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Skyboxes cap new ballpark 

DICKEY-STEPHENS PARK: Coming this spring.
  • DICKEY-STEPHENS PARK: Coming this spring.

There was a big smile on Bill Valentine’s face when he noted that hardly had his Arkansas Travelers made the skyboxes in their new stadium available when most of them were leased.

“We didn’t even have to advertise them,” he said.

As Michael Marion, the general manager at Alltel Arena, could have told the folks behind the building of Dickey-Stephens Park, Central Arkansans love their skyboxes. Alltel’s were gone quickly, too, before the arena opened in 1999, but Marion made sure the arena held back two of them to be leased for individual events.

The Travelers will do the same. Of the 24 skyboxes being built for Dickey-Stephens Park, about four blocks west on Broadway from the arena, three were set aside and 21 were available for lease. Only three of those 21 remained unleased in late September. The park will sell tickets to two of the other skyboxes on an individual game basis and the third will be reserved for the city of North Little Rock.

Looking for a skybox for that special Travs game in 2007 that coincides, say, with your kid’s birthday, or your wedding anniversary, or just because you want to live like the high-rollers at a ball game? Pete Laven of the Travelers office says a skybox can be had for $600 rental per game, which includes 18 tickets to the ball game. It doesn’t include food and beverages, but there will be various catering options, or the group can order off the ballpark menu. You’re billed at the end of the night.

The three skyboxes remaining (as of this writing) can each be leased for $29,000 a year for three years or $26,000 a year for five years. They include 15 tickets to every game. Again, how you work the food and beverage plan is up to you.

“At other parks, the tickets are extra, but we wanted to make them part of the entire package,” Laven said.

One-time leasers can start making their plans for the 2007 season now. Laven said the Travelers would begin booking dates on Nov. 1.

“We’ll allow people to pick several games,” Laven said.

The suites have been designed in a style similar to those found at new minor-league parks in Springfield, Mo., and Midland, Texas, the latter serving as the best example of what Valentine was hoping for in a new park for the Travs.

Interior decorating options are up to the leasers, Laven said, as long as the design meets the team’s approval. “They paid that much money to have a suite, they ought to be able to decorate it how they see fit,” he said.

Dickey-Stephens Park will have 5,800 fixed seats plus grass berms in the outfield that will allow the stadium to accommodate a total of 7,000 fans. Box seats will number 1,600, fewer than the 2,600 box seats in Ray Winder Field. Valentine said he thought the number would handle the demand. The rest of the seating behind the box seats will be reserved seating also. At Ray Winder Field, none of the seating was reserved.

At press time, Laven and the incoming ticket director for the Travs were waiting for the stadium architects to provide the final diagram of the seating before they started selling box seats, but that should be underway now. The Travs’ office had not determined a pricing arrangement, but season tickets will be sold in three different packages: for one, two and three years, with the prices dropping for a multi-year purchase.

Single-game admission for box seats at Dickey-Stephens will be $10 and reserved seating $8. The Travs will have a general-admission bleacher section down the first-base line for $6, the same price as at Ray Winder Field.

The concourse will be larger than Ray Winder’s was. “There will be a concession stand in right field in the concourse there,” Laven said. “The larger concourse will give us more points of purchase through kiosks. We’re going to have a beer garden by the bleachers down the first-base line.”

The stadium construction appears to be on target for the scheduled opener April 16 against the Springfield Cardinals. “The weather has really cooperated,” Laven said.

For more information or to purchase tickets or lease skyboxes, call the Travs’ office at 664-1555.

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