ST. PETERSBURG -- While the Rays keep searching for a new ballpark, the club continues to look for ways to improve its current home, Tropicana Field.The new wave of renovations are highlighted by the reduction of the seating capacity at Tropicana Field, going from 31,042 seats to between 25,000-26,000. The
ST. PETERSBURG -- While the Rays keep searching for a new ballpark, the club continues to look for ways to improve its current home, Tropicana Field.
The new wave of renovations are highlighted by the reduction of the seating capacity at Tropicana Field, going from 31,042 seats to between 25,000-26,000. The team also announced plans to create more social gathering spaces with the creation of the Left Field Ledge, which will include a full-service bar, ledge tables and seated drink rails.
"These renovations mark our continued commitment to providing a first-rate fan experience at Tropicana Field," Rays president Matt Silverman said. "Together, in concert with the reduction in seating capacity, these investments will help create a more intimate, entertaining and appealing experience for our fans."
It's the second straight year that Tropicana Field has undergone renovations. Last season, Tampa Bay overhauled the food, beverage and retail experience by creating new concession concepts that better reflected the surrounding community, while also renovating the Rays Republic Team Store.
The Rays have now invested more than $50 million in Tropicana Field renovations since 2005, including more than $15 million in the last two years.
Here's a full look at the renovations Tropicana Field will undergo before the 2019 season:
● Offering more social gathering spaces with the creation of a new common area, the Left Field Ledge.
● Redesigning and enhancing two primary fan entrances (Gate 4 and 5) to improve the flow of fans through increased access points and wayfinding features.
● Exchanging the current turf for a new Shaw Sports Turf product, designed to withstand the myriad events held at Tropicana Field throughout the year.
● Adding access from the Budweiser Porch and Ballpark & Rec areas to the Outfielder bar behind center field, as well as creating an external entrance to the food and beverage space.
● Redoubling the organization's commitment to sustainable energy practices by replacing the existing field lights with energy-efficient LED lights, improving overall on-field playability and entertainment lighting throughout the ballpark.
● Elimination of the upper deck, which reconfigures the ballpark seating areas to include the first, mezzanine and second seating levels, as well as the new GTE Financial Party Deck. This will bring all fans closer to the field of play.
Juan Toribio covers the Rays for MLB.com.