Ogden's Lindquist Field aims to diversify offerings beyond baseball

Aug 3 2012 - 11:52pm

Images

Lindquist Field hosts the World Youth Archery Championships in 2009; it hosted Archery World Cup finals three years in a row. (Standard-Examiner file photo)
Lindquist Field hosts the World Youth Archery Championships in 2009; it hosted Archery World Cup finals three years in a row. (Standard-Examiner file photo)
Lindquist Field hosts a concert by Perfect Disorder in 2009. (Standard-Examiner file photo)
Lindquist hosts a Veterans Day event in 2006. (Standard-Examiner file photo)
Lindquist Field hosts the World Youth Archery Championships in 2009; it hosted Archery World Cup finals three years in a row. (Standard-Examiner file photo)
Lindquist Field hosts the World Youth Archery Championships in 2009; it hosted Archery World Cup finals three years in a row. (Standard-Examiner file photo)
Lindquist Field hosts a concert by Perfect Disorder in 2009. (Standard-Examiner file photo)
Lindquist hosts a Veterans Day event in 2006. (Standard-Examiner file photo)

OGDEN -- Lindquist Field has served as the home of minor league baseball here since the stadium was built for the Ogden Raptors in 1997.

In the 15 years since, the ballpark has seen a revitalized downtown grow up around it. The stadium has hosted high school baseball state tournaments and all-star games on its diamond, as would be expected, but it has also been a venue for a wide variety of other events, including concerts, mixed-martial arts fights, soccer, semi-pro football and car shows.

In June, Lindquist Field hosted the finals of the Archery World Cup for the third year in a row, with archers competing to qualify for the Olympic Games currently being held in London.

The Ogden Raptors have led the Pioneer League in attendance every year since Lindquist Field opened in 1997, with 130,817 fans coming through the gates last season, but with only 38 home games scheduled each year, hosting non-baseball events at the stadium is part of the business model, said Dave Baggott, team president.

"Sometimes people call us, and their ideas fit in here. Some of them don't," he said.

"We can't do them all. I can't do a demolition derby out here; we can't do mud racing. Other things we can do. We want to try to facilitate as many events as we can; that said, we have to protect the playing surface for baseball games."

The Raptors are again leading the Pioneer League in attendance so far this season, averaging 3,567 fans per game.

With the Raptors on the road, Lindquist Field will host a Brewfest from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. today in conjunction with Golden Beverages. The beer-tasting event also features live music and food.

Lindquist Field actually hosted a microbrew festival in 1997, its first year, Baggott said, but the Raptors hadn't revisited the event until now.

"Let's see if it gets a positive reception from the community, and then we'll look at expanding it for 2013," he said.

"It's going to be fun. We've got a few restaurants that are going to be giving away food-tasting samples, and we've got at least a dozen microbrews available."

In addition to events at the stadium, Baggott said, the club is trying to extend its reach beyond the ballpark through a partnership with a North Carolina startup, LocalSense.

The back of every seat at Lindquist Field has a sticker with a QR code that fans can scan with a smartphone to get access to discounts and deals at local merchants.

The Raptors are part of a pilot program for LocalSense.

"We were chosen by the LocalSense company as the pilot park so they can experiment to see if reaching out in that type of program is beneficial going through a minor league ballpark," Baggott said. "So far, I'd deem it to be a successful program."

The Raptors can package the LocalSense program into sponsorship sales, with the sponsor attracting fans who download its app from the QR code at the ballpark.

Lindquist Field was suggested to LocalSense by Raptors' part-owner Jim O'Hara, who serves as a board member of the Raleigh-Durham, N.C.-area company.

"It's a wonderful idea. To allow the ballclub to go outside the confines of their facilities to reach out to the business community is a wonderful concept and a great idea," Baggott said.

"I'm actually going to help push this idea out to the 159 other baseball teams and tell them they'd be stupid not to be involved."

The Archery World Cup might have been the most unique event to take place at Lindquist Field over the years, Baggott said.

"It was not your mainstream sporting event, but also, when USA Archery came in to set up the venue, by the time they were ready to compete, you really couldn't tell it was a ballpark anymore," he said.

"Couple that with having it televised through multiple countries throughout Europe, giving Ogden a nice shot in the arm to the rest of the world, (and it was) quite a unique event.

"They treated it like an Olympic event, not just an archery event. It was very impressive."

It started with a world junior archery event four years ago, and then, with Weber State University, and later, the Weber County Fairgrounds fielding the preliminary rounds, Lindquist Field hosted the finals of the U.S. stage of the international archery competition the past three years.

The Archery World Cup does not have a contract to host again in the future.

Meanwhile, Raptors management is always looking for new events to bring to Lindquist Field.

"I'd like to figure out ways we can use the stadium when there's snow on the ground," Baggott said.

The organization looked at installing a temporary ice rink over the field a few years back but could not make it cost-effective enough to work.

"We're entertaining the idea of perhaps doing swap meets," Baggott said.

"With the video board, we're looking at doing movie nights. There's no roof on the facility, so the sky truly is the limit on what can be hosted here."

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