In the latest renovations to their Tropicana Field home, the Tampa Bay Rays have announced plans to cut seat numbers from 31,042 to between 25,000 and 26,000.
The team is to remove the stadium’s upper deck, reconfiguring 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. Two key entrances (Gates 4 and 5) will be redesigned, to improve the flow of fans, with increased access points and wayfinding features.
Before the start of the 2019 season on March 20, the current turf will be replaced by a new Shaw Sports Turf product, and the existing field lights will be replaced by energy-efficient LED lights, improving overall on-field playability and entertainment lighting throughout the ballpark.
Further changes at the stadium will include the creation of additional gathering spaces, focusing on 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,” said Rays president Matt Silverman. “Together, in concert with the reduction in seating capacity, these investments will help create a more intimate, entertaining and appealing experience for our fans.”
Last season, the Rays updated their food, beverage and retail experience with new concession concepts designed to better reflect the surrounding community, and renovated the Rays Republic Team Store.
Despite their ongoing search for a new ballpark, the Rays have invested more than US$50m in Tropicana Field renovations since 2005, US$15m of it in the last two years.