Northeast Delta Dental Stadium – New Hampshire Fisher Cats
Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.57
Northeast Delta Dental Stadium One Line Drive Manchester, NH 03102
Year Opened: 2005
Blue Jays in Red Sox Nation
Some ballparks have names that just roll off the tongue. Others have names that easily translate into catchy nicknames. Alas, the ballpark in Manchester, New Hampshire has never enjoyed either of these luxuries. Born in 2005 as Fisher Cats Ballpark, the ballpark was re-christened as MerchantsAuto.com Stadium in 2006. In 2011 Northeast Delta Dental insurance entered into a ten year naming rights deal.
The ballpark was built on the site of the former Singer Park in the Manchester Millyard, a soccer stadium that was also used for circuses, carnivals, and summer concerts. The grounds are notable for being the site where bricks from the Arms Textile Mill are buried. The Arms Textile Mill was the site of the deadliest outbreak of anthrax in United States history.
While the ballpark sits on the banks of the Merrimack River, it is situated so that the field faces away from the river, towards downtown Manchester. As a result, the river is not visible except from certain parts of the concourse. The dominating feature of this ballpark is the Hilton Garden Inn, which towers over the field in deep left-center field. Many rooms feature views of the ballpark, and there is a patio from which hotel guests can sit and take in the action.
The Fisher Cats have won three Eastern League championships since moving to New Hampshire from New Haven, CT. Over 100 former Fisher Cats have made their way to the Major Leagues after spending time in Manchester. The team now competes in the newly reconfigured AA-East League North Division.
Food & Beverage 4
For a stadium the size of Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, there is an impressive variety of concession options to be found.
The centerpiece of the dining experience here is the Sam Adams Brewhouse, located at the top of the stairs as you enter the ballpark. Open to all ticket holders two hours before and after the game, the Brewhouse features a seating area that overlooks the field, several high-definition televisions, an 85-foot-long Mahogany bar, and live music on the new Tiki bar stage every Thursday-Saturday. The Brewhouse can also be reserved for private functions.
All your ballpark standards can be found at the many concession stands around Northeast Delta Dental Stadium. In addition to hot dogs, burgers, sausage sandwiches and chicken tenders are Sal’s Pizza slices. Fans looking for something a little different may select burritos or pulled pork sandwiches. For those looking for healthy alternatives, assorted wraps are sold.
Fans looking to save a few dollars can combine a hot dog, burger or chicken tenders with chips and a bottle of soda to make a combo meal.
Bottled Coca-Cola products are featured at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, and a good selection of beer is available, including Sam Adams, Miller Lite and Coors Light, as well as local craft favorites from Moat Mountain, Woodstock Inn and Smutty Nose Breweries.
The Fisher Cats offer the typical minor league gameday presentation, starting with a couple dozen first pitches and continuing with distractions aplenty throughout the game. All your typical in-game hijinks can be found here, including sumo wrestling and other between inning contests. Younger fans in attendance will gravitate towards the Planet Fitness play area at the far end of the concourse, while the adults in attendance will likely head to the social area outside of the Sam Adams Brewhouse.
New for the 2021 season is a video board, which displays game stats, replays and player information. It’s utilized well in the promotions that occur throughout the game. Fans who prefer a more old-school approach should check out the hand-operated scoreboard in the left field wall.
Manchester is New Hampshire’s largest city, located about an hour’s drive northwest of Boston via Interstate 93. Northeast Delta Dental Stadium is located on the banks of the Merrimack River on the opposite side of the river from the highway, a short distance from downtown Manchester.
Aside from the Hilton Garden Inn and the Sam Adams Brewhouse, which are basically part of the ballpark, there is not much in the immediate vicinity of Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.
Visiting fans looking for places to eat or drink will find no shortage of places in downtown Manchester about a mile from the ballpark. The Red Arrow Diner is perhaps Manchester’s most famous eatery, having been open for close to a century. It’s a favorite stop for politicians campaigning in the area and locals alike. Open 24 hours, it’s known for its enormous portions of comfort food and all-day breakfast.
Less than an hour north of Manchester are the White Mountains, which contain some excellent ski resorts. In the summer many mountain areas convert into summer vacation destinations. Favorite attractions such as Lake Winnipesaukee and the numerous touristy spots along the Kancamangus Highway are just a short drive away.
The Fisher Cats annually finish in the middle of the Eastern League attendance rankings, averaging a shade under 5,000 fans per game. Being affiliated with the Toronto Blue Jays while located in the middle of Red Sox country is hardly a recipe for success, but the Fisher Cats have a dedicated, enthusiastic fan base.
As is typical in minor league parks throughout the country, crowds in Manchester are a mixture of die-hard baseball fans and families. With the constant on-field shenanigans and things to do for young and old fans alike, there’s solid energy coming from the stands.
While Northeast Delta Dental Stadium’s location right off Interstate 293 in downtown Manchester would seem most convenient, getting in and out of the area can be difficult. The ballpark is located on a dead-end street with only one way in and out, meaning you shouldn’t be in a hurry, especially when leaving after the game. In fact, many Fisher Cats fans choose to park in the lots further from the ballpark because these lots are much easier to get out of.
At the ballpark, fans enter via a staircase that deposits them onto the concourse in deep left field. Here visiting fans will notice the upgrades to the entry plaza, which included new tiered seating, a stage for musical performances, a social area, tiki bar and rock waterfall.
The concourse wraps around the field to deep right field. The open concourse, located at the top of the seating bowls, allows for views of the field from all spots. All the seats here are green plastic stadium chairs, except for section 117 in right field, which is made up of metal bleachers. Unfortunately, the seating bowl is not angled towards home plate, meaning seats further down the lines face centerfield.
The concourse is somewhat narrow and can be difficult to navigate when there is a large crowd in attendance. Restrooms are clean, and large enough for the typical Fisher Cat crowd.
Return on Investment 3
Tickets to Fisher Cats games cost $12 if purchased in advance or $14 on the day of the game. Seats in the furthest two sections down the left field line are priced at $8 in advance, $10 of game day. For an additional $3 you can purchase Assurance tickets, which allows you to transfer the tickets to another game if your plans change.
Parking in the many small lots near Northeast Delta Dental Stadium costs ten dollars. Fans can plan ahead and purchase tickets in the Fisher Cats lot and SNHU garage closest to the ballpark. There are cheaper alternatives further from the ballpark, but these lots may involve a decent walk. There is some on-street parking near the ballpark and in the downtown area, but these spots are snatched up quickly. Pay attention to the times meters are in effect, as these spots may cost you depending on the time of the game.
Concession prices are generally in line with other venues in the area.
An extra point is awarded for the Hilton Garden Inn that towers over the field and the Sam Adams Bar and Grill, two very unique features in an otherwise plain ballpark.
Three retired numbers hang on the right field fence honoring individuals who never suited up for the Fisher Cats; 42 (Jackie Robinson), 83 (in honor of Manchester police officer Michael Briggs, who was killed in the line of duty) and 29 (local resident and major leaguer Chris Carpenter).
The latest rounds of renovations to Northeast Delta Dental Stadium added tiered seating to the area in front of the Sam Adams Brewhouse, a tiki bar and stage which features live music before Thursday, Friday and Saturday night games. It gives a jolt of energy to the first part of the ballpark most fans see when they enter the facility.
A Toronto farm team in the middle of Red Sox territory has to work harder to keep the fans coming, and the Fisher Cats staff do a great job filling Northeast Delta Dental Stadium year after year. While this may not be the most memorable ballpark out there, there’s plenty going on in Manchester to make a trip here worthwhile.