Have you ever gone to an outing at a ballpark and stopped to observe what was around you? The flashing video boards to the right and left of you, the thousands of seats that encumber the circumference of the stadium, the structure in itself, just how tall it actually stands? Have you ever stopped and asked yourself, what ungodly amount of money did it take to construct such an empire from the ground up? Millions, even billions of dollars go into these sources of entertainment each time one goes up or is renovated.
From the labor cost to raw materials to consulting fees and taxes to land acquisition costs and expensive technology, it all adds up. It all adds up and depending on location and other variables, the cost is different for every franchise; East coast versus West Coast versus Midwest and so on and so forth. It just so happens New York has the two of the most expensive stadiums, (Citi field and Yankees Stadium) mainly due to its location on the coast. They might not be the best teams, but they sure do have the most state-of-the-art stadiums to watch the games.
Not only that, but ballparks are more than ballparks these days. As you step into the gate there is entertainment galore; from fine dining restaurants for the elite to hundreds of bars for the average Joe. There are gift shops where you can purchase all sorts of paraphernalia and concession stands to indulge in of the finest ballpark franks around (Fenway still tops the charts in that department even though it may not have been the most expensive to build). So brace yourself as you read on. The amount of money that was put into these ballparks is unfathomable. They're cities within cities. New worlds to explore. You don't even have to appreciate the game to love physically going to the ballpark. Enclosed are the top six finest ballparks in the nation and a breakdown of how costly they were to build. In only one instance is one of these parks a shame and one of the reasons that baseball no longer resides in that city.
6 Marlins Park, $515-630 Million
The Miami Marlin's, a tough team to rely on already, has recently made themselves even more unworthy of coming to see them at the newly constructed Marlins stadium. With frugal owner, Jeffrey Loria, under the stadium's wing there was just cause for destruction from the get go. After all, the public funded stadium that now sits in "Little Havana" was a frivolous means to a tumultuous end. Despite it's efforts to bring more fans in and support a local community the project failed miserably. In other words, the $515 million project did not exceed its expectations. Looking like a space mobile from the outside it has a very modern appeal. Tacky, one might say, but that's Miami for you. The stadium's Opening Day in 2009, brought in a full house but things just plummeted from there. There would only be one other day that year where all seats were reserved. Parking sucks and traffic is unpleasant. In other words, for nonlocal fans it's a challenge to get to. Also, when the project began, there were only 6,000 parking spots and most were reserved for season's ticket holders. Residential spots were soon taken over and the locals grew frustrated and annoyed.
5 Rogers Centre, $590 Million
Located in downtown Toronto, Canada, and home of the Blue Jays, Rogers Centre is number five on the list. To start, Rogers Centre is one of the only ballparks to have a retractable roof for all types of weather. Location, location, location. The ballpark is situated in the heart of entertainment so if you didn't want to attend the ballgame, no worries, there is an abundance of other things to do in the beautiful city's cultural mecca. However, if you are intrigued by the sights and sounds of the game, you may want to stay at the beautiful Renaissance Hotel located on the stadium's North side. There, you will find access to the outfield as you peer out the windows of your room. There is nothing like watching a live ballgame in the privacy of a suite. Not only that, but the structure itself is catching to the eye. Modern and massive, unlike Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, its exterior is made of glass and concrete; its interior meticulously designed so as to awe passersby with a 110 foot wide high resolution video board and its newly constructed 12 Kitchen inspired by Hall of Famer #12, Roberto Alomar and his nationality. The eclectic menu embraces Alomar's heritage as it showcases Puerto Rico's finest cuisine.
4 Nationals Park, $611-693 Million
The Washington National's aren't necessarily the most stellar baseball team in the league but they sure do have a grandiose ballpark to sit back and take it all in. Some say it cost up to $693 million dollars, others on the more conservative side, say $611 million. I know that's a jump in price but no matter what it is, National's Park ranks number three as the most expensive ballparks to build in America. Why so extravagant for a mediocre team? It's Washington! Our Capital! There are views in all areas of the ballpark overlooking the Washington Monument and State Capital as well as the surrounding river front and Navy Yard; not to mention it is the first and only 'green' ballpark in lieu of being LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver Certified by the US Green Building Council which, in retrospect, cuts down on transportation costs and supports the local economy.
Originally a dilapidated stadium in dire need of a makeover, Nationals Stadium is one of the few ballparks where you can say it was well worth the financial burden over the astute city of Washington D.C. The renovated venue currently seats 41,546 and is constructed in steel, glass and pre-caste concrete which reflects the architecture of the city in itself. A masterpiece that holds diverse and unique concourses and seating decks where each experience is one of a kind.
3 Citi Field, $850 Million
Located in New York, Citi Field's price tag after it was renovated in 2009 cost $850 million, making it the third most expensive park to build. Queens Ballpark Company, L.L.C, the company who took over the project, enhanced the stadium with 42,500 seats and standing room. The seven level park includes private club seats, private and party suites, food and beverage service facilities, retail space, corporate business space, function space and facilities for the media and other functions. The construction of City Field also was enveloped in its controversies mainly because the project was funded by tax exempt bonds, all of which were to be paid back in the long run.
2 Yankee Stadium, $1.3 Billion
Home of the New York Yankees and Derek Jeter, Yankees Stadium was rebuilt in 2009. Among the work that was done much has gone into making this state-of-the-art ballpark into a majestic 'Home of the Yankees'. $1.3 billion dollars later there is much to say about the price tag starting from the ground up. In the beginning, it was a controversial issue among the masses because they were to demolish 24 acres of park land and use tax-exempt bonds to finance the project. In the end, a parking garage and even a new Metro to decrease the amount of exhaust in the air and traffic coming to and fro, was put in place. Also, the 24 acres of destroyed parkland was renewed with parkland fit with baseball fields, tennis courts, open spaces and waterfront parks around the stadium. The parking garage cost alone was $70 million.
1 Olympic Stadium, $1.4 Billion
Technically this wasn't built for baseball, but it was the home of the Montreal Expos and was a major reason for their departure. Let's start with it's history. It was 1976, the stadium was scheduled to be finished, just in time for the summer Olympics, opening day. Failure number one. The stadium wasn't in fact finished but the show went on. After the Olympics, plans remained to complete the construction, but cost overruns and engineering problems abruptly swayed the project in the opposite direction.
1986, ten years later, the structural system was flawed. Engineers were forced to change the concrete structure to steel. In 1987, again the flawed stadium had to be reconsidered. The non retractable roof made of synthetic fabric fared a disaster. Every year the roof's tears, and rips cost the organization $700,000 in repairs.
All in all, Québec's Olympic Stadium cost over $1 billion to complete because of interest. Now, there is debate on whether to demolish the Expos' home turf or keep it afloat. With possible asbestos within the concrete walls and the stadium's fiberglass roof, the estimated value to do so would not be a far cry from $700 million!
The stadium's poor location and ancient design did not making it an appealing place for fans to go for baseball despite it's ridiculous cost and eventually, along with Bud Selig's agenda, forced the Expos from the city.