Mounds of snow covered Citi Field's usually lush green turf on Thursday, but inside the stadium, baseball is back.Media members were invited to the annual "What's New At Citi Field" event, a tour that began at the new First Data Club and ended at the Porsche Grille high in the
Mounds of snow covered Citi Field's usually lush green turf on Thursday, but inside the stadium, baseball is back.
Media members were invited to the annual "What's New At Citi Field" event, a tour that began at the new First Data Club and ended at the Porsche Grille high in the left-field corner of the stadium. For the first time in the club's history, the Mets will offer more than 1 million promotional items to enhance the fans' experience.
First Data and the Mets have expanded their partnership to include a new club -- double the size of the one it replaces -- behind home plate. Fans sitting in the 400 seats closest to the field can enjoy free food and a private bar with direct access to the stadium's best seats. A payment-processing device allows fans to order anything from Shake Shack to gourmet sushi right from their seats.
"Fans experience the game much differently in 2018 than they did 20 years ago," said David Newman, the Mets' senior vice president of marketing and communications. "We want to make sure there's a little bit of everything for everyone."
The Mets also unveiled a newly renovated Citi Pavilion, located above the bullpens and next to Shea Bridge. The 2,160-square-foot space features panoramic views of the field, flex seating with benches, drink rails and high-top tables equipped with charging stations. The lounge-style space includes a new private bar serving alcoholic and soft drinks with light snacks. In a partnership with Verizon, the Mets added six upgraded seats outside the Porsche Grille, providing a unique view from upper left field.
Spring is here, and new seasons bring new food. The new Citi Field culinary offerings include Lil' Sweet Chick, serving chicken and waffles from the founders of SweetChick NYC; Wowfulls, which serves Hong Kong egg waffles with a variety of different toppings and flavors; and Baked Cheese Haus, a Wisconsin specialty and artisanal cheese company offering their Alpine Brat -- a melted raclette over a footlong brat on an artisan baguette.
The Mets are also partnering with pop culture brands like Build-A-Bear and Marvel to bring fans memorable experiences. Most striking is the Mets partnership with New Balance -- a multiyear landmark agreement making the group the Mets' official footwear and apparel company with a new sign above Shea Bridge and below the auxiliary scoreboard that's hard to miss.
"We are excited to join with New Balance as we align our brand with one of the most popular athletic brands in the world," said Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon. "Like the Mets, New Balance had a very loyal fan base, and we are proud to work with them in a variety of ways."
While many traditional fan favorites will return -- the Jim Beam Highball Club, Free Shirt Fridays, McDonald's Family Sundays, a Noah Syndergaard as Thor bobblehead on Aug. 4 vs. the Braves -- there is a plethora of new additions. For the first time, Mr. Met will appear as Han Solo alongside Chewbacca for a Star Wars-themed bobblehead on May 19 vs. the D-backs.
The Mets will be the first team in Major League Baseball to use Augmented Reality with bobbleheads; fans can enjoy an interactive experience on the box utilizing the MLB Ballpark app.
Mets home runs at Citi Field will have a different feel this season, as the New York Lottery bullpen jackpot promotion sign adds another interactive ballpark feature. The jackpot begins at $10,000 on Opening Day, and each game the sign is not hit by a Mets player, the jackpot increases by $5,000. Fans can enter for this jackpot online at SNY.tv/NewYorkLottery and the Mets will select one contestant per game. Winners can even be sitting on their couches in the comfort of their homes.
The Mets open their home slate against the Cardinals on March 29.
Deesha Thosar is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York City. Follow her on Twitter at @DeeshaThosar.