The Tampa Bay Rays announced Friday major renovations to Tropicana Field, including the closure of the upper deck level.
The reconfiguration of the ballpark will eliminate the upper-deck 300 level and decrease Tropicana Field’s capacity to an estimated 25,000-26,000 fans.
Last season, Tropicana Field had a capacity of 31,042 fans with the upper seats tarped and closed off.
Friday’s decision comes after the team announced in December it is terminating plans to build an $892 million ballpark in Ybor City.
The Rays had the second lowest home attendance for the 2018 MLB regular season with an average of 14,259 fans per game. Only the Miami Marlins had lower home attendance with an average of 10,014 fans per game.
Timeline: Tampa Bay Rays' stadium saga
The renovations also include the creation of the Left Field Ledge, a new area in the lower seating bowl featuring premium seating for small groups. The seats were tarped above the left field crosswalk. The Left Field Lege will include a full-service bar, ledge tables and seated drink rails.
Crews will also install LED lights through the stadium and concourses.
“These renovations mark our continued commitment to providing a first-rate fan experience at Tropicana Field,” said Rays President Matt Silverman in a news release. “Together, in concert with the reduction in seating capacity, these investments will help create a more intimate, entertaining and appealing experience for our fans.”
The Rays have invested more than $50 million in Tropicana Field renovations since 2005, including more than $15 million in the last two years.
Other renovations include:
- Redesigning fan entrances at Gates 4 and 5 to improve the flow of fans
- Exchanging the current turf for a new Shaw Sports Turf product
- Adding access from the Budweiser Porch and Ballpark & Rec areas to the Outfielder bar behind center field. There will also be an external entrance for the beverage space.
- Creation of the new GTE Financial Party Deck
Season-ticket holders will have an opportunity to see the renovations on Feb. 9 at the team’s Fan Fest.
Rays pitchers and catchers report to spring training on Feb. 13 in Port Charlotte.
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