A day before the World Series, the team that generally used to playing this time of year, announced new enhancements to its stadium for 2017.
Going into its ninth season, Yankee Stadium is going through an overhaul adding viewing decks and a kid friendly area to the new version of the historic stadium.
“We have listened to our fans and ticketholders and their top requests were for more family-friendly and socially-oriented spaces at Yankee Stadium,” said Yankees Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner said in a statement. “Yankees fans will now have many more dedicated areas for spending time with guests who have tickets in other sections of the Stadium, allowing all Guests to be able to enjoy the game from multiple vantage points while having unique food and drink options available to them.
“We are also especially excited to provide an engaging children’s play area for families to utilize prior to and throughout the game. Having these types of spaces in Yankee Stadium is fundamental to the expectations of our fans, and we look forward to making them a huge part of the Yankee Stadium experience in 2017 and beyond.”
And it’s about time. Since it opened, one major complaint of the stadium was that it wasn’t family friendly and there wasn’t a lot to do in the stadium, unless you were in the high priced sections. But these new areas will be opened to all ticket holders, which is a step in the right direction.
First and foremost the Yankees are opening up the Sunrun Kids Clubhouse, which seems to be located on the roof of the Great Hall out in right field. Shaped like a mini-baseball field with a soft artificial surface, the 2,850-square-foot area will be located on the 300 Level in right field and will be outfitted with Yankees-themed playground equipment, including oversized baseballs, bases and baseball cards. It will be accessible to all fans.
“We want our youngest fans to feel as if Yankee Stadium is an extension of their local park or backyard,” Steinbrenner said. “The Sunrun Kids Clubhouse is designed to nurture their love for experiencing games in person, while providing parents the resources they need to keep their children entertained prior to and during the game.”
Most new stadiums have something like this. Citi Field has one beyond center field. Speaking to many Yankee fans with kids, it’s something that was sorely missing from the Stadium and will probably be heavily used.
The Yankees will also be adding a number of food and drink locations that is designed to have fans watch games from different parts of the stadium. Unlike many of the specialty locations that were built before, these will be accessible to any fan in the ballpark.
Out in the batters eye beyond center, the Yankees will be taking out the obstructed view bleacher seats and expanding the Batters Eye Viewing Deck and adding the Bullpen Landings. Remember when the stadium opened, those were the seats that had the greatest complaints. Anyone sitting there loses the view of half the field and frankly, these were not good seats. Now this will put that space to better use.
The Budweiser Party Decks will be similar to the ones in Citi Field and many of the other stadiums in the majors with a bar behind the section of seats at sections 311 and 328.
Finally the AT&T Sports Lounge will have DirectTV to watch other events, while also have a number of craft beers and food. At section 130, these will also have charging stations for your devices.
Now, not everyone is happy with these enhancements. On WFAN today, Mike Francessa took the cynical view of the mini-renovation when he said, “See, they don’t think going to the game is good enough anymore, folks.They think that the fan needs other things to keep them busy at the game instead of a good, exciting team.”
Maybe, but this is how baseball is run today. Frankly, the Yankees were behind the times with their stadium, catering to the high end corporate accounts and not the regular fans. Now there will be $15.00 seats available as well as specials for $5.00 seats.
These changes will remove about 2,100 seats from the park, including 1,100 obstructed view seats in the outfield and 600 terrace level seats..
Remember the Yankees like every other team is competing for the entertainment dollar. The Mets learned that over the past few seasons and now the Yankees are following suit.
These changes were desperately needed.