Blue Jays given green light for Rogers Centre redevelopment

Major League Baseball franchise the Toronto Blue Jays has received approval to carry out renovation work at Rogers Centre amid ongoing talk over a potential new stadium for the team.

More details on the project are set to be announced during the opening months of the MLB season but the work is set to focus on improving the experience for both players and fans.

MLB.com reported that Rogers Centre’s clubhouse, training room and other facilities will be upgraded, while work is also set to be carried out in the 100 Level of the stadium to enhance the game-day experience for supporters.

Mark Shapiro, president and chief executive of the Blue Jays, said the work will provide the team with more time to assess a potential new stadium for the team. In November 2020, it was reported that Rogers Communications, which owns the team, had put plans to redevelop the ballpark temporarily on hold amid reports that the franchise is considering building a new stadium on the site of its current home.

The 49,000-seat Rogers Centre has been the home of the Blue Jays since 1989 and is also used to host music concerts. It previously served as the home of Canadian Football League team the Toronto Argonauts and also hosted the NBA’s Toronto Raptors in the 1990s while the team’s new arena was being built.

Discussing the planned renovation work at Rogers Centre, Shapiro said: “The majority of the impact is going to be felt in the lower bowl and concourses, but we will touch every part of the interior of the stadium, not much on the exterior.

“It’s not the renovation for the next 50 years – it’s probably for the next 10 to 15 – but we’ll still have a stadium issue. It just gives us good runway to deal with a very complex issue on a stadium. What does that look like if we stay where we are? What does that look like if we move (the stadium)?”

Shapiro added: “It really will be changing the entire lower bowl, so ripping out the lower bowl and creating a new (experience). The best thing to think about now is that we’re doing the best we can to move it from a stadium to a ballpark.”

It is hoped that the renovation work will be finished ahead of the 2025 season. The project will begin following the 2022 season.

The COVID-19 pandemic meant that the Blue Jays spent almost two years playing home games in the US due to travel restrictions with Canada. The team finally returned to Rogers Centre on July 30 last year for its first game at the stadium since September 2019.

The Blue Jays played the majority of its home games at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, New York during the 2020 season. At the start of the 2021 campaign, the team played home games at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Florida before returning to Sahlen Field in June.

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