With the help of a Taiwanese investment, Nicaragua was able to build a new, state of the art stadium in its capital Managua. The new stadium, called Dennis Martinez stadium, will replace the old stadium which was also called Dennis Martinez stadium and which was named after Nicaragua’s favorite son and former MLB pitcher Dennis Martinez.
The old Dennis Martinez Stadium was opened in 1948 and needed a replacement as it had seen better days. The old stadium was subject to political intrigue several times as well. At its inauguration in 1948, the old stadium was named Estadio Nacional. But after a huge earthquake destroyed 90% of Managua, the stadium was called after dictator Anastasio Mendoza Garcia. After the Sandinistas threw over the Mendoza regime, the stadium was renamed again as they named it after Rigoberto Lopez Perez, the man who killed Anastasio Mendoza Garcia. Eventually, in 1998, the stadium was named after national hero Dennis Martinez, the first MLB player from Nicaragua.
The new stadium was constructed with a big financial injection from Taiwan. The Taiwanese donated $30 million, which was eventually used for the construction of houses for the victims of a flooding. As a result, another $36 million had to be financed through private banks.
The new ballpark was inaugurated by president Daniel Ortega and a match between the Nicaraguan national team and the national team of Taiwan was played as the opening game.
The new state of the art facility has a capacity of 15,000 and meets MLB standards. For five years, the annual value of stadium maintenance would approach $ 1.5 million. After that time, the sum may increase. One may wonder how a relatively poor country like Nicaragua can afford that.
The stadium also has 42 skyboxes, which were sold in less than a week, and are priced at $ 70,000 for ten years. The mayor of Managua hopes that the collection of revenues from the sale of concessions, advertising, and leasing of the skyboxes, will allow the city to have a significant amount of resources.
As baseball is the most popular sport in Nicaragua by far, filling this stadium shouldn’t be a problem. It is said that sports authorities will look to lure MLB teams to play in the ballpark in the future.