Years in the making, the Chicago Cubs have finally been given approval to conduct renovations to historic Wrigley Field. The upgrades, which include everything from new clubhouses, to widened concourses, to the most controversial, a new video display, will total $500 million.
The City Council approved the upgrade, funded entirely by the Cubs, the day after the Zoning Committee approved the deal. Along with $300 million in upgrades to Wrigley Field, the Ricketts plan on building a $200 million hotel across from the ballpark.
But, it was the new 5,700-square-foot electronic video display that was the most contentious issue, and may still pose problems. While Wrigleyville Ald. Tom Tunney got concessions in the form of no Clark Street pedestrian bridge from the new hotel to the ballpark, and other outfield signage. The Cubs have said that to fund the improvements themselves without public assistance, the advertising revenue from the sign as critical. On the pedestrian bridge, it may spin off other key aspects. As reported by the Chicago Tribune:
A Cubs source said the organization has no timeline for bringing the bridge back to the city for consideration but indicated the team would expect "some kind of a trade" in exchange for permanently scratching the bridge off its wish list.
Cubs officials have floated the idea of building a deck in right field extending all the way to the east side of Sheffield Avenue, where fans could congregate during games and people could hold events when games aren't being played. That would allow the team to move the right field sign back far enough that people on rooftops on Sheffield would be able to see over it into the park, the source said.
Another possibility would be an archway over Clark on which the team could sell advertising, the source said.
But while the deal has been signed off, questions still loom as to whether roof-top club owners may file lawsuits over the new video display. The group, which signed a 20-year revenue-sharing agreement with the Cubs when the Tribune Co. still owned the club, has voiced concerns over the matter.
"No one walks away entirely happy," Tunney said during a City Council Zoning Committee hearing. "Those of us in the political arena know that's pretty well close to a successful deal. So with the negotiations and discussions ... I can support this planned development with the protections for my neighborhood moving forward and a respectful relationship with the Cubs and the community and the city and our mayor."
"I'll take an extra consonant, Pat.”... How about three "L"s in the word "College"?
There are typos, and then there’s this.
At the College World Series in Omaha, the logo for the event picks up one of the most glaring typos ever, an extra “L” to the word “College”. It’s one thing to have someone paint it incorrectly. It’s another for all the people that surely must have been at the ballpark in Omaha prior the event starting miss it as it was on top of one of the dugouts.
This isn’t the first (or last) time typos will be seen in sports. In 2009 Majestic Athletic accidently sent Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn jerseys that read “NATINALS” instead of “NATIONALS” and of course there was a great Snickers commercial where the end zone has Kansas City Chefs. But, this one smacks of ironic. After all, if you can’t get an education in “colllege”, where else can you?
For those thinking this might be someone getting tricky with Photoshop, think again. It was captured by multiple people, and this one is from an Associated Press photographer in the pressbox.
As this clever person on Twitter said, maybe there’s a solution for it all… “The losing team takes the extra L with them.”
A snow cone vendor at Minute Maid Park took a rack full of snow cones into a bathroom stall and then returned to the ballpark to sell them according to a report Houston’s Local 2 complete of video of the event. According to the report:
Cell phone video shows a ball park snow cone vendor sitting on a toilet in a stall with an entire box full of the products he’s about to sell. They sit on the bathroom floor right next to him.
The person who recorded the video and gave it to Local 2 said: “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. This guy is taking a dump. There’s no doubt about it. What sane person could possibly think, yeah this is a good idea. I’ll just put the food that I’m about to sell on the floor.”
The Astros and ARAMARK, the Minute Maid Park concessionaire both released statements after the incident.
Reid Ryan, who just recently took over the helm of the President of Business Operations said in a statement:
“The Astros were notified immediately by our partner ARAMARK of the incident involving a vendor on Monday night. We commend the swift reaction displayed by ARAMARK of terminating the employee immediately upon learning of the incident that evening. This isolated incident was a clear violation of our food safety practices and is not reflective of our standards.
“The Astros share ARAMARK’s view on the importance of food safety and will work with them to ensure that our fans have a safe and outstanding experience at Minute Maid Park. We also commend the fan for his vigilance in pointing out the inappropriate actions of the vendor. The Astros personally thanked him and advised him of the swift action taken in regard to the employee.”
ARAMARK added in the joint statement:
“Food safety is extremely important to us. This vendor’s actions were a clear violation of our food safety practices and are not reflective of our standards. This was an isolated incident by a third-party subcontractor and we promptly dealt with the matter when it was brought to our attention.”
The allure of the NHL outdoors in ballparks continues. The NHL and New York Yankees announced today that two outdoor regular-season NHL games will be played at Yankee Stadium during the 2013-14 season as part of the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series.
The two games scheduled for Yankee Stadium are:
New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils - Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014 - 12:30 p.m. ET
New York Rangers at New York Islanders - Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 - 7:30 p.m. ET
The two games at Yankee Stadium complete the four-game 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series scheduled for next season. On Jan. 25, the Anaheim Ducks will play the Los Angeles Kings at Dodger Stadium. On March 1, the Chicago Blackhawks will host the Pittsburgh Penguins at Soldier Field.
"The innovative nature of the Stadium Series affords the opportunity to have all three NHL teams in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area play, outdoors, at one of the most-celebrated stadiums in the world," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "We'll be able to create a multi-faceted, multi-day experience for our fans, and we thank the teams, Coors Light, the New York Yankees and Yankee Stadium for their support of this memorable NHL event."
The 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series will be the first time Yankee Stadium has been used for hockey.
"We have long thought that Yankee Stadium would be a great venue for outdoor hockey," said Lonn Trost, New York Yankees Chief Operating Officer. "In addition to being a first-class baseball facility, Yankee Stadium was designed to house unique and memorable events, such as the NHL Stadium Series™. Hosting two of the NHL's classic rivalries at Yankee Stadium will be a great kickoff for the worldwide sporting events in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area scheduled in early 2014."
"The New Jersey Devils are proud to have been selected to host the first of two games at Yankee Stadium," said Devils President/CEO/General Manager Lou Lamoriello. "The NHL Stadium Series will be a memorable experience for our organization, our players and, most importantly, our fans. We are thrilled to play our divisional rival, while adding to the legacy of one of the nation's most recognized sports facilities."
"The New York Islanders are honored to take part in the National Hockey League's outdoor stadium series," Islanders General Manager Garth Snow said. "Our fan-base is one of the most passionate in the NHL. The support we consistently receive from our fans was on display during the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs and I expect it to be on an even greater scale when we take on the Rangers. This is what makes the games against the Rangers one of the best rivalries in the league. I look forward to seeing a strong contingent of the orange and blue in the stands at Yankee Stadium."
"The New York Rangers are honored to participate in these two historic games at Yankee Stadium, bringing hockey into the home of another one of New York's iconic sports franchises," said Rangers President & General Manager Glen Sather. "Playing hockey outdoors takes the game back to its roots and reminds us all why we laced up our skates as youngsters. We are excited to be able to bring that experience and thrill to our fans and the city of New York."
"The teams playing in these two games - the Rangers, Islanders and Devils - have tremendously loyal fans and the rivalries are intense because of their proximity and playoff history," said Mathieu Schneider, NHLPA special assistant to the Executive Director. "Yankee Stadium is a landmark venue in New York City and to see hockey played in such a celebrated setting will be extremely memorable to the players and everyone involved."
According to the NHL, further details on this special NHL event, including national broadcast information and specifics on ticket opportunities for the season-ticket holders of each team, will be released shortly. Fans interested in receiving more information on ticketing, news and special offers around the event should register at www.NHL.com/2014NewYork.
NHL Network and NHL.com will provide extensive coverage live from New York leading up to and after the games. NHL Social will have exclusive coverage on all social platforms, including the use of the hashtag #StadiumSeries.
The NHL recently announced that the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 1, when the Detroit Red Wings will host the Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium on the University of Michigan campus. The NHL anticipates that the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic could set a world record for attendance at a hockey game.
The first-ever NHL regular-season game contested outdoors was played in 2003 when the Edmonton Oilers hosted the Montreal Canadiens at Commonwealth Stadium. Since then, the NHL has played six additional regular-season games outdoors with 2009 (Wrigley Field between the Red Wings and Blackhawks), 2010 (Fenway Park between the Flyers and Bruins), and 2012 (at Citizens Bank Park between the Rangers and Flyers) all occurring at MLB ballparks.
If you’ve been following MLB in recent years, you may have noticed that there’s a bit of an arms race go9ing on, and we’re not talking pitchers. Each year, it seems, a ballpark touts that they now have the largest video screen, and with it, we all begin to wonder when we have to say that size doesn’t always matter, a case of video displays becoming more of a distraction than a luxury.
For those clubs that are in historic ballparks, there’s always treading a fine line between technological advances, like video boards, and them eroding the qualities of these older facilities. With “history” playing such a large part in them, upgrading to massive video boards is, rightfully so, frowned upon.
So, what’s a club to do that wants to upgrade video displays, and yet claim some form of “the best” without being the largest? The Los Angeles Dodgers and ANC Sports Enterprises may have the answer.
The two will unveil this season, not the largest video displays, but those featuring the highest pixel densities in Major League Baseball. ANC Sports will debut the first 10mm 1080p surface mount light emitting diode (LED) displays in baseball at Dodger Stadium this spring. According to ANC Sports Enterprises, the boards will feature physical pixels which are closer together than any other large display in MLB and driven by a 1080p high-definition feed, the Dodger Stadium video screens’ will feature some of the clearest images around the League.
To retain the historical elements on Dodger Stadium (it is, after all, MLB’s third-oldest behind only Wrigley Field and Fenway Park), ANC Sports will be upgrading the right and left field displays that are the trademark hexagonal shape of the stadium’s original scoreboard and will feature a total active viewing area of approximately 2488 square feet. The new hexagonal shaped displays measure 77.69 feet wide with varying degrees of height. In the center, the video screens are approximately 38 feet high while the ends of the screens measure approximately 24 feet high.
On the technical side, the new scoreboard structures will also feature a 10mm LED strip measuring approximately 6’ high by 69’ wide beneath each video screen. And while the upgrades are being made to the historical diamond-shaped displays that Dodger Stadium is famous for, there will be some new added. According to ANC and the Dodgers they are integrating two outfield video wall displays, each measuring approximately 6 feet high by 61 feet wide and an LED ribbon system along the club fascia that runs for 1121 feet. The entire display system will be capable of seamlessly transitioning between statistics, animated content, sponsor engagement and fan interaction.
Whether this high-density video display will be so bright as to distract, we’ll have to see when the season starts.
Since the Ricketts family purchased the Chicago Cubs, one of the looming questions has been renovating baseball’s second-oldest ballpark in Wrigley Field. With the Red Sox completing a 10-year renovation to the league’s oldest ballpark, it was shown that renovation over a completely new facility could be done in a way that would modernize even the oldest of structures to allow modern day amenities for both fans and the players.
The problem has been gaining funding. Whether the dour economy or the fact that some municipalities may have grown weary of providing the lion’s share of the funding, getting renovations off the ground for the Cubs has been about as easy as winning a World Series for the Ricketts since purchasing the club in 2009. In 2010 a state funding bill withered and died in the Illinois legislature.
But, that could finally change… if the city of Chicago corporates.
Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts said this past weekend at the Cubs Convention that if some restrictions are lifted, the club will fund a 5-year, $300 million renovation that will provide wider concourses, all new clubhouse, restaurants, a new landing in left field, a much-needed set of batting tunnels, work on suite, and much more. The first phase would be a massive upgrade to the clubhouse.
“The fact is that when you look at all of the limitations that we have, whether that’s signage in the outfield, which we are not allowed to do, or what kind of stuff we do in the park or around the park, I think we’d just like a little more flexibility to have some options on that stuff,” Ricketts said at the Cubs Convention.
“We have an opportunity cost there that’s tremendous. Just give us some relief on some of these restrictions, and we’ll take care of (renovating) Wrigley Field.
“We’re told what we can do to the park. We’re told what we can do in the park. We’re told what we can do around the park. We think, from our position, if you just let us run our business, we can get started on some substantial renovations, make the fan experience better, make the player experience better, and really preserve the park for the next 50 years. We’re not a museum. We’re a business.”
Signage:The bleacher vista may be significantly altered if the Cubs get their way. In 2010, the Cubs agreed to a four-year moratorium on additional advertising signs that would rise above the Wrigley Field bleachers in order to gain city approval of a Toyota outfield sign. That moratorium expires after this season, and the Cubs would like to increase their outfield signage, along with other areas in the ballpark. They’re the only team with signage restrictions.
Co-owner Laura Ricketts said the restriction on signage puts the team at a disadvantage, “but also forces us to be extra creative in the advertising that we do have, and that makes Wrigley Field, in my opinion, the most special place to watch a ballgame in all of baseball… With our renovations, that’s definitely something we want to preserve going forward.”
Night games: A city ordinance granted the Cubs permission to play 18 night games a year starting in 1988. In 2004, the city council approved an increase of four night games per year through 2006, giving them their current allotment of 30. The Cubs haven’t said how many more night games they need, but one source said “half,” or 41, would suffice, including an occasional Saturday night game. The Cubs also would like the return of 3:05 p.m. starts on Friday, believing the weekend restrictions are an anachronism in a commercialized area.
Concerts: An agreement in 2005 between the Cubs and the city gave the Cubs permission to hold two Jimmy Buffet concerts that summer, with the team donating $150,000 of the proceeds to neighborhood schools and reserving 3,000 concert tickets for purchase by people who lived within one mile of the ballpark. The Cubs agreed to hold 29 night games in 2006 instead of the permitted 30. In 2009, the city allowed the Cubs to hold three concerts, including two by Elton John and Billy Joel. The Cubs haven’t said how many concerts they’d like, but they’d like to increase it without having to ask for city permission.
Set for the 2013 season, the new videoboard at Safeco Field will be the largest in MLB
The escalation of video display sizes has grown over the last few years, and with Safeco Field’s display falling behind since opening in July of 1999, it’s time for a change… a BIG change.
The Mariners today announced on Thursday that a new high definition video display system will be installed at Safeco Field for the 2013 baseball season, replacing the main scoreboard in centerfield. When completed (at least for now) it will be the largest in Major League Baseball and among the largest in all of sports.
The new video screen replaces the scoreboard that was built in 1999, the inaugural season of Safeco Field. Measuring 56.7-feet high by 201.5-feet wide and covering 11,425 square feet, the new video screen fills the same location and space as the old scoreboard, but because the entire thing is a high definition screen, the video space itself is nearly 10 times the size of the current video screen.
So, just how big is it? To put it in perspective the Mariners say that the viewing area will be equal to about 2,182 42-inch flat screen TVs.
“Northwest sports fans have never seen anything like this. From the high-resolution imagery to the dynamic presentation, this new video screen provides the flexibility to present real-time game information in a way we’ve never been able to do until now,” said Kevin Martinez, Seattle Mariners Vice President of Marketing.
“The Mariners are committed to building a winner on the field and providing fans with a great experience at the ballpark. After 13-plus seasons, fans have been asking, ‘When are we going to replace the scoreboard?’ It’s time,” said Martinez.
The new Panasonic HD video screen will combine 1080p x 3840 screen resolution and Surface Mount LED technology, which uses more pixels and therefore produces higher quality images. Paired with the latest ANC Sports VisionSOFT operating system, Safeco Field’s new video screen will have image quality that is superior to broadcast HD signals. VisionSOFT is the first 64-bit operating system in large format live event display. ANC Sports is a long-time Mariners partner for signage operations and integration at Safeco Field.
“1080p live sports is an experience unavailable in ballparks or to home viewers until now. It’s like the difference between normal HD programming and a Blu-ray disc, except displayed on an enormous scale. You’ll be able to see details like blades of grass and the texture of the infield dirt. Fans will be amazed when they see it,” said Dave Curry, Seattle Mariners Vice President of Technology.
The entire board can be programmed for live action or video replays or split into sectors for graphics, animation and statistical data. “There is a growing desire among fans to delve more deeply into individual player statistics and the new board will let us present the stats, along with everything else, in a way that we think will improve the game experience,” said Martinez.
Although the new video screen will be state-of-the-art, “We’ve made a conscious effort to design the graphics to fit the overall design and architecture of Safeco Field. The presentation will be crisp and clean and will even incorporate some classic ballpark elements seen not only at Safeco Field, but in some of the game’s classic ballparks,” said Martinez.
This is the third of three steps to replace the old scoreboard system at Safeco Field. The LED Out-of-Town scoreboard was installed in left field before the 2010 season, and in 2011, LED ribbon boards were installed on the Terrace Club fascia. The in-house production, broadcast and entertainment systems are also being upgraded to high definition.
The video screen and production upgrades are part of an estimated $15 million maintenance and capital improvement plan for Safeco Field to be completed before the 2013 season. The Mariners, who are responsible for maintenance, capital improvements and operations of Safeco Field, have invested over $80 million in the ballpark since 1999. All current improvements to Safeco Field are scheduled to be completed in time for the home opener on April 8 vs. the Houston Astros.
Current CF Scoreboard ProStar Video Display 26'x46' SunSpot incandescent matrix board 34'x76' Total scoreboard dimensions 56'x200'
New Centerfield Video Screen Specifications Dimension: 56.7' high x 201.5' wide Total Viewing Area: 11,425 sq. ft. Resolution: 1080 x 3840 Total Pixels: 4,147,200 Manufacturer: Panasonic Operating System: ANC Sports VisionSOFT
Comparison to MLB Video Screens
Safeco Field, Seattle Mariners: 56.7' x 201.5' - 11,425 sq. ft.
Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City Royals: 105 x 84' - 8,820 sq. ft.
Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia Phillies: 76' x 97' - 7,372 sq. ft.
Minute Maid Park, Houston Astros: 124' x 54' - 6,696 sq. ft.
Comerica Park, Detroit Tigers: 94' x 65' - 6,110 sq. ft.
Bonus stat (Cowboys Stadium, Ft. Worth, Texas: 160' x 72' - 11,520 sq. ft.)
In a sign that upgrades to Dodger Stadium will be in the offing under new ownership, the Los Angeles Dodgers today hired Janet Marie Smith as Senior VP of Planning and Development. Dodger President Stan Kasten made the announcement.
Smith, known throughout the sports world for her work with the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves, joins the Dodgers immediately. She most recently served as the Orioles Vice President of Planning and Development.
“Dodger Stadium is one of the most iconic venues in sports and Janet Marie is one of the few people I would trust with its future,” said Kasten. “She respects baseball’s tradition and knows how to retain a ballpark’s distinctive charms while providing fans with the amenities and comfort they’ve come to expect. Any fan that has walked through the gates at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the renovated Fenway Park or Atlanta’s Turner Field has been a beneficiary of her understanding of what a ballpark means to its community. Every new baseball stadium built since 1992 has been influenced by what she helped build at Camden Yards. And we thank Orioles owner Peter Angelos for allowing Janet Marie to join us.”
In her new role with the Dodgers, Smith will oversee upgrades and enhancements to Dodger Stadium.
“I’m looking forward to working with the new Dodgers ownership to find ways to create an even better fan experience,” said Smith. “Dodger Stadium is a treasured piece of the Los Angeles community and a special place where I watched more than a dozen games per season when I lived in L.A. during the early 1980s. It’s important to all of us that we restore and enhance the park in a way that honors its heritage and highlights its distinctive appeals, while still capturing what fans want and franchises need in a modern venue.”
Of Marie Smith’s departure, Orioles Managing Partner Peter Angelos gave her high praise.
“The Orioles greatly appreciate Janet Marie Smith’s efforts over the past three years, as she has overseen the construction of our widely lauded ballpark in Sarasota and many significant enhancements to Oriole Park at Camden Yards. In Sarasota, the goal was to create a ballpark that the local community and all of our fans would be proud to visit, and after two record-setting springs, this has clearly been achieved.
“At Oriole Park, we asked Janet Marie to enhance the fan experience, honor our history, and revitalize some areas of the ballpark with new, more contemporary concepts. And in this 20th anniversary season, those objectives have resulted in bringing our fans the Roof Deck, Dempsey’s and the Orioles Legends sculptures.
“Janet Marie was the perfect choice to oversee these projects, and we wish her the best of luck in her new role with the Dodgers.”
Prior to rejoining the Orioles in 2009, Smith had spent seven years with the Boston Red Sox as Senior Vice President of Planning and Development, overseeing preservation of and improvements to historic Fenway Park and its surrounding neighborhood. In Atlanta, she held the positions of President of Turner Sports and Entertainment Development, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, and Vice President of Planning and Development for the Atlanta Braves, where she helped transform the 1996 Olympic Stadium into Turner Field for the Braves, and oversaw the development of the Philips Arena, home of the NBA Atlanta Hawks and NHL Atlanta Thrashers.
From 1989-1994, Smith worked with the Orioles as Vice President of Planning and Development overseeing the design and construction of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, which opened in 1992. Camden Yards is considered the archetype for new ballparks and ushered in a wave of downtown ballfields that capture the warmth and appeal of classic older parks while offering comfortable, state-of-the-art facilities.
Smith holds a master's degree in urban planning from City College of New York and a bachelor of architecture degree from Mississippi State University. Source: Los Angeles Dodgers, Baltimore Orioles
There was a time, not too long ago, when the culinary offerings at the ballpark were pretty much hot dogs, peanuts, pretzels and beer. Sure, there was the occasional Cracker Jacks, and your polish dogs, but for the most part, you were fairly limited.
Those traditional offerings are still there for fans (as a personal note, a game isn’t a game for me without having a dog and a beer), but the variety and quality has grown considerably over time as baseball and vendors figured out that some fans enjoy the variety.
So, it should come as no surprise that the upcoming MLB All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium, the home of the Kansas City Royals, would have some special entrees for fans coming to see the Midsummer Classic. With Kauffman Stadium being run by ARAMARK for food and other concessions, they have released their “All-Star menu” for the events.
In the city known for barbecue, ARAMARK’s Executive Chef at Kauffman Stadium, Erin Wishon’s team will smoke all barbecued meats at the ballpark -- some for as long as eight hours. Chef estimates they will smoke more than 5,000 pounds of meat, including 2,400 pounds of brisket, 1,800 pounds of pulled pork and more than 600 racks of ribs, and use 650 gallons of barbecue sauce over the course of the weekend!
Other barbecue highlights from Kauffman Stadium’s All-Star concessions menu include:
KC Rib Eye Stack Sandwich: Seasoned rib eye steak with cheddar cheese, bacon, sautéed mushrooms, onion rings, barbecue sauce, lettuce, tomato and pickle on a bun.
All-Star BBQ Dog: A classic, all-beef hot dog topped with pulled pork, coleslaw, pickle slices and barbecue sauce.
Royal Bacon Blue Dog: An all-beef hot dog topped with blue cheese sauce, chopped bacon and red onion.
Cheesy Corn Brisket-acho: Crisp tortilla chips topped with smoked brisket, baked beans, cheesy corn, coleslaw and barbecue sauce.
Select READ MORE to see other menu highlights, as well as details on ASG patches for caps and custom laser-etched bats.
But, if the logo was thought to be ugly, the structure being built in centerfield for home runs may redefine it.
For the majority of the morning, I have struggled to find the superlative that best describes it. I am at a loss. The best way I could describe it would be Busby Berkeley on acid. It’s Vegas meets Miami. It’s the zenith of “bad PR is still PR” in that it will be talked of ad nauseum for months – maybe years – to come. It's.... it's.... well, you can't make this stuff up.
Coming back to the logo, there were many that said that it may have been leaked early to gauge fan interest. If the centerfield design is being held to, the logo comes across as stately as the Yankees, Red Sox or Tigers logo.
Look, it’s Miami. I get that it’s lively, and upbeat – something akin to a US version of carnival. And speaking of Carnival, I joked that the cruise line could be the ones in line to purchase naming rights to the new Marlins stadium set to open in April of 2012. After the logo, and now this thing that makes me wonder if you stare at it long enough, you’ll see the faces of Jeffery Loria and David Samson within, nothing would surprise me.
Take it in:
To give you an idea of just how massive this extravaganza will be, see the support structure for it below:
When the new Miami Marlins (yes, they are being renamed) ballpark opens in 2012, it will have a corporate name associated to it. That’s because the club is very nearly on the verge of announcing a naming rights deal for the modern design on the location of the old Orange Bowl stadium.
According to Sun-Sentinel, P.J. Loyello, Marlins senior vice president of communications, said Tuesday that the deal was close at hand.
The Marlins deal will be for more than the name on the ballpark.
“From what I understand there’s several companies that stepped forward, and negotiations were always pretty open and clear about what the economic parameters of the deal would be, and people didn’t shy away. We’re talking multinational companies that are looking to get their name in Miami,” Loyello said, adding that the partnership is going to be “omnipresent from a marketing standpoint, a community standpoint and, obviously, a presence at the ballpark itself.
“We’re trying to get the best deal. We’re at the point that we’re finalizing it.
There will also likely be four in-stadium naming deals for each of the colored quadrants within the ballpark.
When you hear “omnipresent from a marketing standpoint” and throw in community, it sounds less like a financial institution such as Fidelity. “International” doesn’t scream Publix Super Markets. Knowing that it’s the Marlins, it could be wrapped around the tourism industry. Will fans be saying, “I’m headed to the Norwegian” or “It’s jammin’ tonight at the Carnival”, as in cruise lines? It’s a naming rights deal. Anything could be possible.
In the wake of a fan reaching out for a ball tossed into the stands, where he fell and eventually died at the hospital, the Texas Rangers today announced a series of new safety initiatives at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
“The safety of our fans is our top priority,” commented Rangers CEO and President Nolan Ryan. “The initiatives we are announcing today for Rangers Ballpark in Arlington will help to ensure that we meet that priority.”
According to the club, over the past ten days, the Rangers have consulted with a number of industry experts to discuss options concerning the rail heights at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Even though all current rail heights in Rangers Ballpark in Arlington currently exceed code, the Rangers intend to raise the height of all rails in front of seating areas to the highest standard in the United States at this time.
While work is being done on design and engineering for the refitted rails, the Rangers are taking the following interim steps to remind fans about their safety when seated near the rails at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington:
1) New signage is being installed on the railings at the base of the aisles and in front of front row seating, which states “DO NOT LEAN, SIT ON, OR STAND AGAINST RAIL”. The signage will be on the railings in front of all outfield seating from foul pole to foul pole and on all upper level seating, including the two suite levels.
2) A pre-game warning with the same information will be made prior to the start of each game over the Ballpark’s public address system and on the scoreboards.
3) Security and Customer Service staff will enforce this policy with guests seated near the rails.
The initiatives listed above will be in place when the Rangers open a seven-game homestand on Friday against Toronto.
While we report on the percent of capacity that each club reaches each day in terms of paid attendance, it doesn't paint the whole picture. After all, ballparks are made to various sizes, and are adjusted periodially (recently, downward), to accomodate interest.
We pulled the data in our Ballpark Seating Capacities page, and created this infographic. We've provided the table with associated numbers below. Enjoy.
(2011 from 48,290 in '10)
(2011 from 36,973 in '10)
SPECIAL BUSINESS OF SPORTS NETWORK REPORTS: The Labor Battle in the NFL. See BizOfFootball.com for details
It doesn't seem like it's been this long, but the ballpark that set the trend for design over the last two decades is about to have a milestone birthday
As the Baltimore Orioles prepare to celebrate their 20th season at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in 2011, the ballpark has undergone numerous renovations designed to keep the facility more than up to par with its younger siblings, while also preserving the iconic look and feel that made the ballpark the standard-bearer for the 20 major league ballparks that have opened since that time.
Renovations primarily focused on the seating bowl, club level, lower concourse and concessions areas.
This past off-season, the Maryland Stadium Authority completed the final phase of the replacement of the seats in the Oriole Park seating bowl as part of their deferred maintenance program. During the 2009 off-season, all seats in the lower level from foul pole to foul pole were replaced, along with necessary repairs to the concrete in this area. The work concluded this past winter, as MSA repaired concrete and replaced seats in the lower level outfield, as well as on the entire club level and upper deck.
At the request of the Orioles, the club level and upper deck at Camden Yards were furnished with wider seats that are more comfortable for fans. In addition, sightlines for fans on both of those levels are improved, as new, less intrusive railings enhance the view of those sitting in the first few rows of both levels, as well as fans sitting in and around upper deck equal access and companion seats.
Other ballpark improvements include drink rail seating in portions of the club level down the left field and right field lines to accommodate more than 100 fans. In addition, 15 field-view bistro tables, each seating four fans, have been installed in the left field club level in sections 282-288.
The Miller Lite Flite Deck, serving 90 fans, has been added to the right field club level, and several single-occupancy day-of-game suites have been combined to form larger club suites. These new seating options are designed to provide a more casual, social environment for fans to enjoy their in-park experience.
Based on the improvements outlined above and in keeping with trends in baseball, the seating capacity of Oriole Park at Camden Yards has been reduced to 45,971 from 48,290.
LOWER LEVEL CONCOURSE
On the lower level concourse, murals and new interior designs will create a more inviting atmosphere for fans. The Home Plate Plaza lobby entrance, located between Gates D and E, has been refurbished, including new granite tile flooring.
Birdland Memories billboards, featuring 13 of the greatest moments and accomplishments in Orioles history, have been placed throughout the lower concourse. Such memories include celebrations of the three World Series Championships, Cal Ripken’s record-setting 2131 game, and the opening of Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
A series of graphics featuring the lyrics to many of the songs that are a part of Orioles history, including “Orioles Magic” and “Pennant Fever,” have been displayed throughout several ballpark stairwells.
The Orioles and new concessions and retail operator Delaware North Sportservice have collaborated on an $11 million project to redesign and enhance the food and beverage stands at the ballpark, the first effort of this magnitude since Camden Yards opened in 1992. As part of the investment, new concessions-related technology has been added, including a point-of-sale system that will allow for “belly-up” style service, enhancing customer service and shortening wait times.
New grills and other equipment have also been added so that a wider variety of food items can be prepared fresh in front of fans.
Concessions stands have undergone a significant re-branding and makeover, including new stand names, graphics and food and beverage offerings. The newly re-branded concessions stands include:
O What a Dog
Baltimore Chop House
Das Sausage Haus
By the Slice Pizza
More permanent kiosks have also been added to the concourse areas to allow for a greater variety of food and beverage offerings, including Old Bay Seafood and Polock Johnny’s Famous Polish Sausage.
The renovations include three new bars and restaurants at Camden Yards:
Café 54, named in honor of the year Major League Baseball returned to Baltimore, will be located on the south end of Eutaw Street
Natty Boh Bar, featuring National Bohemian beer and “early bird” specials, will be found on the first base side of the lower concourse
Free State Pub, featuring local Maryland and regional craft and specialty beers, will be located on the third base side of the lower concourse
In addition to the newly improved Orioles Official Team Store on Eutaw Street, two more retail locations have been added: a Brand 47 Orioles Store on the first base side of the lower concourse and an Orioles T-shirt Shop, featuring customizable t-shirts, on the third base side of lower concourse.
Source: Baltimore Orioles
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We can debate whether there's too much public money being poured into it. Or, that the Marlins have been living on revenue-sharing welfare. But, when a new ballpark comes online, this scene played out below is one of the coolest things to see.
Here, Marlins players take the first batting practice in what will be their new home come 2012.
The physical construction and installation of the Astros new, state-of-the-art, high definition video boards at Minute Maid Park was completed today with the installation of the final pieces of the large, high definition board located in right field. The board, which measures 54 feet high x 124 feet wide (approximately 6,695 square feet), will be the fourth-largest in Major League Baseball and the third-largest in the National League. The Astros old video board was 26 feet high by 45 feet wide.
Additionally, the Astros have the largest video board in the Major Leagues featuring 1080i display format.
The new high definition board in left field and the ribbon boards spanning from foul pole to foul pole and along the outfield mezzanine level had been completed prior to today. The new video board in left field was constructed to give fans seated in the right field and center field seating areas the opportunity to view a video board, which had not been the case previously. Daktronics, one of the world’s largest suppliers of electronic boards, is the company responsible for the Astros new boards.
The Astros new video boards will be fully functional for the public to view for the first time during the March 30 exhibition game vs. the Boston Red Sox (7:05 p.m. start).
The new boards are part of the Astros multi-million dollar renovation project at Minute Maid Park this offseason. In addition to the new boards, construction continues on a new, premium club seating area located on the main concourse behind home plate and on a new press box for the print media located on the Club level.
MAIN LED VIDEO BOARD
Located in right field
54 feet high x 124 feet wide (measures five stories high)
Square Pixels: 1,080 feet (h) x 2,472 feet (w)
1080i High Definition Quality
Total Square Footage: 6,695 (approximately)
Fourth-largest video board in MLB (3rd in NL)
SECONDARY LED VIDEO BOARD
Located in left field
24 feet high x 40 feet wide
Square Pixels: 480 feet (h) x 792 feet (w)
1080i High Definition Quality
Located above Club level, spanning from foul pole to foul pole and the outfield mezzanine seating area
Combined 1,185 feet in length (3 feet, 8 inches high)
The Tampa Bay Rays have announced that they have begun installation of a new AstroTurf field surface at the 1.1 million square foot Tropicana Field.
The Rays have played on synthetic turf surfaces since their inaugural season in 1998.
The new playing surface installation at Tropicana Field has already begun and will be ready for play when the Rays open the season against the Baltimore Orioles on April 1st.
AstroTurf is the Official Synthetic Turf for Major League Baseball and is also used by the Toronto Blue Jays.
The field will be AstroTurf GameDay Grass™ 3D60H. GameDay Grass, in an independent study at Michigan State University and funded by NFL Charities, was determined to perform more like natural grass than other synthetic surface tested.
According to AstroTurf, it also features the innovative, fully-tested Horseshoe fiber. The Horseshoe shape, an Omega or "C", with a dual-column design, imparts unrivaled mechanical memory to the fiber. The fiber remains "upright" longer. The Horseshoe fiber continues to spring back to its original configuration, providing players with a grass-like, uniform, predictable playing field.
An upright fiber has the best aesthetics and playability.
Fibers that tend to lay over, wear out sooner. The Horseshoe is thicker and stronger, not just at the spine. This creates a more durable field.
The Horseshoe fiber is made with the "XQ" polymer. It is tough, but not on athletes. The XQ polymer has been used successfully for years around the globe, and when in combination with proper field fiber density and infill height, has never failed. The same cannot be said for the many failures associated with non-QX polymer, "spined" field fields, especially in high UV areas.
Light is properly reflected, resulting in better looking field, both live an on film.
Ball roll is similar in performance to natural grass.
Low slide resistance is assured, eliminating rug burns.
Footing is uniform and predictable.
Cleats penetrate and "release" properly for good biomechanical function.
In addition to the strength of the fiber, the AstroTurf 3D60H system features 60 ounces of fiber per square yard, the most of any synthetic surface.
Further enhancing the durability and safety of the field is the proprietary RootZone, a dense sub-layer of nylon fibers which act as an infill stabilizer system to prevent migration and splash of the rubber granule infill.
Many collegiate and high school teams, as well as municipalities, are making the change to AstroTurf® baseball fields, all of which have the Major League Baseball endorsement. In addition to Toronto, some of those include Wichita State, Duke, Kansas, James Madison University, and Wake Forest.
At a press conference today, Texas Rangers Managing Partner & CEO Chuck Greenberg announced upgrades to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington for the 2011 season.
The club will partner with Daktronics Inc. and the Sony Corporation to deliver high-definition digital content throughout the ballpark in a number of different formats. The upgrades will dramatically enhance the in-park experience for Rangers fans with high quality video, technology, and audio and additional information.
“Our fans will be treated to a new entertainment experience with these video, technology, and audio upgrades,” said Greenberg. “We are pleased to be working with Daktronics and Sony in bringing the newest integrated display system technology and the highest quality video to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.”
The 2011 Rangers Ballpark in Arlington upgrades will include the following elements:
NEW VIDEO BOARDS: The current video board on the roof of the Home Run Porch, which is 24 by 36 feet (864 square feet) will be replaced by a new board that measures 42 by 120 feet (5,040 square feet). In addition, a new video board that will be 25 by 29 feet (725 square feet) will replace the Coca-Cola matrix board on top of the office building in centerfield. The old video board used standard definition technology while the new boards will both be high-definition.
Both the Home Run Porch and Centerfield video displays will utilize Daktronics newest 15 millimeter LED technology, featuring tighter resolution and improved image quality. This technology and its control system allow for complete flexibility in programming. The video boards can operate as single giant displays or be divided into multiple zones (windows) to show a wide variety of statistics, information, graphics, animation, and live and recorded video.
The Daktronics Pro Star Video Display Board, which replaced the manual scoreboard on the left field prior to the 2009 season, will be upgraded with HD technology. The three boards will provide HD video capability to fans from any vantage point in Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
SELECT READ MORE TO SEE IPTV AND NEW CONCESSION DISPLAYS, PLUS AUDIO UPGRADES FOR THE 2011 SEASON AT THE BALLPARK
It doesn't seem possible, but 2011 will mark the Orioles 20th season at Camden Yards. While the team has been horrible on the field (13 consecutive losing seasons dating back to 1997), Oriole Park at Camden Yards has been, from the beginning, a winner.
With low attendance marking the time with the poor play, along with the 20th anniversary, the Orioles announced on Tuesday that OPACY is undergoing renovations to the seating bowl designed to keep the facility competitive.
Currently the Maryland Stadium Authority is currently completing the final phase of the replacement of the seats in the Oriole Park seating bowl as part of their deferred maintenance program. Last off-season, all seats in the lower level from foul pole to foul pole were replaced, along with necessary repairs to the concrete in this area. The work concludes this off-season, as MSA repairs concrete and replaces seats in the lower level outfield, the club level and the upper deck.
At the request of the Orioles the club level and upper deck at Camden Yards will be furnished with wider seats that will be more comfortable for fans. In addition, sightlines for fans on both of those levels will be improved, as new, less intrusive railings will be installed, enhancing the view of those sitting in the first few rows of both levels, as well as fans sitting in and around upper deck equal access and companion seats.
Those changes will lower seating capacity at Camden Yards from the current 48,290 to 45,971, a decrease of 2,319 seats. The decrease should not be felt, at least until the Orioles get back to their winning ways and begin drawing large crowds again. According to Eric Fisher of the SportsBusiness Journal, there has only been 26 times over the last 5 season that the new seating capacity that the ballpark will see has been surpassed.
Recently opened ballparks such as Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia (43,651); Citi Field in New York (41,800); Nationals Park in Washington, DC (41,546); Petco Park in San Diego (42,691); and Minnesota’s Target Field (39,504) all have capacities smaller than Oriole Park.
Other improvements to the ballpark include the installation of drink rails in portions of the club level seating bowl down the left field and right field lines, as well as the addition of bistro tables facing the field on the left field club level, thus creating a “viewing deck”. Both locations are ideal for individuals as well as small and large groups.
These changes are expected to be approved by the Board of Public Works on November 17.
1 to 3. Fenway Park will see continued improvements with upgrades for video display including increased size for the main display, and the addition of two smaller displays to its left and right
The dreamers of Yawkey Way are at it again, imagining more features for the oldest ballpark in the game. The Red Sox yesterday announced the final round of major offseason improvements closing a ten year loop of annual upgrades designed to keep the Red Sox in Fenway into the middle of the 21st century.
“This is the last year of a ten-year series of improvements to Fenway Park that has given this venerable old ballpark new life,” said Red Sox President/CEO Larry Lucchino.
Most prominent of the Year X augmentations is the installation of a trio of gigantic video boards that will tower over the center and right field bleachers. Following the lead of the minor league affiliate in Pawtucket, the big club in Beantown turns to high definition video as a means of enhancing the fans experience at the ballpark.
Video boards have provided in-game replays for many years, but never with the clarity of picture that modern screens can provide, effectively creating a high def television with more square footage than an average one bedroom apartment.
Additionally, Fenway's new video boards create opportunities for revenue streams through digital signage advertising opportunities. In the artist's renderings of the new video boards, the generic "SPONSOR" above the board over the right field bleachers stands out as a promotional place awaiting someone's marketing budget. In addition the new main video screen above the centerfield bleachers will be able to mimic the look of the old rotational sponsor signs.
The main board will measure approximately 38 feet high by 100 feet wide and will replace the existing elements of the structure above the bleachers in centerfield which saw 35 seasons of action. The board will display full-screen live video, game action accompanied by real-time statistics, sponsor graphics partnered with the box scores or any combination of visuals and game information.
Flanking the main board will be two smaller video boards. The existing Bank of America hitters and pitchers board in left center field will turn into a 17 feet high by 100 feet wide video screen with a new illuminated Bank of America sign atop the board. A third video screen, 16 feet high by 30 feet wide, will connect the Ford and Dunkin Donuts sponsor signs above the bleachers in right field. These Diamond Vision video systems will prominently feature real-time information such as batter and pitcher stats, pitch speed and type, box scores, promotions, announcements, upcoming schedules and other messaging.
In addition to the video boards, the Red Sox will be concrete repair, waterproofing and seat replacements of the right field seats in the lower bowl of the stadium, completing the repair and waterproofing of the entire lower seating bowl which began in 2007. Dugout, Field and Loge box seats are also being replaced and will include cup holders. The Dugout and Field seats will be padded. Concession and merchandise stands are also being expanded and new ones installed near Gate D. And the concourse from Gate D to Gate C is being repaired and upgraded as well.
The Red Sox also proposed an onfield adjustment. The Boston Herald reported yesterday that the Red Sox were seeking approval from the Boston landmarks commission to widen the bullpens by approximately nine feet. In doing so the distance to right field will shrink from 380 feet to 371 feet, likely adding a few home runs to both Red Sox and opposing hitters tally.
The coming 2011 campaign will mark Fenway's 99th season in operation. The improvements began prior to 2002 to culminate in the 100th anniversary of the park, what is expected to be a year-long celebration of Boston baseball and in particular the iconic ballpark, romanticized as a baseball cathedral by many a writer.
Click here to read the full Red Sox press release.