Toronto Blue Jays fans have been given a final look at the newly-renovated Rogers Center ahead of the team’s home opener next week.

The Jays officially unveiled the first phase of the stadium’s $300 million renovation this morning, giving fans a preview of the revamped ballpark, which includes four brand new outfield districts.

“We’re incredibly excited,” Blue Jays Executive VP of Business Operations Anuk Karunaratne told CP24.

“It’s a transformed experience that our fans will experience on April 11, and it’s our first step towards transforming Roger Center from a stadium to a ballpark.”

The main focus of the phase one renovations was the creation of the new outfield neighborhoods, two of which are at the top of the stadium in the 500 level – the Corona Rooftop Patio and the Park Social.

Every 500 level seat has also been replaced for the first time since the Rogers Center opened in 1989.

The two other outfield neighborhoods – The Stop and the Catch Bar – sit at the 100 level and offer new park views as well as revamped food and drink options for fans.

“The outfield district is going to have a number of different neighborhoods and different social spaces that existing fans and new fans will be able to experience and really take in the game in a different way,” Karunaratne said.

“From the Corona rooftop which will be the coolest rooftop patio in Toronto to The Catch which is right above the visitors’ bullpen to just being able to get our fans closer to the action and closer to players – it’s a transformed viewing experience for our fans in Toronto.”

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The second phase of renovations, slated to begin as soon as this baseball season ends, will be geared towards improving the lower levels and the behind-the-scenes facilities at the Rogers Centre, including a significant overhaul of the team’s clubhouse.

Blue Jays President and CEO Mark Shapiro spoke to gathered media at the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Rogers Center today, saying the task of revamping the lower bowl will be daunting, but the completion of phase one is an exciting moment for the entire organization.

“Just five days from now, fans will stream through the gates and down the aisles. They’ll fill the outfield seats in the 500 level and look into the outfield district and see spaces that they will not know were largely created by them,” Shapiro said.

“Because all our research was done was to ask our fans what would create a compelling experience, what kind of different ways would they want to experience watching [a game]? And they’ll begin to be able to do that on April 11 when we open the outfield district and play our first game of the 2023 season.”

Shapiro said the organization wanted to create positive experiences for every type of fan, including die-hards who wanted to be as close to the action as possible.

“We’re going to get our fans closer to our players – and probably closer to visiting players than they want, but that’s OK – and we’re going to allow them to connect with each other and with our fans in a way they never have before,” he said.

Karunaratne says Blue Jays fans will notice the difference as soon as they step foot into the stadium this year.

“I think everyone as soon as they walk in whether you’re coming to the outfield or whether you’re sitting behind home plate, there’s an immediate impact that I think people will see,” he said.

“The outfield walls are different and the outfield looks completely different. And once people come in and experience these different spaces, I think hopefully, it will resonate with them, because we’ve tried to build these spaces with our fans in mind.”

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And for those fans looking for a cheaper way to take in the newly renovated stadium, the Jays announced last month that they’re offering $20 outfield district tickets this season, allowing fans admission to the stadium without having to purchase an assigned seat.

The Blue Jays host the Detroit Tigers next Tuesday night for their first game in the reimagined ballpark.

All photos courtesy of the Toronto Blue Jays.

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