The San Diego Padres unveiled the next round of upgrades to Petco Park, including new left-field seating, altered outfield fences and the third-largest videoboard in Major League Baseball.
Work has begun on the ballpark improvements, which should be done in plenty of time for the 2015 season opener. This is the third year of Petco Park improvements. Last year, in addition to an overhaul of the ballpark’s audio system, the Padres installed a new high-definition videoboard at Park at the Park. New right field lower and upper LED ribbon boards were installed prior to the 2013 season.
“This is the next phase of our multi-year plan to improve Petco Park,” said Padres President and CEO Mike Dee. “The highlight of this year’s updates will be the new HD videoboard, the first of its kind here in San Diego. This will significantly enhance the fan experience, while also providing the opportunity to update the left field seating area.”
It will be the third-largest videoboard in MLB; videoboards in Seattle and Kansas City are larger.
Petco Park will go high-definition in 2015, with a state-of-the-art videoboard measuring 61.2-feet tall by 123.6-feet wide, covering 7,564.32 square feet, the third-largest in Major League Baseball, and the largest in the National League. The videoboard itself, provided by Daktronics, will be nearly five times the size of the current video screen (30-feet tall by 53-feet wide; 1,590 square feet), which has been in place since 2004, the inaugural season of Petco Park. The entire board can be run full-screen to show live action or video replays, or it can be split into sections for statistical information, graphics and animations.
In addition to the main board, there will be new LED ribbon boards spanning nearly 750 feet along the first and third base lines on the Toyota Terrace level (3.6-feet tall), as well as on the left field grandstand fascia (7.5-feet tall by 130-feet wide).
As part of this upgrade, Sony will provide a state-of-the-art HD control room, which will include in-house production, broadcast and entertainment systems. Also receiving a makeover are eight mini scoreboards located under overhangs in the seating bowl on the field level, as well as new 60″ Sony TVs in the same areas, to give fans seated in the back of those sections better views.
The videoboard installation will simultaneously allow for improvements to the left-field seating area. Two new rows of 19-inch-wide seats (171 total seats) will be added to the front of the Left Field Lower Box spanning sections 126, 128, 130, 132 and 134. Season Ticket Members will have purchase priority for the seating in these rows. Additionally, the removal of 110 fixed seats from the back rows of these sections will allow for the creation of a space featuring barstool seating that either can be sold as individual tickets, or, depending on the game, can serve as a social space for fans to gather.
The Left Field Upper Box overhang will be recessed four feet and raised, in order to create better sightlines for the lower seating level. That structural change will result in the conversion of 192 existing seats to 111 barstool seats along two drink rails at the front of the sections (226, 228, 230), creating a new single-game experience in left field. These structural changes also allow for the new LED ribbon on the left field grandstand fascia, which will feature game information to be seen throughout the park.
Finally, the removal of 610 fixed seats from the top of the Left Field Reserved sections (226, 228, 230) will allow for the addition of a new social group space that can accommodate up to 270 people.
In part to allow for the construction of the new seating, the padded outfield wall in left field and left center field will be brought in approximately 34″-38″ from where it begins in left field to the bullpen entrance in left center field. That same portion of the wall will be lowered to seven-feet tall, from its existing height of eight-feet.