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‘A fantastic partnership’: Cannon Ballers will play in Atrium Health Ballpark

By Liz Moomey 

liz.moomey@salisburypost.com

KANNAPOLIS —The Kannapolis Cannon Ballers have teamed up with Atrium Health for a partnership and a naming of their downtown stadium: Atrium Health Ballpark.

The partnership will be for 10 years. Besides naming rights, Atrium Health will provide game day medical care around the stadium and inside the Atrium Health First Aid Suite on the concourse level. Parents who need a respite and various items will be able to visit the Atrium Health Levine Children’s Mothers’ Room located near the first aid suite. The health care company will also sponsor health fairs.

Cannon Ballers General Manager Matt Millward said the team could not ask for a better community partner as opening day approaches on April 16. Millward spoke of Atrium Health’s initiatives that go hand-in-hand with the Cannon Ballers, including a walking track around the ballpark and the company’s philanthropy.

Kannapolis Mayor Darrell Hinnant said the council learned early on that good community partners would be key in downtown revitalization. Hinnant said no community has infinite money to get every project done, so the city needs to concentrate on private partnerships to help pitch in money.

The city has invested $100 million toward downtown revitalization, Hinnant said. 

He called partnerships a domino effect that will create momentum by making the city’s money go further and build more efficiently and faster, which causes more people to get excited.

Andy Sandler, Temerity Baseball CEO and president, invited Kannapolis City Council and Cabarrus County Commissioners to the stage ahead of the announcement of the ballpark name. He told the leaders they are responsible for everything happening in downtown Kannapolis. 

“The mayor talked about partnerships, and partnerships like this start with good government,” Sandler said.

Hinnant called the partnership a good fit for the community because the residents know they can depend on Atrium Health for their health needs.

Atrium Health also has history in Kannapolis with the Cannon family.

“The Cannons built that hospital down in Concord and it was designed to take care all of the people who were workers at the mill,” Hinnant said. “Here they are, Atrium Health, is now committing itself again to downtown Kannapolis, because that’s where the history of the Cannon family was right here.”

Atrium Health has also gone through some changes similar to the Cannon Ballers. The two have recently changed their name, with Atrium Health previously previously being Carolinas HealthCare System. Last year, the Kannapolis baseball team moved on from its Intimidators name as it moved to a new stadium in downtown. 

“They are looking for that vision for themselves,” Hinnant said. “That’s helpful for us too, for them to be growing and not satisfied with just the status quo.”

Chris Bowe, senior vice president of the northeast market of Atrium Health, agreed the Cannon Ballers and Atrium Health had a couple things in common and that both would be in town for a long time.

Millard said he has been anxiously awaiting the partnership’s announcement. Meanwhile, the stadium is moving closer to final completion. The team turned on the video board Tuesday. Workers are installing seats. The team also will soon hold national anthem tryouts and host a job fair for part-time employees this month.

“The best is yet to come,” he said.

The ballpark has a 4,930-seat capacity, with options for fixed seats, picnic area, boxes and a sky lounge. There’s also a children’s area, splash, bad and banquet space. The team plans to have concerts and community events at the stadium. When there’s not a game, the facility will be open as a public park from sunrise to sunset.

Opening day at the ballpark is scheduled to be April 16.

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