JAY DAVIS: My teams are making fan experience bigger, better
I don’t know if it is just a mere coincidence or not, but my two favorite professional sports teams are about to go through a major upgrade in the places they call home.
The Minnesota Vikings are going whole hog with a brand new stadium that is going to cost somewhere near a billion dollars. The Chicago Cubs are going half a hog and doing a $500 million upgrade to Wrigley Field.
The question is, are the teams doing all this work to give their teams better chance to win world championships or are they making it more comfortable for the fans when the teams keep coming up short of their intended goals?
You can go to a couple places to take a look at what is going on with the two stadiums. Vikings.com has plenty of pictures, while WrigleyField.com has a video that explains everything that will be new in the Friendly Confines.
I don’t have to go into the details to let you know that both franchises are doing everything possible to give their fans the best game-day experience there is in their respective sports.
The new Vikings stadium will, without a doubt, be the fashion statement for all new stadiums in the future. While it will not be an open-air stadium, it will have a transparent roof and giant doors that will give fans the feeling they are outdoors. When the new stadium opens, even Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will feel a twinge of jealousy.
The Cubs have been due for some major changes for a long, long time. The last time Wrigley was given a major overhaul was way back in 1937, the year the ivy was hung on the outfield wall.
While the iconic outside will stay pretty much the same, as it should, the inside will be completely new. Everything will be new from the roof to the concourse to plumbing and wiring. The players will get plenty of attention too. The bleachers are going to be removed and under Wrigley there will be a remodeling. The Cubs are getting a new clubhouse, training room and batting cage. When that is done, new bleachers and a new dugout will be put back on top.
I have toured Wrigley, and you have to know it is old and outdated. The present locker room is smaller than the ones at Mobridge-Pollock High School.
One thing both places will have in common is giant scoreboards with HD screens as big as a house. Part of any rejuvenation of any stadium has to include gigantic HD video boards. With modern HD TVs in nearly every home in the country, teams have to give their fans a reason to fork over the big bucks and come to the see the games live. Modern team owners know they cannot just put a quality team on the field; they have to give fans a quality experience too.
The Vikings’ new stadium is scheduled to be complete for the 2016 season. Renovation at Wrigley Field will go on for the next five off-seasons. I’m sold on both. I can’t wait to see each place after all the work is done.