The Buffalo Bisons will open the 126th season of professional baseball in Buffalo on Opening Day, Thursday, April 7 against the Syracuse Chiefs (3:05 p.m.). With the home opener just 10 days away, the team announced the new changes fans can expect when they visit Coca-Cola Field this summer.
Bisons' owners Bob and Mindy Rich have invested more than $4 million back into Coca-Cola Field this off-season, highlighted by the installation of the largest scoreboard in all of minor league baseball, BisonsTV HD, and a new playing service and field drainage system. In a display of the strong public-private partnership with the City of Buffalo, the city has also funded the installation of a new energy efficient lighting system for Coca-Cola Field.
BisonsTV HD -The Largest HD scoreboard in all of minor league baseball
The most dramatic change to Coca-Cola Field this off-season was the installation of the new BisonsTV HD scoreboard, the largest HD scoreboard in all of minor league baseball. The new signature 80' x 33' LED HD Video Display from Daktronics, Inc. is more than three times the size of the old Bisons scoreboard that had been in place at Coca-Cola Field since the 1999 season. The state-of-the-art system will feature the latest Daktronics 15 mm LED video technology with the capabilities to present live and recorded video images, colorful animation and vivid graphics. With this project, the Coca-Cola Field control room and camera equipment have also been upgraded to HD standards.
Daktronics boards are currently in place in the ballparks of 26 of the 30 major league teams. Most recently, the company installed scoreboards at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium.
A Brand New Field Drainage & Playing Service
In a commitment to provide the highest quality baseball and event conditions, the Buffalo Bisons installed a completely new drainage system and playing surface this fall at Coca-Cola Field. The outdated soil playing field was replaced with a state-of-the-art, vertically drained, sand-based playing field commensurate with those found at the highest levels of professional baseball.
The new field, built by Sports Construction Group of Ohio, will consist of an under drainage network capable of draining up to 10" of rainwater per hour. The under drainage network consists of a series of perforated pipes placed in gravel filled trenches. The new field has also be outfitted with an automated irrigation system. The natural turf is a Kentucky Bluegrass blend grown specifically for use on a professional baseball field.
Energy Efficient Lights
In a clear sign of the strong public-private partnership between the Bisons organization and the City of Buffalo, Mayor Byron W. Brown and the City have funded a brand new Energy Efficient Lighting System for Coca-Cola Field. The Light-Structure Green™ system from Musco Lighting features 168 fixtures on the eight poles, less than half as many lights previously used to light the playing field. By requiring 1.564 kW per light, the new system is projected to save 2,536.1 metric tons of CO2 and over 3.5 million kW hours of energy over the next 25-years.
By using less energy and producing less waste, the project will save an estimated $1.5 million in operating cost over the life of the lights.
SLR Media & Conferencing Suite
The SLR Media & Conferencing Suite debuted late last season on the first base side and is entering its first full year as the premier way to bring the boardroom to the ballpark. Available for game and non-game day rentals, this suite offers state-of-the-art video conferencing, four 52" flat screens, internet access, touch-screen controls, a wet bar and its own private restroom. The SLR Media & Conferencing is a great new option for hosting clients or holding business seminars and meetings. For more information, click HERE.
The Wing King, Wardynski's, Upstate Farms, Ilio DiPaolo's among Local Items on this Year's Menu
Coca-Cola Field is known for its great variety of ballpark foods. In 2011, the Bisons are featuring many of the great flavors that are in our own backyard. A brand new Craft Brew Stand (Section 122) will feature Flying Bison, Saranac and other craft brews along with some great pub fare, including specialty nuts from the Bavarian Nut Company. Pettibones Grille will top select dishes with the specialty sauces of Ilio DiPaolo's Restaurant and "The Wing King" Drew Cerza in the restaurant and for suite menu options, For an item that is uniquely-Buffalonian, Wardynski's will provide the fan-favorite fried bologna sandwich.
For dessert, Upstate Farms will now supply many of the ballpark's ice cream treats, while fans can enjoy authentic gelato provided by Sweet Melody's. Additional sweet tooth treasures will be provided by Carvel Ice Cream and Choco Logo chocolates.
For fans wanting to stay away from the sweet and salty, the Bisons will also debut the BlueCross BlueShield Healthy Zone stand (Section 100). Turkey Burgers, Chicken Sausage and Veggie Wraps on whole wheat tortillas and rolls highlight a great alternative menu.
Bisons Expand TV Schedule
The Bisons have teamed up with Time Warner Cable to expand the team's television schedule yet again in 2011. Time Warner Cable SportsNet 13 will feature the LIVE broadcast of 51 Bisons Games in 2011, a five-game increase from 2010. Each one of those broadcasts will also be available On Demand on channel 946. Additionally, five Bisons games will be featured on SNY, the official television home of the New York Mets, Jets and Big East Conference. A complete television schedule is available HERE.
New Look Herd
When the Bisons take the field, they may be sporting a new look. The team has introduced new Pinstripe Jerseys to be worn during home games. The white uniforms with blue pinstripes will feature Bisons in blue across the chest and a Bisons logo patch on the left sleeve. This new jersey will primarily be worn by the team on afternoon starts in 2011.
Boston Pops Make First Buffalo Visit
For the first time in their 125-year existence, The Boston Pops will play for the fans of Buffalo. Coca-Cola Field will host the Boston Pops with special guest Kenny Loggins on August, 26 for a non-game day concert. The show is entitled "America's Orchestra Celebrates America's Pastimes...Baseball, Movies and Rock n' Roll" and tickets are now available at Bisons.com for this once-in-a-lifetime event.
So Many Great Events, Promotions and Giveaways
The Bisons have added several great events to their 2011 events schedule. Be sure to pick up you Bisons Youth Pinstripe Jersey on July 14, presented by AXA Advisors, and your "Aud" Replicas on July 23, presented by Hamburg Overhead Door & LiftMaster. The 4th Annual Mystery Ball fundraising event on August 13 to benefit Hunter's Hope will give fans the opportunity to take home an autographed baseball from someone in the sports world.
The new must-see Bisons event, the 3rd Annual Star Wars Night with Character Appearances is set for June 11, presented by Alfred State College, and Ghostbuster's Night will be part of a fridaynightbash!®, August 12, presented by Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel. Of course, the marquee event of any summer is the KeyBank Independence Eve Celebration with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus on July 3 against the Syracuse Chiefs.
A complete promotional schedule can be found on HERE!