The Toronto Blue Jays travel to Dunedin Stadium in Florida for spring training every year and will now continue to do so for the next two and half decades as the Blue Jays entered into a 25 year agreement with Dunedin Stadium that includes a contract extension which can be made five times for an extension period of 2 years.
Dunedin Will Have Massive Upgrade
Dunedin has managed to successfully close out a complicated agreement that will see the stadium receive a total of $81 million in funding from multiple sources. The stadium will receive $5.6 million in funding from the state of Florida and an additional $100,000 annually from year’s six to ten. Pinellas County has also approved $41.7 million in funding and Dunedin will apply for an additional $13.7 million in state funding which will be paid out before the end of this year.
The Blue Jays had earlier promised to invest $15.7 million in Dunedin but has now increased their budget to $20 million. They will also pump in a total of $45.3 million in operating costs during the 25 year lease period and another $13 million in capital replacement costs. Should the costs of the Dunedin renovation surpass the budget, the Blue Jays will have to foot the additional costs but do have provision to ask for further financial assistance.
Proposed Dunedin Upgrades
While none of the proposed upgrades for Dunedin stadium has been finalized, these are the proposed changes that will most likely be made. The stadium which currently has a seating capacity of 5,500 seats will be increased to 8,500 and 6,500 of these seats will be fixed. There will be a special boardwalk that will allow fan circulation to take place 360’s and protective netting will be installed behind the dugouts, home plate and down the lines.
A total of five private suites will be developed, one for the Blue Jay owners, one for family members of the players and three that can be converted into a party room. There are also plans to install as many as ten pan-tilt-zoom 1080i HD camerasthat can be operated remotely and will be used by the Blue Jays operations department to collect in-depth video footage which can then be analysed to help the team improve their game strategy.
Dunedin will have a total of six fields with one of them being transformed to replicate the Rogers Centre. One half-field will be used for the big-league while another half-field will be used for the minor league. The other four fields will also be used for minor league baseball and three of them could be given to the city to be used between April and November each year.
The Blue Jays have agreed to host a minimum of 15 big league games each year over the 25 year lease which means that Dunedin stadium will host a total of 375 games during full lease agreement. Dunedin will collect the money generated from stadium naming rights with conditions attached while the Blue Jays will receive all funds generated from merchandise, concessions, food and parking.