The renovations are starting to take shape at the Rogers Centre, with the Toronto Blue Jays providing an updated outlook inside their home ballpark on Tuesday.
Following months of demolition, the first phase of their $300 million renovation plan – addressing the upper-level seating, outfield walls and bullpen areas – has entered the redesign facet of the project, which is scheduled to be completed by Opening Day.
When baseball fans arrive next season, they will notice four new additions to the Rogers Centre known as “outfield neighbourhoods,” with two located on the 500 level and the other two on the 100 level surrounded by the redesigned centre field seating area. The team released a video clip via social media to display how these changes will be brought to life.
500-level neighbourhoods will include a new gathering spot called the Park Social in left field, allowing fans to relax while eating delicious food and enjoying a live game with open-air space. Then in right field, fans can experience the new Corona Rooftop Patio, bringing baseball and patio dining together for an all-in-one setting.
100-level neighbourhoods will feature a pair of new bars, with The Stop behind centre field and The Catch in the right field corner. Both will provide different drink and food options, providing a new type of fan experience.
Tuesday also marked the first time media members were permitted to enter the Rogers Centre since October, giving them a tour of the progress made inside the stadium. Most notably, the outfield dimensions will change dramatically, eliminating the cookie-cutter layout from the previous design.
The Blue Jays also announced that capacity at the Rogers Centre is reducing by approximately seven per cent, dropping from 44,750 seats to around 41,500. All 500-level seating will be replaced with wider and more comfortable chairs by next season, with the 100-level seating remaining unchanged.
Removing and re-positioning field-level seating is part of phase two, scheduled to commence next off-season.
As part of the second phase, the organization plans to renovate its player clubhouse and facilities while redesigning the concourse around the infield sections.
The Blue Jays will open next season on the road in St. Louis, making stops in Kansas City and Los Angeles before returning home for the home opener on Apr. 11 versus Detroit.