Florida’s newest spring training ballpark debuted to a sold-out crowd on the very last day of spring training in March 2019, with home team the Atlanta Braves beating the Tampa Bay Rays 4-2. Shiny new, $140-million CoolToday Park is set on 90 acres between North Port and Venice in the West Villages master-planned community. The park also has six full and two half-practice fields and serves as the team’s central medical hub.
The only MLB spring training park in the nation to be open year-round, CoolToday is already hosting public events throughout the year—car shows, craft fairs, rummage sales, movie nights and a farmers market. The Tomahawk Tiki Bar draws fans with a very active monthly concert series. CoolToday was chosen as the venue for the 2020 Governor’s Baseball Dinner in February, an annual celebration of spring training. (Gov. Ron DeSantis played baseball at Yale University.)
Homeplate Plaza has a nice homage to Braves Hall of Famers of yesteryear like Hank Aaron, Chipper Jones, John Smolz, Greg Maddux and former skipper Bobby Cox, who led the team to Atlanta’s first World Series title in 1995.
The Braves have relocated to Sarasota County from their 20-year home at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, seeking more proximity to other ballparks. “We’re still learning the building,” says Mike Dunn, vice president of Florida operations. “We’re working on signage, upgrades to the tiki bar area, completing construction of the academy, and we’re breaking ground on the executive club behind home plate that will open for 2021. It’s a fun and exciting time.”
No. of Seats
6,200 fixed plus 1,000 berm seats
Summer Baseball League
The Fire Frogs, the Braves’ High-A minor league affiliate
Projected Economic Impact
$1.7 billion between 2019-2048
No. of Employees During Spring Training
Best Place to Snag an Autograph
Right or left field lines as the teams on the field take batting practice.