Atlanta Braves Spring Training 2012: An Insider's Guide to Champion Stadium

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Champion Stadium is one of the most beautiful stadiums in the Grapefruit League. The stadium is located on property at the Walt Disney World Resort and is the centerpiece of the massive 220-acre ESPN World of Sports Complex. The stadium was built in 1997, and the Atlanta Braves began their full spring training schedule there the following year.

Seating and Layout

Champion Stadium is one of the largest in the Grapefruit League with a capacity of 9,500. Not only is it the biggest, it feels more like a major league park than the other spring training ballparks. It is also the only spring training stadium in Florida that utilizes an upper and lower deck. Along with the two decks, there are bleacher seats down the right field line and berm seating down the left field line. Champion Stadium even offers luxury boxes and sky boxes, if you are so inclined, which is unheard of for a spring training facility. The best seats are in the upper part of the lower deck; those are the sections that are covered by shade for most of the afternoon.

Obstructed Views

The large scale and amenities of the stadium don't come without a price. There are quite a few seats you want to stay away from. Row S in Section 208 and part of rows T-V in section 220 are obstructed by camera platforms. Steel support beams old up the roof in the upper deck. These beams obstruct views from fans sitting in Row S or above in Section 207, as well as seats 1-3 in rows T-V in Section 220. The left field berm seating is a very steep hill. It is so steep in places that fans sitting on the lower part of the hill may be looking at more outfield wall than ballgame.

Tickets

Champion Stadium is beautiful and well-manicured, and boasts some of the best amenities anywhere in Grapefruit League baseball. Of course, all this comes with a price. Ticket prices for the ballpark are slightly higher than other spring training parks. Single game ticket prices are $15-$26 General Admission/Berm, $29-$41 for Bleacher Reserved, $29-$41 for Upper Deck Reserved, and $37-$51 for Lower Deck Reserved. They do, however, take $5 off each ticket if you buy them prior to gameday.

Parking

The best thing about Atlanta Braves spring training is free parking. Like many other things with this ballpark, free parking is almost unheard of. There are two parking lots: the front lot closest to the stadium is paved, and there is additional grass field parking behind that. The parking lots are not too far away from the main gate, and there are plenty of souvenir stands lining the walkway to the stadium to give you something to look at.

Kristian Eberwein is a sports writer and lifetime resident of Central Florida.

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