Report: Blue Jays opt for extensive Rogers Centre renovation instead of new stadium

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The Toronto Blue Jays line up behind a 'Home' sign to commemorate their first home game back in Toronto. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
The Toronto Blue Jays line up behind a 'Home' sign to commemorate their first home game back in Toronto. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

For many Toronto Blue Jays fans, the Rogers Centre is the only venue they’ve known as home, and it appears to be staying that way for the foreseeable future.

The organization is expected to finalize an overhaul of the Rogers Centre, which would include a renovation of the lower bowl, with the goal of modernizing the in-game experience, according to Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi. The plan hasn’t been finalized, but the renovations are expected to cost $200-250 million, per Don Muret of Venues Now, who was first to report the news.

Details are expected to be finalized in January 2021, with a subsequent unveiling of the plan to follow, Davidi reports.

Davidi previously reported that the Blue Jays had explored plans to look into the viability of a new stadium, but there are some impediments in the way — primarily that the Rogers Centre is currently zoned on land owned by Canada Lands Company, with exclusive zoning designation for stadium-use only. If Rogers were to build a new venue outside of where the current stadium exists, both Canada Lands and the City of Toronto could mount opposition.

Rogers Centre, known as the SkyDome until 2005, broke ground in 1986 and officially opened in June 1989. Once viewed as a state-of-the-art facility with a unique, retractable dome, critics have recently stated it has felt outdated, especially in comparison to newer ballparks.

As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Blue Jays have used Buffalo’s Sahlen Field, Dunedin’s TD Ballpark and the Rogers Centre as home venues throughout the past two seasons, in accordance with international border regulations.

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