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Year-end countdown: #7, Petco Park upgrades

Petco Park 2015 scoreboard

Between now and New Year’s Eve we’ll run down the top ten stories covered on Ballpark Digest in 2014, determined by page views. At #7: Petco Park upgrades for 2014 and 2015.

The Padres unveiled several improvements to the ballpark in 2014 to commemorate a 10-year anniversary: a new Park at the Park videoboard and an upgraded audio system with 226 new speakers. From our coverage:

The video display is located directly outside of center field and faces the grassy area known as the Park at the Park, a different seating option for all ages of Padres fans that simulates taking a family trip to a local park. This display features 10 millimeter line spacing and measures approximately 17 feet high by 29 feet wide to provide crisp, clear imagery. It will keep fans at the Park at the Park up to date on all of the action with live video, replays, stats and more….

The second part of the installation includes 226 individual speakers covering the upper and lower bowl, concourses and three new restaurant systems. Due to preexisting aging control systems, this project required reprogramming 200 amplifiers and 12 processors from the ground up.

The improvements for 2015 are even more impressive, as the Padres announced plans for the third-largest videoboard in all of baseball. From our story:

“This is the next phase of our multi-year plan to improve Petco Park,” said Padres President and CEO Mike Dee upon the project announcement in November. “The highlight of this year’s updates will be the new HD video board, 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.”

The new display towering over left field at Petco Park will measure approximately 61 feet high by 123.5 feet wide, covering 7,564.32 square feet and nearly five times the current video display (30 feet tall by 53 feet wide; 1,590 square feet). It will provide Padres fans with full live video and instant replays. It can also be divided into sections to provide any combination of scoring and statistics, player information, graphics and animations, sponsor messages, and other game information.

And a reconfiguration of left-field seating is part of the Petco Park improvements for 2015:

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.

Petco Park is one of the more underrated facilities in Major League Baseball. The 2015 improvements should address that issue.

As noted, we’re running down the top 10 stories of 2014 on Ballpark Digest. Previously:

#8, new Charlotte/El Paso ballparks
#9, ugly Christmas unis
#10, Fifth Third Ballpark fire

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