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Rays’ Renovations To Improve Fan Experience At The Trop

By Trevor DeGroot, Twitter: @TrevorDeGroot
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ST. PETERSBURG, FL: "Rays 360" construction helmets provided to media members at Tropicana Field, Tuesday, December 3, 2013. (Photo by Trevor DeGroot)

ST. PETERSBURG, FL: “Rays 360″ construction helmets provided to media members at Tropicana Field, Tuesday, December 3, 2013. (Photo by Trevor DeGroot)

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There’s been a lot of talk recently about where the Rays franchise will play once the lease is up in 2027 at Tropicana Field. But until that time comes, Rays management is making advancements to help improve the fan experience with what they have.

On Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Rays introduced their new “Rays 360″ project to local media, which will create a 360-degree pedestrian concourse circulating around the lower seating bowl at the Trop. This will allow fans to have easier access to concessions and activity areas throughout the ballpark beginning next season.

Click here to view the renderings of the “Rays 360″ project, as well as pictures taken of the renovations already under construction.

“These renovations reflect our constant commitment to providing a first class gameday experience at Tropicana Field,” said Rays Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg. “A visit to the ballpark will be even more enjoyable because of these new features and attractions.”

In addition to the concourse, a new patio will be set up above the centerfield wall, formerly the home of the Everglades BBQ Smokehouse. No longer separated by walls and glass from the game, it is being transformed with open views of the field along with food and beverage areas so fans do not have to leave the in-game experience.

The centerfield patio will be connected to the already popular Captain Morgan Deck in left-centerfield, and a new deck overlooking the Rays Touch Tank in right-centerfield with the walkway circulating the rest of the ballpark.

“This project will significantly enhance the total ballpark experience,” said Rays Senior VP of Development and Business Affairs Michael Kalt. “It will make it much easier for our patrons to navigate the ballpark, and allow them to enjoy the game from exciting new areas and dynamic new vantage points.”

This will result in the loss of about 3,000 seats, mostly in the outfield to make room for the walkway. This should make the outfield seats more desirable for fans who want to be closer to the new amenities. Expected capacity at the start of the 2014 regular season at Tropicana Field will be 31,042.

Despite the Rays’ on-field success in recent years, they have remained toward the bottom in attendance, ranking last in both overall and average attendance the last two seasons.

What do you think of the new centerfield patio and concourse? Do these renovations entice you to attend more Rays games next year? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter (@987TheFan), and over the airwaves on 98.7 The Fan.

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