Blue Sox Stadium – Sydney Blue Sox
Photos by Lloyd Rothwell, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29
Blue Sox Stadium 81 Eastern Road Rooty Hill, NSW 2766 Australia
Year Opened: 1999
Who Rocks? Blue Sox!
The Blue Sox are Sydney’s team in the Australian Baseball League, and were formed in 2010/11 when the league relaunched. The Sox are now into their second season of private ownership under the ABL’s new preferred business model. This approach has reinvigorated the franchise, with the fan experience much improved.
Blue Sox Stadium is located within Blacktown International Sports Park (BISP), a multi-sport precinct set in the far-western suburbs of Sydney. The baseball stadium served as one of two ballparks used during the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympic Games; the other is now known as Giants Stadium and is used for AFL (Greater Western Sydney Giants), and Twenty20 BBL cricket (Sydney Thunder). Blue Sox Stadium is now the home of Baseball NSW and is regularly used for junior tournaments. The capacity is around 2,000.
Food & Beverage 4
The ABL has long prided itself on offering a more diverse range of food than is usually available at most mainstream Australian stadiums. While the offerings here had decreased in recent years, the new owners have significantly improved this aspect of the fan experience. Several food trucks set up in the forecourt behind the grandstand adjacent to the entrance to the stadium. Your choices include various burgers, hot dogs, cheesesteak, nachos, and pizza. The most popular stand is the pizzeria, and expect to wait 5-10 mins for your order to be made. Your meal will likely cost between $10-$15. Cash and card are accepted. Smaller snacks are also available including churros and popcorn helmets. The trucks also sell soft drinks and water but you’ll have to visit the bar for alcoholic drinks.
The ballpark is back looking spick and span with ownership also giving this area due attention. If history interests you, then take note of the Sydney 2000 commemorative plaque near the entrance. Around half the pool games were played at Blacktown involving every team including USA, Cuba, Japan, South Korea, and Australia. Sydneysiders are rightfully proud of the Olympics they helped deliver and similar plaques are located at numerous sporting venues across the city.
The majority of seating is situated within the original grandstand, while additional options include a ground level behind home plate and a picnic area along the first baseline which is a great option for families. When making decisions regarding seating, it’s worth remembering that the roof does not cover the stand in its entirety. If you’re not already familiar with local weather, the temperature in the western suburbs of Sydney can be as much as 10°c warmer than on the coast, hence if you’re attending a day game you may wish to choose a higher seat in the grandstand for the shade. All in all, there are plenty of options to choose from to deliver an experience that will suit every fan.
Unfortunately during our visit the scoreboard was not operational. While we noted it was a little small and basic during our last game here, we hope it is back up and running again soon as otherwise there is no visual representation of the score and innings number. Syd the mascot is visible throughout the game, and there’s also a host who coordinates the various promotions that take place in between innings. Interestingly walk up songs look to have been ditched, as they were not used during our visit.
The stadium is located in the far western suburbs of Sydney – around 45 mins drive from the CBD without traffic. There is very little in the way of attractions in the area immediately surrounding Blacktown Sports Park. A 24-hour McDonald’s has recently opened across the road, however other than that, the only other option for entertainment and refreshments anywhere close by is West HQ (55 Sherbrooke St) where you will find a large licensed club and a number of other facilities including ten pin bowling and a hotel (Novotel Rooty Hill). However, a new zoo has recently opened nearby (Sydney Zoo, 700 Great Western Highway Bungarribee) and is receiving positive reviews.
If you’re travelling to Sydney from interstate or overseas, the harbour city is home to numerous sports teams so you may wish to check the schedules for both male and female cricket (Big Bash League – Sydney Sixers and Sydney Thunder), basketball (Sydney Kings and Sydney Uni Flames), and soccer (Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers).
We’ve been pleased to see crowds start to return in line with the improved experience. Average crowds appear to have settled around the 1,000-1,250 mark although last year saw a record crowd of 2,345 attend a game against ABL newbies, the Auckland Tuatara. It’s also pleasing to see the franchise is engaging with local junior baseball clubs and having junior teams as key features of the various fun promotions.
The best way to get to Blue Sox Stadium is by car, full stop! Parking is plentiful and free. The Sports Park precinct is near two of Sydney’s major motorways; the M4 and M7 and easily accessible from all areas of Sydney – although it can take up to an hour from the Sydney CBD. The other option is by train. Rooty Hill Station is about a 15 minute walk from the ballpark. The park itself is now even easier with new signage having been installed. The bathrooms are adequate but a little messy towards the end of a game.
Return on Investment 4
While there has been a small increase, tickets to see the Blue Sox remain fantastic value. The highest value seats behind home plate are a relatively cheap $30, scaling down to a mere $15 for general admission – with very affordable options for families. Free parking is also a bonus, meaning the only time you’ll really have to open your wallet wide is for food and drinks.
Extra points are awarded for the improved merchandise offerings this season, the historical aspect, and the overall family-friendly atmosphere.
The Blue Sox offer an unparalleled sporting experience at this price point, particularly in an expensive city such as Sydney. The ABL at Blue Sox Stadium is an excellent choice for locals and travelers during the Sydney summer months.