AutoZone Park is a minor league baseball stadium located in downtown Memphis, Tennessee and the home of the Memphis Redbirds of the Pacific Coast League, the AAA affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Designed by Looney Ricks Kiss Architects of Memphis, with Kansas City based HOK Sport consulting, AutoZone Park cost $80.5 million, by far the most ever spent on a structure dedicated to minor league baseball.
AutoZone Park was built to "big-league" standards, the primary difference being the absence of outfield seats or seats far down the foul lines, and could perhaps be better described as a "major league stadium with only the 'good' seats". It opened in 2000, and replaced Tim McCarver Stadium. The stadium also hosts some games for the University of Memphis baseball team, most notably, the annual game with Ole Miss. Naming rights are held by the auto parts chain AutoZone, which is based in Memphis.
Unlike other cities, Memphis does not have to worry about its team threatening to move elsewhere. The Redbirds, in a situation almost unique in American pro sports, are owned by a non-profit community foundation, titled the Memphis Redbirds Foundation. The Green Bay Packers of the NFL have a similar ownership structure.
In October of 2005, AutoZone Park became the first venue outside of New Orleans to host the Voodoo Music Experience. One day of this music festival was moved to Memphis due to Hurricane Katrina.
On December 4, 2006, at the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings, MLB announced that an exhibition game to be called the Civil Rights Game would be held at AutoZone Park, with the first game on March 31, 2007. The game featured the Cardinals and the Cleveland Indians, with the Cardinals winning 5-1. The second game was played on March 29, 2008, between the Chicago White Sox and the New York Mets. The Mets Defeated the White Sox 3-2.
AutoZone Park has a seating capacity of 14,320., and has been aptly described as "one-third" of a major league baseball park. For its construction 17,586 cubic yards (13,445 m3) of concrete were used, or enough to cover 11 acres (4.5 ha). There are 125,738 square feet (11,681.4 m2) of brick walls surrounding it, utilizing 380,000 specially manufactured bricks. It holds 3,400 tons[vague] of steel and 227 miles (365 km) of electrical wiring. To build the playing field, 350 tons[vague] of clay and 5,000 tons[vague] of sand were needed. The outfield contains 100,000 square feet (9,300 m2) of sod. The infield is capable of draining 1 inch (25 mm) per hour of rain while remaining playable, which means that the field only rarely has to be covered during games.
AutoZone Park also has the largest video screen in minor league baseball, at 23 by 30 feet (7.0 by 9.1 m). It is located 127 feet (39 m) above the playfield, giving a view of the board to many areas of downtown Memphis.
AutoZone Park contains several special seating sections designed to give patrons a variety of viewing options.
The Delta Dental Picnic Pavilion is located on the east side of the park, and contains several picnic tables and space for vending or other serving of food. It is commonly used for special event hosting, and can seat up to 500 people.
The Bluff on the north side of the park has grass covered lawn seating, and tickets to this area are sold cheaply, but in limited numbers. It is a favorite spot for many fans because of the picnic atmosphere. Chairs are not allowed on the Bluff.
The upper club levels contain 48 suites, and are generally reserved to groups or local companies. Many larger Memphis companies retain one suite for the entire season, for all games.
The normal club seating have access to an air conditioned concourse, along with several restaurants and bars located on the concourse itself.
There are two open-air party decks, each of which seats up to 175 people, and three pre-game balconies.
Next to the Bluff is "P.D. Parrot's Playhouse Perch", which is a playground for children. The playground is sponsored by Baptist Pediatric Care.
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- AutoZone Park, Civil Rights Game, HOK Sport Consulting, Looney Ricks Kiss Architects, Memphis Redbirds, Memphis Redbirds Foundation, Minor League Parks, Pacific Coast League, St. Louis Cardinals, Tim McCarver Stadium