Ballpark Home Of Toronto’s Blue Jays Getting $300M More In Fan Experience Upgrades
August 10, 2022 by Dave Haynes
There have been a number of sports and entertainment stadiums and arenas in North America that have been demolished or deemed outdated and then vacated in favor of flashy, very expensive n ew digs, so it’s almost refreshing to read that a 33-year-old building is getting renovated for $300 million instead of replaced with a $1B+ palace.
It’s even more refreshing that the reno is being funded privately instead of by taxpayers.
That’s the case with plans announced to upgrade the Rogers Centre in Toronto, which older crowds may know better as Skydome – one of the first stadiums to have a roof that could be opened up on nice weather days and enclosed when that made sense. The stadium in downtown Toronto is home to baseball’s Blue Jays, and does everything from big concerts to monster truck shows.
I mention this because the conceptual drawings suggest – and logic dictates – that there will be a lot of new or refreshed digital in the seating bowl, the suites and the public concourses. So a lot of displays, a lot of IPTV and a lot of software licenses for vendors to chase (assuming that deal’s not already done).
With a $300 million renovation that will take place over the next two off-seasons, the Blue Jays plan to transform the stadium into a true ballpark with modernized fan experiences and enhanced player facilities. The project, which is privately funded and the first large-scale renovation in the building’s history, will begin this winter.
“It’s going to be a dramatically different look on Opening Day of 2023,” Blue Jays president/CEO Mark Shapiro told reporters at Rogers Centre on Thursday. “The largest focus [is] modernizing fan experience. Taking a 1980s perspective of what an experience was, and turning that into a 2020s [notion] and beyond of what compelling fan experience should be in our modern sports entertainment landscape.”
Shapiro also notes that this is not the only upgrade in the works (and maybe there will be a new ballpark down the road) …
But this announcement doesn’t change the organization’s long-term plan to overhaul the current stadium, either by building an entirely new ballpark at another Toronto location or by investing in even larger renovations for the current one.
“This is a medium-term solution,” Shapiro told reporters. “What does that mean? I’m not sure I can put an exact year on that, but 10-12 years, something in that time frame. We still will need, at some point, the undertaking of: What does a new ballpark or a massive renovation of this existing stadium mean?”
This $300M seems to be different money from than the $200M in upgrades at the same building announced this spring, notably for a lot of new LED displays facing fans – all of that done by Daktronics.
The AV upgrades were guided by a company called Anthony James Partners, self-described as an industry leading owner’s representative and AV consultant. So if you were chasing some of this business – like maybe concessions menu displays – that company would likely be a good place to start.