Photos by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.29
Peoria Sports Complex 16101 N. 83rd Ave Peoria, AZ 85382
Year Opened: 1994 Capacity: 12,518
Seattle Spring Training in Peoria
The Seattle Mariners have always held their spring training in Arizona. First at Tempe Diablo Stadium from 1977 – 1993, then moved to the Peoria Sports Complex when it opened in 1994. The complex is the first MLB spring training facility shared by two teams, the norm today. The San Diego Padres also use the complex for their spring training facility.
The Arizona Fall League Peoria Javelinas also make Peoria Sports Complex its home. Baseball uses the venue for extended spring training and instructional leagues throughout the year. The city holds other private and community events and festivals at the complex. NPB (Nippon Professional Baseball) Nippon-Ham Fighters and KBO (Korean Baseball Organization) Doosan Bears, Lotte Giants and NC Dinos have used the facility for their spring training in the past.
Peoria Sports Complex is owned and managed by the city of Peoria and is a favorite amoungst spring training travellers. Most of the game day personnel consists of extremely helpful and friendly volunteers of the Peoria Diamond Club whose efforts raise funds for local youth charities and organizations. Remember to purchase a 50/50 raffle at the game to help with their admirable purpose.
Food & Beverage 5
Hungry Mariner fans will find all the traditional stadium fare and then some at the ballpark. Permanent concession stands, tempting food trucks and kiosks populate the inner and outer concourse.
Hot dogs, sausage, chicken tenders, burgers, fries, etc. run $9.50 – $12. Popcorn, nachos, pretzels, peanuts, Cracker Jack, chips, and candy are all for sale. A value meal – a jumbo hot dog, chips, and small soda is $11.
Other yummy offerings include rice and noodle bowls ($13), Salsa street tacos, burritos and margaritas, Chicago hot dogs, Philly cheesesteaks, Haymaker BBQ and pulled pork or chicken ($14).
Craft beer choices are found in tents and carts along the outfield with local Four Peaks, California-based Alesmith, PizzaPort, and others for sale. If you’re a craft beer connoisseur, we suggest you stroll and visit some of these outfield choices. Sodas (Pepsi brands) cost $5.75/$8 with a souvenir refill a $1. Beer sells for $12 – $16 in cans and on draft.
The prices listed do not include tax.
Peoria Sports Complex is the perfect place for spring ball.
The game day operation staff posts the starting lineups on whiteboards near the home plate and the outfield entrances. They play vintage baseball video clips on the video board when the gates open. And they play baseball music like ‘Put Me in Coach’ and the like. A perfect start to a spring training game!
The music volume level is perfect and is mostly turned off when the PA announcer talks. Music is only played between batters and innings, none during at-bats and between pitches, which is a relief. The music person does play music when the announcer calls the starting lineup, but fans can still hear the announcer.
The stadium boasts an easy-to-read scoreboard; it is the best in the Cactus League. The words are big enough that fans can read them without binoculars; the scoreboard displays both lineups (player’s name, number, and position). It highlights the player at the plate and indicates the inning’s previous plays. It shows the line score, balls, outs, strikes, and the pitch MPH. Advertisements are not broadcast during play, only between ½ innings and those tend to be local sponsors. The scoreboard provides games like a hat shuffle between innings to help entertain the crowd.
Fans can stroll the entire circumference of the stadium, including a small bridge (overpass) down the first baseline. The Mariners dugout is on the third base side. Seats are blue stadium fold-down seats on three levels with a walkway between the first two. The seats have plenty of legroom but are a tad narrow. The upper rows in the infield get shade first. Bleachers are down the first baseline in the second level. A thin net suspends to the ends of dugouts. The last three or four seating sections are net free. Plenty of berm seating is available in the outfield. Fans can peer over the bullpens in the berm area.
Built in 2016, the Colonnade, on the third base side, is an indoor space for groups and events to enjoy the game.
Finally, a unique feature at Peoria Sports Complex is the splash pad. It is a play area shaped like a ship with misting fans, picnic tables, and a small baseball field. Kids have a great time here.
The stadium is in the heart of the P83 Entertainment District in Peoria, AZ, a northwest suburb of Phoenix.
Retail, restaurants, hotels, apartment and office complexes, movie theaters, and more shopping all abound next to the stadium, mostly on the north side. Over 15 restaurants, bars, and fast food are within a block or two. Many are chain restaurants if that’s what you prefer. However, we recommend The Social on 83rd (good for weekend brunch). Get 10% off if you show a spring training ticket stub. We also suggest Pho For Days (Vietnamese) and Revolu Modern Taqueria + Bar (Mexican).
Besides shopping, both a Harkins and an AMC movie theater are nearby, as is an Air Trampoline and Adventure Park for those a little more adventurous. If you’re looking to get in a few easy steps, take a stroll (or bike ride) on New River Trail. Downtown Phoenix is around 20 miles.
Several hotels are within walking distance. The LaQuinta Inn & Suites is the closest. A Hampton Inn, Comfort Suite, and Residence Inn are .3 miles from the park. Keep in mind that prices for hotels almost double during the spring training season.
Stay an extra day or two and watch the San Diego Padres spring training as they also use Peoria Sports Complex. Surprise Stadium (Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers) is 10 miles west, and Camelback Ranch (LA Dodgers and Chicago White Sox) is about 10 miles south.
Mariners’ fans are a good bunch and are generally a peaceful crowd. And while the fans at the game of this review were not many, they cheered and demonstrated plenty of passion when the M’s and the opposing team made great plays. They certainly appreciate their players.
You’ll still see plenty of Ichiro, Griffey, and Martinez jerseys and shirts in the stands.
The team is about midway in Cactus League average attendance over the last several years (not counting 2020 and the limited capacity in 2021).
The city and organization have done some marvelous things related to getting in and moving around the venue. However, Bell Road / 83rd Ave is still a traffic mess leaving an afternoon game.
First, parking is free. Helpful attendants point you to the right spot as you enter the parking lot. Second, the venue still has hard copy tickets. Third, the concourses are wide open (especially in the outfield) offering easy and roomy movement. Finally, and it’s a simple thing but quite effective, signs indicating bag regulations focus on what IS allowed, not what is NOT allowed. That positive aspect makes fans feel much more welcome. (Clear sports stadium bags are allowed.)
Restrooms are plenty and clean (at least the ladies).
The stadium is a 30-min or so drive from Sky Harbor Airport. Public transportation is not easily available from the airport; riders need to make multiple transfers, and travel time takes close to 2 ½ hours.
Once you’re there, it’s fantastic. It’s pretty much a nightmare exiting the stadium and onto Bell Rd / 83rd Ave. Harvest your inner patience when leaving the ballpark.
Return on Investment 4
Ticket prices are comparable to other spring training venues. The Mariners have Dog Days (dog admission ($5) goes towards canine charities), and Sundays are Kid’s Days. Military receive ticket discounts. The team notes several dates as Hometown Heroes games.
Concessions are priced similarly to other ballparks in the area. Parking is free.
The team, the city, the Peoria Diamond Club volunteers, et al. do such a fantastic job at making spring training fans feel welcome and comfortable. Definitely put the Mariners on the list when visiting Cactus League stadiums.
Several other items are worth noting. The Mariners have a respectable merchandise shop with plenty of room to maneuver. It is next to the home plate entrance and opens before the start of the game. And a satellite merchandise stand sits along the outfield concourse.
The fifteen flags of each team in the Cactus League run across the batter’s eye. While this is not unique to Peoria, not all the spring training parks in Arizona have this.
The tent, carts and stands offering craft brews on tap along the outfield are worth an extra mention.
Finally, the scoreboard is remarkably informative and simple for any baseball fan.
The Cactus League is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2022. While the Seattle Mariners have not been in existence that entire time, the team has always played in Arizona. The Mariners have made Peoria Sports Complex its spring home since the venue opened in 1994. Although not one of the newer stadiums in Arizona, it still has one of the best game day experiences in the spring.