

From 1937 until 2009, Jack Coombs Field was the home to Duke Baseball. In 2010, Duke began a partnership with the Durham Bulls and began playing their conference game at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park (DBAP). This agreement was expanded in 2016, Duke began playing the majority of their home games at the DBAP. The agreement called for Duke to play up to 36 games per year at the minor league park, a limited number of Duke practices, and a permanent Duke locker room and clubhouse at the facility. The DBAP sits in the midst of the American Tobacco District and offers plenty of restaurants and activities pre and post-game.

Food & Beverage 2

Unfortunately, due to the small crowd size, only 2-3 concessions stands are open for Duke games. Therefore, you do not get the concession variety and choices that you do for a Durham Bulls game. This is unfortunate since the DBAP has some of the best concession choices around for Durham Bulls games.

Concession choices for Duke games include hot dogs, chicken tenders, nachos, popcorn, peanuts, and candy. None of these choices really stand out, but will get you by if you are hungry. DBAP offers fountain Pepsi products for Duke games, as well as alcoholic beverages.

Atmosphere 3

With office buildings and restaurants rising up in the outfield, the DBAP is one of the most picturesque ballparks that you will visit. There is the blue monster that towers above left field, and sitting atop is the famous Snortin’ Bull from the movie Bull Durham. There is a huge video board in left field as well, and next to it is a manual scoreboard. Whenever Duke hits a home run, the Bull blows smoke out his nose and his eyes light up.

The DBAP offers great sight lines from any seat in the house. Since it is general admission seating for Duke games, you are free to select any seat you want. If it is warm and sunny, you will probably want to sit under the overhang in the upper level, but if you desire to sit in the sun, the lower level should be your choice.

There are also several picnic areas around the park, which are generally open during Duke games. Again, due to the small crowd size, you are free to sit pretty much wherever you want, except for the suites.

Neighborhood 5

The Durham Bulls Athletic Park and the surrounding American Tobacco Campus have revitalized downtown Durham in the last 10 years. There are a plethora of restaurants and bars surrounding the DBAP for a variety of pre and post-game activities. Be sure to visit the Tobacco Road Sports Café which sits above the blue monster above the left field wall. It offers great food, and several TV’s so you can keep up with other games. You can even watch the baseball game from the outdoor patio overlooking the field if you’d like. Other popular restaurants around at the American Tobacco Campus include Mellow Mushroom, Tyler’s Taproom, and the Bullpen.

For a complete list of restaurants surrounding the DBAP visit: American Tobacco Campus.

The Durham Performing Arts Center is only a couple blocks from the DBAP and offers a variety of concerts and performing arts shows. If you have extra time, just take a stroll around the American Tobacco Campus to take in the waterfalls and history of the area. If you need to spend the night, Aloft Downtown Durham is right next to the ballpark.

Fans 2

The fan support is about the only downside to a Duke baseball game. Unless Duke is playing NC State or UNC, only expect about 500-1000 fans in attendance. Therefore, the 10,000 seat ballpark can seem a bit cavernous for Duke games. However, the fans in attendance make noise and cheer for their Blue Devils. The roof over the seats can make the crowd noise from the few hundred fans in attendance sound even louder.

Access 4

The Durham Bulls Athletic Park is located right off the Durham Freeway (NC 147) in downtown Durham. Once you exit off of the Durham Freeway, you will be at the parking decks surrounding the American Tobacco Campus in a couple minutes. Parking is usually plentiful for Duke games, unless there is an event at the Durham Performing Arts Center.

If you are flying into town, the Raleigh Durham International Airport is only about 15 minutes away, Only the main DBAP entrance is open for Duke games. The concourse at the DBAP is spacious and easy to navigate. Concession and restroom lines are generally short due to the small crowd size.

Return on Investment 4

Tickets to Duke games at the DBAP are $8, which might seem high due to the small crowd size. However, there is a pretty good chance that you are going to see a ranked ACC opponent taking on the Blue Devils. Couple this with the fact that you can sit wherever you want, $8 is not a bad deal.

Concession prices are on par with what you would expect at any other college game, and parking at the nearby garages is $5. If you park on the street, down the road a little from the DBAP, it is free.

Extras 1

Duke baseball gets an extra point for playing at the DBAP, with all the amenities and restaurants surrounding the park. There is plenty to do before and after the game – all within walking distance!

Final Thoughts

While you will most likely want to visit the DBAP to see the Durham Bulls play, it is worth it to visit DBAP to see Duke play, especially if they are playing a weekend ACC series.

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