rogers centre upgrades

Here's what the Rogers Centre's new $300 million upgrades will look like

The Toronto Blue Jays have revealed the next steps for the aging Rogers Centre, with club President and CEO Mark Shapiro announcing sweeping upgrades to the 1989-built stadium on Thursday afternoon.

The Blue Jays tweeted out renderings of the stadium renovations as Shapiro spoke to members of the media on Thursday afternoon, revealing that a $300-million privately-funded overhaul is set to begin this off-season.

It didn't come with the long-discussed natural grass or return to the original SkyDome branding that some fans had hoped for, but it's a pretty substantial change to an iconic sports facility.

"That era of stadiums were symmetrical, homogenous, meant for multiple sports," said Shapiro on Thursday, suggesting that these renovations will bring the stadium closer to a true ballpark, further distancing the dome from its multipurpose past as a combined football and baseball venue.

The most substantial change for fans and players will be a long-rumoured reconfiguration of the lower bowl.

Changes to seating and bullpen configurations will shift outfield walls in a way that will almost certainly result in more home runs cranked. The left-field bullpen is to be topped by a Bullpen Patio where fans can take in drinks while checking in on bullpen activity.

Renovations include creating new elevated seats near the foul poles with a curved protrusion that puts fans closer to the action. New patio-style seating will even be added to the dreary 500 level.

Behind the scenes, the Jays will be getting a new family area, a 5,000-square-foot weight room, and staff locker rooms.

The team expects the work to be carried out over the next two to three off-seasons, meaning that renovations might not be fully realized until as late as 2025.

The Rogers Centre was a wonder of engineering when it opened as the SkyDome in 1989 with its first-ever operational retractable roof, but it has since slipped down the rankings, and is the 7th oldest in the entire MLB as of 2022.

Almost two years before the announcement of the latest round of upgrades, reports emerged that the Blue Jays and developer Brookfield were cooking up plans for a new downtown stadium that would spell the end of the Dome.

In late 2021, it was revealed that the Jays would instead opt for a quarter-billion-dollar facelift for the aging ballpark, an expensive band-aid solution that would buy the team another decade and a half to hash out a long-term plan.

News of the stadium overhaul came amid a smaller-scale stadium upgrade, which added a range of new features, including a massive new 8,000 square-foot screen and scoreboard combination.

The stadium cost approximately $570 million in cocaine-sprinkled 1980s dollars, which adjusts to about $1 billion after inflation.

Rogers acquired the stadium — and gave it a controversial corporate rebrand — for literal pennies on the dollar back in 2004, paying just $25 million, or about four per cent of the stadium's construction cost.

So when you consider how little the media giant paid for the stadium and naming rights, the vast injection of dollars isn't too far out of left field.

Lead photo by

Toronto Blue Jays


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