A future Tampa Bay Rays ballpark could include some cutting-edge technology features, as the team is considering ideas from fan feedback.
In any ballpark development, there will be some consideration of technology, whether it is by incorporating the latest audio and video features, or through state-of-the-art Wi-Fi connectivity. The Rays have taken that into consideration, and are looking at what they could include once they secure a new facility to replace Tropicana Field.
There are several unknown variables at this point, including when the Rays will secure a new ballpark, where it will be built, and which parties will emerge as partners. Having those pieces fall into place is crucial to getting a ballpark completed, and it adds to the fact that the Rays will have consider what takes place between now and when a new facility opens.
Close to 4,600 ideas for a new ballpark have been submitted via fan feedback, and an emphasis on technology was something that many fans indicated that they would like to see. The Rays, for their part, want to take technology into consideration for many areas, but still have to sort through numerous possibilities, according to vice president of strategy and development William Walsh. More from The Tampa Bay Times:
Some of the toughest decisions faced by the Rays’ executive team involve creating a stadium in a technology environment that is changing so rapidly that multimillion-dollar investments, like a parking garage, could become irrelevant in 15 years if self-driving cars become the norm.
“It was only 10 years ago that the first iPhone came out,” Walsh pointed out.
In those years, Major League Baseball has changed rules that speed up game play to better capture the attention of younger generations.
Stadiums and entertainment venues long ago began morphing from paper stubs to scanning tickets electronically. Like most stadiums, the Rays and phone companies like Verizon and AT&T have struggled to meet growing Internet demand for fans, who constantly tweet, snap, post and stream videos. While watching the game, they want to check statistics and zoom in on replays. And those fans have made it clear, Walsh said, that if they can’t be connected they’ll just stay home.
The Rays have plenty of reasons to consider these possibilities. Technology changes could not only affect what goes into the ballpark, but what surrounds it in terms of infrastructure and any development that could take shape around the facility. With a new facility is still several years away, the Rays have time to figure out these details, and could deliver something that engages fans for the ballpark’s initial years and beyond.
RELATED STORIES: Sternberg: Progress Being Made on New Rays Ballpark Search; Rick Kriseman Meets with Rob Manfred on Rays Ballpark; Hillsborough, Pinellas Continue Rays Ballpark Pitches; Best of 2016: #8, Rays Continue Ballpark Search; Manfred Discusses Rays Ballpark Search; Rays Connected to Montreal Move; Hillsborough County Mulls Funding of Rays Ballpark; Hillsborough County Pushing for Rays; Oldsmar Proposes Rays Ballpark; HKS Tweaks Plan for Tropicana Field Site; Oldsmar Making Push for Rays; Hillsborough Nearing High Tourism Impact Status; Ballpark Pitched for Tropicana Field Site; Is it Time to Start Eliminating Potential Rays Ballpark Sites?; Separating Wheat From Chaff in Tampa Bay Ballpark Search; Pinellas County Expanding Rays Ballpark Search; Pinellas County Throws 10 Sites into Rays Ballpark Mix; Rays: Single-Deck Ballpark, Non-Traditional Seating Possible; Rays, Politicos Discuss Nine Potential Ballpark Sites; Tampa Bay Rays: We want urban ballpark; Talking new Rays ballpark: roof, tech and more; Tampa mayor pitches downtown Rays ballpark; St. Pete to allow Rays to search in region for new ballpark site;St. Pete: Rays could leave by 2020 for $33 million; Sternberg: Rays still believe in Tampa Bay;Sternberg: Rays ballpark search will proceed;Rays, St. Pete continue ballpark relocation talks;Most county-board candidates indicate support for new Rays ballpark in Tampa; Time running out on key Rays funding component; New year, new day for new Rays ballpark?; Foster: MLB looking for reason to flee Tampa Bay; Residents: Let Rays buy out Trop lease, move to Tampa;Selig: No updates on Rays ballpark situation; Rays: We won’t buy out Trop lease on St. Pete’s terms; St. Pete mayor: Talks with Rays going poorly;Poll: little support for public funding of new Rays ballpark