Hoover Metropolitan Stadium
Hoover Metropolitan Stadium (or the Hoover Met, formerly Regions Park) is a multi-purpose stadium located in Hoover. It was the home of the Birmingham Barons of the Southern League from 1988 to 2012. The stadium was designed by Kansas City, Missouri-based HOK Sport. It is located at 100 Ben Chapman Drive, just off Stadium Trace Parkway near Interstate 459 at Exit 10.
Many sports experts regard the stadium as one of the best of its kind in the nation. The seating capacity is 10,800 for baseball and can accommodate up to 16,000 when the patio, banquet, and grassy side areas are used. The stadium also houses 12 suites and state-of-the-art dressing and training rooms. It features a meeting/banquet room named for Michael Jordan, who played for the 1994 Birmingham Barons.
The Hoover Parks and Recreation Board operates the stadium and an adjacent recreational vehicle park.
The stadium serves as the home for the SEC baseball tournament as well as Hoover High School football. Hoover Metropolitan Stadium hosted the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) Birmingham Open on July 13-16, 2006, the first beach volleyball tournament to ever be played in Alabama. The feature court was above the baseball diamond as well as eight other courts on the field, made of 222 tons of sand per court.
In March 2007 the Barons purchased naming rights for the stadium from the parks board for $110,000 per year for 9 years. The Barons, in turn, struck a deal with Regions Bank to rename the stadium "Regions Park".
In 2008 the Barons purchased a new 42'-9" tall by 56' wide scoreboard from Daktronics, Inc. It has a 35' x 15' main video screen for replays and a smaller second screen for player information.
In November 2010 the Barons signed a letter of intent to relocate to a planned new Downtown baseball park in Birmingham as early as 2012. Hoover Mayor Tony Petelos stated that the city would accept nothing short of a 5-year extension of the team's lease, which was up for renewal in December 2010, complicating the planned move. Art Clarkson stated he would bring an independent league team to Hoover if it became available.
The Barons opened the gates for free admission to the team's last two games of the 2012 season. After the Barons' departure, Hoover officials returned the stadium to its original name.
In 2021 Hoover built a new restroom facility and storm shelter at the complex’s baseball and softball fields located north of the stadium. The tornado shelter accommodates approximately 100 people. The Hoover City Council put $200,000 in the 2020 budget for the project, and appropriated another $150,000 for completion in 2021. The shelter is a prefabricated building, requiring minor site preparation, and was in place before the SEC Baseball Tournament in May.
The stadium served as the host for softball games played as part of the 2022 World Games on July 8 through 13. 2022. Hoover provided the stadium at no cost to the World Games, and provided personnel, police protection, and hospitality suites. The playing surface was also converted to a softball surface for a cost of approximately $150,000 including labor costs.
- "Hoover Metropolitan Stadium" (December 25, 2006) Wikipedia - accessed January 31, 2007
- Batson, Roger Jr (March 14, 2007) "Met becomes Regions Park." The Birmingham News
- DeButts, Jimmy (March 6, 2008) "Daktronics will install new Barons scoreboard." Birmingham Business Journal
- Piper, Ben (October 15, 2010) "Independent league baseball may slide into Regions Park." Birmingham Business Journal
- Segrest, Doug (November 6, 2010) "Birmingham Barons hope to extend Hoover lease on short-term basis." The Birmingham News
- Anderson, Jon (December 27, 2020) "2021: What to Expect." Hoover Sun
- Anderson, Jon (February 17, 2021) "Hoover council OKs using Hoover Met for 2022 World Games softball." Hoover Sun
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- AVP Birmingham-Hoover Open presented by Vault