Latest Dodger Stadium renovation to give ballpark the “front door” it never had

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ planned $100m (€90m) renovation of Dodger Stadium is designed to give the 57-year-old facility the front entrance it never really had.

The Major League Baseball club on July 23 unveiled an aggressive project that will create a new two-acre Centerfield Plaza at the ballpark with a beer garden, a pair of sports bars, food stands, retail outlets, a children’s play area, and space for pre- and post-game music. 

Other work, heavily conceived by influential stadium planner and Dodgers senior vice-president Janet Marie Smith, will include renovations to the left field and right field pavilions and the installation of new elevators and bridges that will allow for 360-degree fan circulation through the facility for the first time since opening in 1962. A new sound system will replace the current speaker tower being removed to allow for the Centerfield Plaza work.

“This will be a new front door for the stadium, and we really haven’t had one,” said Dodgers president and chief executive Stan Kasten. “We will have a front gate we never had before.”

The project is slated to start in November and be done in time for the start of the 2020 MLB season. The ballpark’s capacity of a MLB-leading 56,000 will remain unchanged, as well as its iconic view beyond the outfield wall toward the San Gabriel mountains. The new Centerfield Plaza, however, is expected to be an active area for the Dodgers’ corporate sponsors, who Kasten said “are looking to activate in a new way.”

The renovations by club owner Guggenheim Baseball Management, the latest iteration in a series of stadium projects since assuming control of the Dodgers in 2012, will seek to take advantage of the club playing host to the 2020 MLB All-Star Game. But it more broadly looks to update what is now the league’s third-oldest ballpark still in use behind Fenway Park in Boston and Chicago’s Wrigley Field. 

“The core design of Dodger Stadium remains a work of genius,” Kasten said.

The new Centerfield Plaza will also be home to an existing statue for baseball icon Jackie Robinson, which will be relocated the left field reserve area, and will be joined by a newly built one honoring fellow Dodgers legend and Baseball Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax.