Lazy River added to Dr Pepper Ballpark
By Nathan Barnett
Jaw-dropping, tongue-hanging-out, and eye-popping reactions.
That’s what it’s been like the last couple of weeks for the Frisco
RoughRiders and its front office staff when describing to folks the
details of the newest, most over-the-top pool—if you can call it
that—in professional sports.
If you’ve been living under a rock recently: after a month of
speculation, the RoughRiders, a baseball team mind you, announced it
was constructing a 400-foot-long, 174-foot wide, 3,000-square-foot
lazy river…just over right field at the already top-of-the-line Dr
The “Choctaw Lazy River,” sponsored by Choctaw Casinos of
Oklahoma, is a nearly 12,000-square-foot hospitality and party area
that includes the lazy river flume and over 8,000 square feet of
cabanas, patios, and decking for well over 150 fans to enjoy
Just how big is it?
The new project replaces a previously existing pool area and
deck, but blows it out of the water (pun intended) in size, scope, and
amenities. The new area will also include a number of additional fan
amenities, highlighted by two open-air cabana structures for food and
beverage service. The larger of the two—called the Cabana Bar &
Patio—can be rented separately and will feature a built-in bar,
dedicated buffet tables, and private deck space. A resort-style wood
deck will flank the area near the larger cabana, and additional public
space for lounging and picnicking will surround the water.
The lazy river itself is nine times the size of the end zone
pools at EverBank Field in Jacksonville (home of the Jaguars) and more
than eight times larger than the Diamondbacks’ famous outfield pool at
Chase Field. In fact, the new Choctaw Lazy River is more than four
times the size of those two famous sports pools combined. The water in
the new lazy river is so voluminous that it would take 1,267,973
baseballs and 1,088,368 cups of nacho cheese to fill!
Wait, wait, but WHY?
The announcement shocked many, not only for the grandeur and
uniqueness of the project, but because the RoughRiders had just spent
nearly $6 million renovating Dr Pepper Ballpark the previous season.
Prior to Opening Day in 2015, the club rolled out the following
additions to the in-game experience:
– Brand new uniforms, hats, and logos
– A giant new HD video board in left field, HD outfield wall LED
boards, and an HD LED out-of-town scoreboard
– A state-of-the art sound system
– The Bull Moose Saloon, an open-air sports bar, located in the left
field concourse area
– A new and improved merchandise store, relocated to the home plate concourse
– Moved and renovated the InTouch Season Ticket Holder Lounge
– A completely revamped food experience throughout the ballpark,
including a State Fairway food area
The renovations earned the Rough-Riders “Best Ballpark
Renovation Award” from Ballpark Digest in the under $6 million
category, but that wasn’t enough for CEO and General Partner Chuck
Greenberg, who is known throughout the industry as an extremely
“Having been through many arena and ballpark upgrades, at some
point fans get used to what you have,” he explained. “What is high
impact one day, becomes not so later on—especially in the highly
sophisticated market like we are in.”
So Greenberg knew he had to be asking himself, “What’s next?”
“We wanted to make something as high impact as possible. We
thought water could be the way to do it.”
And, without a doubt, there will be plenty of water in
additional to the hospitality capacities. The front of the Choctaw
Lazy River, which is filled with 68,023 gallons of water, possesses
113 linear feet of recycled water that will cascade over an infinity
edge to create two fantastic 8-foot waterfalls that will drop into a
beautiful reservoir behind the outfield wall.
“When you were in the old pool, it was great,” said Greenberg.
“But it wasn’t much to look at from the seats….you could barely see
the water. We wanted a signature visual element that would be a
dominant presence no matter where you were.”
Behind the lazy river tube and the smaller cabana, a pair of
23-foot tall water structures will drop 18-foot tall by 20-foot wide
rain curtains, providing a massive water feature that splash back into
the reservoir and recirculate, creating an intensely immersive aquatic
The project is expected to cost approximately $1.7 million. The
team is privately funding $1 million of the total, and the rest is
being paid out of a City of Frisco fund created when the team recently
extended its lease for ten years.
Pool Partying This Summer
You might suspect that this area will be reserved for huge
groups, corporate outings, bachelor parties and the like—and you’d be
right, at least, mostly right.
In addition to group availability for the Choctaw Lazy River,
individuals can enjoy the area on “Thursday Night Pool Party” nights,
each Thursday after the project, which is already underway, is
completed in early June.
For $39 a ticket, fans can enjoy full 360-degree Choctaw Lazy
River access, pre-game live music, and all-you-can-eat hot dogs,
brats, chips, peanuts, and Dr Pepper products.
That’s not all either. Each Thursday is “Thirsty Thursday,”
offering $1 select domestic drafts and $2 crafts for all fans.
For Greenberg, the Choctaw Lazy River was always about much more
than selling group outings at Dr PepperBallpark.
“The individual fan experience was very important in two
respects. First, we wanted to make sure that the Choctaw Lazy River
design—in terms of its appearance, the sounds, the aura—would be
something that would enhance the experience for all of our fans,
whether they were in the lazy river or not,” he explained. “Second, we
were highly confident that we could sell out the Choctaw Lazy River to
groups even if we had a 100 home games a year (the club has 70), but
we wanted to make sure there was a chance for the average fan to enjoy
it as well.”
So the focus became Thursday nights.
“When we created our Thirsty Thursday program,” explained
Greenberg, “the point was to make Thursdays as appealing of a night as
we could. From the drink specials, to the high profile we have given
local celebrity Michael Gruber (“Grubes,” a former employee of the
Ticket who has a rabid cult-following on Twitter), and other elements,
we wanted to make Dr Pepper Ballpark a destination, especially for
millennials and singles. What better way to kick-off a weekend than
enjoying a Thursday night in Choctaw Lazy River?!”
I want some, I want some!
With the kind of buzz that Choctaw Lazy River has seen already,
“Thursday Night Pool Party” tickets are sure to be a hot commodity in
DFW this summer.
Want to pick up your tickets now? The first chance to do so will
be at the RoughRiders TicketFest event on Saturday, March 12 at Dr
Pepper Ballpark from 10:00-noon.
In addition to it being the first chance to buy single-game
tickets for the 2016 season, fans can watch the lazy river take shape,
as construction crews continue work on the project. On Saturday, they
will be shooting “gunite,” and fans will see the lazy river “come to
Be sure to bring an empty stomach, with tons of $1 food and
drink specials, and don’t forget your glove and a ball to play a
little catch on the field.
Is it baseball season yet?