Arvest Ballpark – Northwest Arkansas Naturals
Photos by Dave Cottenie and Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29
Arvest Ballpark 3000 Gene George Blvd Springdale, AR 72762
Year Opened: 2008
It's Only Natural
Although they are not a Minor League Baseball team with a vast history, the Northwest Arkansas Naturals have already won two league titles. Making their debut in 2008 after relocating from Wichita, Kansas, the Naturals have spent their existence as the Double-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals and earned the 2010 Texas League Championship and the 2021 (and only) Double-A Central Championship. The Naturals are named after the moniker of Arkansas, known as the Natural State, and the famous baseball movie, The Natural. The Naturals are also owned by Rich Products Corporation, who also own the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons.
Located in Springdale, Arkansas, a stone’s throw from college town, Fayetteville, the home of the Naturals is Arvest Ballpark. Also opening in 2008, Arvest Ballpark is city owned and the central hub of a rapidly developing area in the southwest corner of Springdale. Arvest is a unique park that has strayed from the retro classic, red-brick/green-seat ballpark to provide baseball fans with a refreshing change.
Food & Beverage 3
Concession options at Arvest Ballpark are about what one would expect for a Minor League Baseball park. Spring Creek Treats is the main concession stand and offers typical ballpark food including hot dogs, burgers, nachos, and fries. The variety is upped with a variety of fry and nacho options including Chili Cheese Fries, BBQ Cheese fries and Garlic Fries. Other concession stands offer familiar favorites including lemonade, sno-cones and Dippin’ Dots. Coca-Cola products are the soft drink of choice at Arvest Ballpark and there is a fairly pedestrian selection of beer including Corona, Heinekin, Miller and Yuengling.
Arvest Ballpark provides a refreshing change in its design. The exterior is not overbearing and feels quaint. The light brick with varied sizes gives it a unique look. The Natural theme can be felt as the exterior is beautifully manicured with grass flowers and trees. Outside of the main, home plate entrance, there is a large Naturals water feature, which matches the exterior brick and design. A portable display outside of the wrought iron gates trumpets the history and accomplishments of the Naturals.
Inside the ballpark, fans are immediately greeted with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals Hall of Fame which has an impressive list of members considering the short lifespan of the team. Clint Robinson, Brian Poldberg, Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Salvadore Perez, Kila Ka’athue, Whit Merrifield and Wil Myers are all members as well as the Season 10 Team. Plaques for the 2010 and 2021 Championship teams as well as a plaque for the 2015 Kansas City Royals World Series Championship are also right there with the Hall of Fame. The concourses are wide open in Arvest Ballpark and views of the field are all over the park. The 360 degree walk takes fans right around the park, past the varied seating areas including berm, picnic and traditional areas. Past the batter's eye in centerfield there is a permanent playground and a large grassy area perfect for large gatherings. There are inflatables and kids games beyond left field as well as a mini ball field. Left field also features the Home Run Porch picnic area. The majority of seating is single level with the concourse behind, and luxury boxes above the concourse. There are large, light sunshades which offer shade for the fans in the stands. Beyond rightfield is a large videoboard, which the Naturals use very well. Kids and families may be interested in taking a trip on the train which drive around the concourse. Unfortunately, the game that was reviewed saw field conditions in the outfield to be noticeably not up to appropriate levels for professional baseball.
The gameday production at a Naturals game is what fans would expect in Minor League Baseball. It is fairly simple and does not offer anything overly unique or over the top. The Naturals do have mascots in Strike and Sinker, however the temperature on the date of this review was very high and probably prohibitive for employees working in mascot suits.
The neighborhood around Arvest Ballpark continues to be developed. In the previous Stadium Journey review, it was mentioned that the ballpark was surrounded by farmland, however, much has changed since that review. Visible from the ballpark is the Children’s Hospital and although there is not much in the way of options within walking distance, there are a few options within a five minute drive. North of the ballpark at Sunset Ave. will provide fans with a plethora of chain restaurant options. A couple of more local options include Jose’s Bar & Grille and Las Palmas. There are not any other sporting options within Springdale, however a very short drive will bring fans to the University of Arkansas in Fayatteville. The Razorbacks offer football, basketball and baseball options as well as other varsity sports. The Razorbacks are definitely the top tickets in the area. Another tourist option in Springdale would be the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History. For fans that want to stay in the area, there are a number of hotels near Sunset Ave including the Wyndham.
The Northwest Arkansas Naturals enjoy decent fan support. In the 2022 season, the Naturals averaged over 3,500 fans per game, which was good for 64th in Minor League Baseball and 8th in the Texas League. The 2023 season saw a more than 500 fan increase per game. The fans in attendance offer decent support.
Getting to Arvest Ballpark is not difficult. The park is located just west of I-49 and very easy to get to. There is plenty of on-site parking available. Unfortunately, there is not much in the way of public transit in the area. The nearest bus stop is a 25 minute walk from the ballpark. With continued development in the area, hopefully the public transit situation improves in the future. Moving around the ballpark is very easy as the concourses are amongst the widest in Minor League Baseball. The washroom facilities are good for the number of fans in attendance.
With security protocols constantly changing in professional sports, Stadium Journey highly recommends consulting the Northwest Arkansas Naturals website for the most up to date security protocols, bag policies and prohibited items.
Return on Investment 5
The return on investment for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals is excellent. Great seats can be had at Arvest Ballpark for $15 and parking is only $5. Concession prices are good as well. The product on the field is solid and fans get to enjoy baseball from an excellently designed ballpark. In the end, the return is excellent for an investment that is not too high.
An extra mark for the unique and clean look that Arvest Ballpark offers, straying from the overdone retro classic ballpark design.
An extra mark for the unique Naturals moniker that fits the area in Arkansas and the Ozarks region.
Taking in a baseball game at Arvest Ballpark in Springdale is a great idea for the whole family and the Northwest Arkansas Naturals provide a great experience. It’s only natural for fans to want to make return trips!