DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Six thousand, four hundred people. That’s how many Day Air Ballpark will accommodate when it returns to full capacity in just a few short weeks.
Executive vice-president of the Dayton Dragons, Eric Deutsch, said that will happen in exactly two weeks on June 8. He said at fully capacity, the staff at the stadium will see an increase of nearly 60 percent compared to the numbers they expect to see at the end of May.
“We’ll be at about 2,800 [people] or so per game over this next May homestand and then obviously with the June 2 COVID orders being released and canceled, when we open up on June 8 we’re back to full capacity with a full seating bowl of 6,400 seats, 30 suites, four party decks and lawn areas. And we’ll get back to several thousand people in the building,” he said.
Managers at local businesses are excited about the crowd the Dragons games will once again attract downtown as well. One of those, executive general manager at Lock 27, Jennifer Dietrich, said the establishment gets a large amount of its business from the games.
“It is very significant pre-game and then after game,” she said. “So with 30 percent capacity we were getting 30 more percent than we had had coming through, and now with it being full capacity, a lot of people stop in for pre-game beers, after game beers, maybe a snack before they go home or something, so it’s a big shift for us.”
Manager of Winans Coffee and Chocolates said she’s looking forward to the traffic as well, which was delayed for the business since their opening immediately ahead of the pandemic.
“I think it’ll really allow all of the downtown businesses to thrive,” said Rachelle Allen. “I know soon there’s going to be a lot more people next door and down the street, so I think having the people out and about will definitely kind of boost the economy here.”
If crowds and increased activity around the stadium aren’t enough of an incentive to attend games and spend time downtown, Deutsch said COVID restrictions are coming to an end, but perks associated with decreased traffic have not.
“We’re…doing some very nice things for our ticket holders. With our suites and our party decks in the May timeframe, we were only at half capacity, so we were only charging half price. We have kept that same price of 50 percent off throughout the rest of the year so people can still get capacity in terms of a suite or a party deck, but only pay 50 percent.”
He added as more people begin to fill the stadium, he hopes that visitors remain mindful of their health and the health of others. Staying home if they feel sick is never a bad idea, but the ballpark has precautionary measures in place, including hand sanitizer stations.
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