The Syracuse Mets (Class AAA; International League) are preparing for major changes at NBT Bank Stadium, as a round of renovations is underway.
In July, Onondaga County officials approved a 25-year lease extension with the Mets and $25 million in future renovations to NBT Bank Stadium. The approval came after the county and New York Mets, owner and parent club of the Syracuse Mets, mapped out long-term plans that include a ballpark lease extension through 2043, along with the $25 million renovation project.
Renovation work began last month on a round of improvements that will be completed for the 2020 season. The ballpark’s seating has been removed, allowing for new, larger seats with cupholders to be installed along with other changes to the seating arrangement that include a terraced area behind home plate, drink rail seating down the left-field line, berms down both foul lines, and bleachers in some parts of the upper deck. In addition, the ballpark is receiving an interior and exterior paint job to match the Mets’ branding, new LED lighting, and the left-field wall is being moved in to accommodate future construction.
The current construction is part of a project that will see some work take place during the 2020 season, with the goal of completely finishing the renovations by 2021. Local officials believe that the renovations were instrumental in securing a longer commitment from the Mets, and feel that the project should create a better fan experience going forward. More from Syracuse.com:
The project is paid for by a $12.5 million state grant and $12.5 in local bonding (part of that will be covered by the revenue brought in by a new naming rights deal when the current one expired in 2025). The park looks much like it did when it opened in 1997 and the improvements were a requirement for the Mets, which own the franchise, agreeing to a lease extension through 2043.
“Most teams, over the course of the life cycle of this ballpark, have had new ballparks built or major, major renovations. With more money we could have done a lot more. But $25 million’s what we got, and we think it’s going to be a game-changer as far as fan experience, revenue-generating opportunities so the Mets can have a better chance to make back some of the investment they made (in buying the team),” said Onondaga County executive Ryan McMahon.
“There’s only one tenant in town for this, or we have no tenant. The deal with us, we’ve got a 25-year (lease) commitment from the New York Mets. That’s the big win for us, and the Triple-A baseball. The Mets, I think what we learned is that they went out and they put a good product on the field this year. Overall, the relationship was great in the first year. The more and more reasons we give people to come to the ballpark, they’re going to be coming to the ballpark.”
More work will be completed by the start of the 2021 season, including a bar area behind the left-field wall, the renovation and expansion of the Hank Sauer Room and party deck in right field, a new playing surface, expanded entrances, and the relocation of bullpens to behind the outfield wall. NBT Bank Stadium upgrades are coming on the heels of a successful year for the Mets, who saw an 18% increase in per-game average attendance this season. The 2019 season was the franchise’s first as a New York Mets affiliate, and the first under the Syracuse Mets name after rebranding from the Syracuse Chiefs moniker.
Renderings courtesy EwingCole.
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