Photos by Marc Viquez Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.29
Day Air Ballpark 220 N Patterson St. Dayton, OH 45402
Year Opened: 2000 Capacity: 7,230
The Best Place in Dayton, Ohio
When you think about the Dayton Dragons, you have to think about “The Streak.” The streak of consecutive sold-out games currently stands at 1,385 heading into the ball club’s current season. This record was accomplished seven seasons ago went the team eclipsed the mark of 815 consecutive home sellouts that was established by the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers between 1977 and 1995.
The Dragons annually outdraw every other team in Class A, every team in Double-A, and all but nine teams in Triple-A. It also does not appear that this record will end anytime soon, because the Midwest League affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds still has a waiting list.
The accomplishment is quite impressive for the City of Dayton which had gone almost 50 years between minor league baseball before it returned in 2000. At the time of its planning, Day Air Ballpark was deemed by some people as a gamble, but the ballpark injects about $27.6 million annually into the regional economy and attracts about 7.2 million visitors annually.
The stadium has been the catalyst in the northeastern section of town, boosting other investments like the Water Street District, which turned unoccupied property and vacant buildings into fresh apartments, restaurants, and retail space. A total of $3 billion has been brought into downtown Dayton since the stadium's construction.
Food & Beverage 5
Day Air Ballpark features six permanent stands and multiple portables throughout the concourse that offer a selection of menu items for everyone to choose from when at the game. The familiar options that can be found along the main concourse include hot dogs, burgers, nachos, chicken sandwiches, chicken tenders, brats, veggie burgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, and drinks. Nachos are served in a souvenir batting helmet with all the toppings.
However, there is much more to the portable kiosks. A large smoker at the end of the third base concourse offers beef brisket and pulled pork sandwiches and nachos. There are also several sides of jalapeno corn slaw, mac, and cheese, and smoked corn on the cob.
The Dragons Fire Grill on the opposite side of the concourse offers specialty ½ pound burgers and serves two specialty burgers: the Hawaiian burger (pineapple and sweet chili) and the Dragon Fire burger (jalapeno, bacon, and ghost pepper sauce).
Smokies Sausage Shack features foot-long smoked sausages served with grilled peppers and onions. The smell alone will attract most visitors to the area, along with Steakadelphia, which offers Philly nachos and cheesesteaks.
If you have a sweet tooth, the stadium treats include Greater's Ice Cream, Kona Ice, Sweet P’s Ice Pops, Dippin’ Dots, funnel cakes, and cotton candy. Pepsi products are the drink of choice at the stadium.
The alcoholic beverages are varied and are located in the main concession areas and portable kiosks. The Yuengling stand offers four varieties on tap: Lager, Black & Tan, Flight, and Light. Moeller Brew Barn is in the left-field corner and serves six varieties: Wally Post Red, Blueberry Blonde, Orange Peel Krush, and Peach Wheat.
Other drink options include various macro brews, Nutrl Vodka Seltzer, High Noon Vodka Soda, Spiked Ice Tea, Cutwater Tea, and a Moscow Mule served in a souvenir Dragon’s chalice.
Day Air Ballpark has a wraparound concourse that offers a game-day atmosphere that is highly energetic throughout the season. The concourse is crowded from dugout to dugout, with the smell of onions and peppers from multiple grills, music from the sound system, and fans talking to each other. The outfield area opens with numerous seating options ranging from barstools to grassy berms.
There are plenty of places to have a seat from a second-level area, four party decks, and grass seating down the third base foul line and behind the right field wall. One of the party decks is the Dragon’s Lair in the left-field corner, including table seating and food service. Another new seating option is the bar stool seats that line up along both foul poles.
The Sam Adams Pub and Detmer & Sons Cafe Deck are located next to each other on the first base side of the venue. They do not provide the best views of the field from each section, but they offer a festive atmosphere for large groups where not everyone is a baseball fan.
Gem and Heater are two visible mascots that can be spotted throughout the game. They dance in-between innings on top of the home dugout, walk through the concourse meeting with fans, and pose for pictures. The double dragon scoreboard features a video screen, and smoke comes out of the dragons’ noses after every home run by the home team.
Day Air Ballpark is in the Water Street District of Dayton and a few steps away from a couple of breweries and restaurants, along with being a 5-minute walk from the Oregon District that features more dining and late-night options.
Lock 27 Brewing is within a stone’s throw of the stadium, offering food service, patio seating, and a $4.25 Hank’s Ale on tap. Behind the right field fence and across the street is Moeller Brew Barn, with patio views of the ballpark and more freshly made beer on site. A few yards down the is Local Cantina Mexican restaurant, Brixx Ice Company, and the Canal Street Arcade & Deli.
The Oregon District is a 12-square-block neighborhood with brick streets and buildings dating back to 1820. The district is now home to art galleries, specialty shops, nightclubs, pubs, restaurants, and coffee houses.
The fan base has been a juggernaut for the last two decades, with a consecutive sellout streak that has been second to none in the professional rankings. Many of the fans have grown up rooting for the nearby Cincinnati Reds, and being a farm team of the club makes coming out to the game that much more of an experience; however, the response by the local populace has paid higher dividends since it keeps people in town and provides a sense of pride.
The downtown ballpark is easy to get in and out of for home games. Traffic moves smoothly after games, various lots offer parking, and police presence gives a sense of safety after night games.
Three main entrances lead into the venue; 65 percent enter through the main entry point behind center-field and public plaza. The second main entrance is behind the right-field corner of the stadium.
Inside the ballpark, the wraparound concourse opens the stadium up to concession areas, exits/entrances, popular meeting spots, and designated food and beverage areas.
Return on Investment 4
The Dragons offer two separate prices for home game tickets: $10 for lawn seating and $20 for stadium seating. The concept of having only two areas for picking is intriguing since the majority of the league has at least three price points. The parking lots near the ballpark charge between $8-$10, but there is free meter parking on Saturdays and Sundays, and after 6 pm Monday to Friday nights.
Day Air Ballpark earns a point for its different vantage points, which include barstool seating along the foul lines, grass berm spots, and party decks.
A second point goes to the neighborhood location of old buildings being renovated into shops, breweries, restaurants, and lofts. There is more to come in the future years.
A third point is awarded for the home run celebration that includes a loud horn and smoke blowing out of the double dragon scoreboard.
A fourth and final point is awarded to the mascots Gem and Heater, a very active couple that spends time dancing between innings and shaking hands on the concourse.
Day Air Ballpark has been a mainstay in Dayton since the turn of the century, the enthusiasm by its fans has been clear since day one and as each home game is played, the Dragons establish a record of consecutive sellouts. The surrounding neighborhood is a hub of activity before and after the game, and downtown Dayton is once again full of life.