|The Rogers Center in Toronto|
|place||Toronto , Ontario|
|operator||Rogers Stadium Limited Partnership|
|start of building||3rd October 1986|
|opening||June 3, 1989|
|costs||570 million CAD|
|capacity||50,516 seats ( baseball )
53,506 seats ( Canadian football )
37,000 seats ( basketball )
10,000–55,000 seats ( concerts )
67,000–69,000 seats ( wrestling )
|playing area||Left Field Line - 328 ft (100 m)
Left-Center Power Alley - 375 ft (114 m)
Center Field - 404 ft (122 m)
Right-Center Power Alley - 375 ft (114 m)
Right Field Line - 328 ft ( 100 m)
backstop - 60 ft (18 m)
The Rogers Center ( called SkyDome until 2005 ) is a multifunctional sports arena in the Canadian city of Toronto . The stadium is home to the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team and the Toronto Argonauts Canadian football team . In addition to sporting events, the Rogers Center is also used for rock and pop concerts, as well as for trade fairs and other events. In July 2015 it was at the XVII. Pan American Games were used as the venue for the baseball competitions and served for the opening and closing ceremonies.
The stadium, which opened in June 1989 after two and a half years of construction, is a reaction to the Olympic stadium in Montreal, which is in competition within Canada . It is the first stadium whose roof can be fully opened automatically. The construction cost was just under 600 million Canadian dollars . In January 2005, the renaming of the stadium in Rogers Center took place after the Canadian telecommunications company Rogers Communications .
The Rogers Center is located in the middle of the entertainment district of Toronto's southern city center in the immediate vicinity of the CN Tower to the east . The railway line runs north of the stadium and joins the main train station 600 meters east . In the south there is a bus and car parking lot belonging to the arena. Immediately to the south of it runs parallel to the railway line, the Gardiner Expressway . North of the railroad tracks, a pedestrian suspension bridge leads to the Metro Toronto Convention Center .
The central location of the Rogers Center is both the underground and with trams to reach and buses. The Rogers Center has been connected to the main train station and the underground passages of the PATH since 1989 via the approximately 500-meter-long Skywalk covered footpath , which leads to the CN Tower . A further 180-meter-long Skywalk bridge from Simocoe Street also takes pedestrians from the north to the stadium via the train tracks, which separate the city like a lane.
The idea for a closed sports stadium dates back to November 1982, when an extremely heavy rain shower forced thousands of spectators into the covered part of the stadium during a Gray Cup game in the Exhibition Stadium . The spectators fled soaked into the completely overcrowded washrooms. In the audience was Bill Davis , then Prime Minister of Ontario . At the same time, over 7,862,000 viewers watched the game on television - which was also the highest audience rating to date - and witnessed the unreasonable conditions. When tens of thousands of sports fans celebrated the winners of the Gray Cup at City Hall the following day , they simultaneously chanted “We want a dome! We want a dome! ”(“ We want a dome! We want a dome! ”). This marked the beginning of the discussion about an all-weather stadium.
In June 1983, Prime Minister Davis officially announced that a committee would be set up to examine the feasibility of building a dome at Exhibition Stadium. The committee included Paul Godfrey, Larry Grossman and former Ontario Hydro Chairman Hugh Macaulay. Various proposals arose over the next few years. For example, consideration has been given to building a stadium with an airborne dome , similar to BC Place Stadium in Vancouver . In 1985 an international architecture competition was launched. In addition to a suitable design for the stadium, they were also looking for a suitable location. Exhibition Place , Downsview Airport and York University were originally up for discussion. In the end, a plot of land in the immediate vicinity of the CN Tower, which was close to an important railway and transport hub in Toronto, prevailed. This also upgraded the area called CityPlace in the southern inner city, which was previously used as a freight station by the Canadian National Railway (CN). Therefore, the property was bought from the CN railroad company for 150 million Canadian dollars.
The design for the stadium itself was won by the architect Rod Robbie and the engineer Michael Allan, who were particularly convincing with their concept because it had the largest movable roof of all the finalists and was technically sophisticated.
General contractor Ellis-Don Construction from London (Ontario) carried out the construction of the stadium. Various factors made the construction work difficult. First a functioning water pumping station had to be relocated on the property. In addition, the soil was contaminated by industrial use. Since the site had previously belonged to the CN railway company, the relevant buildings had to be demolished or moved. Due to archaeological finds, special care was required when excavating the foundation. The St. John pumping station was moved a few meters and is now located south of the stadium. The foundation stone was laid on October 3, 1986.
The stadium's completely retractable roof was the first of its kind in the world. Because great importance was attached to functional reliability, the designers deliberately kept the technology simple. At the same time, the design of the roof should be reminiscent of a dome . With the use of proven technologies, various problems that arose during the construction of the Montreal Olympic Stadium were to be avoided.
The Canadian federal government, the provincial government of Ontario , the city of Toronto and a consortium of over 30 companies shared the construction costs of around 570 million dollars . The public sector only bore around 30 million of the costs. The three Canadian breweries Labatt ' , Molson and Carling O'Keefe each contributed five million dollars. In addition, there were numerous companies that financed one of the 161 so-called skyboxes. These special lounges offer space for 16 to 40 people each, contain four parking spaces as well as their own advertising field and could be leased for 150,000 to 225,000 dollars per year (1989).
The financing model met with some criticism. For one thing, there was no public tender for the supplies and equipment. On the other hand, the exclusivity for companies that participated with five million dollars and thus received a contract period of up to 99 years was felt to be unfair. Signing companies included Coca-Cola , TSN and CIBC . This form of exclusivity also applied to advertising contracts. As a result, the situation arose that Pepsi was not allowed to display their advertising banners at a Madonna concert. Pepsi stated at the time that they would have been willing to pay well over $ 5 million for the terms of the contract. Local media described the advertising contribution as "scandalously low".
Naming and opening
The name was determined in a 1987 worldwide naming competition sponsored by the Toronto Sun newspaper . The selection committee received over 150,000 submissions with 12,897 different names. The four remaining favorites were Towerdome , Harbordome , SkyDome and The Dome . SkyDome was proposed by over 2,000 competitors . The winner was Kellie Watson from Wallaceburg , Ontario, who won a lifelong ticket for all SkyDome events.
The official opening ceremony took place on June 3, 1989 under the motto "The Opening of SkyDome: A Celebration". Sports reporter Brian Williams hosted the celebration , which was broadcast live on CBC television. Several different performances were presented to over 50,000 visitors that day. The jazz pianist and composer Oscar Peterson , the actress Andrea Martin , the artist André-Philippe Gagnon and the rock band Glass Tiger were present at the opening . The then Prime Minister of Ontario, David Peterson , activated the opening of the roof with a laser beam. In the course of the celebrations, a cloudburst poured over the city. Nevertheless, the roof was not closed because a group of parachutists were part of the program later on.
On June 5, 1989, the first sporting event took place in the SkyDome, a baseball game with the participation of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Problems in the 1990s
Just a few years after its opening, the stadium became a financial and thus also a political problem for the liberal Prime Minister David Peterson. In 1990, Bob Rae of the Ontario New Democratic Party won the election. He had the financial situation reviewed, which revealed an enormous debt level. The stadium would have had to be fully booked 600 days a year to be in the black again. In the first year, the operating business had generated $ 17 million. This was offset by $ 40 million to pay off the debt. The immediate incorporation of a luxury hotel and wellness club by Stadium Corporation of Ontario Limited (Stadco) was found to incur an additional cost of $ 112 million.
As the province slid into recession, Bob Rae appointed college professors Bruce Kidd and Bob White to chair the Stadco to help deal with its growing debt. However, there was no way to reverse the cost. Since the provincial government was held liable, public support for the stadium with its inflated costs dwindled and thus became the so-called " white elephant ". In March 1994, Rae was forced to clear all outstanding debts through the provincial treasury and had to sell the stadium to private syndicates at a very discounted price of $ 151 million.
In November 1998, had bankruptcy protection are applied. One of the main reasons was that most of the contracts for the skyboxes were up for renewal and, due to a mistake, the leases were only valid for ten years. The reduced market interest in the two sports teams based in the stadium led to a decrease in interest among other companies in participating in a skybox. In addition, the nearby Air Canada Center was under construction and the games of the teams in the city, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the upstart Toronto Raptors , would take place there in the future. Many companies could not afford it financially to have their own lounges in both stadiums.
In late 1998, Sportsco International LP bought the stadium for $ 85 million from bankruptcy protection.
Acquired by Rogers and renamed
In 2004, the Toronto-based Canadian telecommunications company Rogers Communications , which is also the parent company of the Blue Jays, acquired a stake in SkyDome for $ 25 million. On February 2, 2005, company founder and then CEO Ted Rogers announced that his company would significantly increase support for the Blue Jays to $ 210 million over the next three years and sign a contract to rename the SkyDom. After purchasing it for only $ 25 million, Rogers replaced the formerly state-of-the-art JumboTron monitor with a new screen from Daktronics and additional monitors. In addition, the old AstroTurf artificial turf was exchanged for the more modern FieldTurf .
In May 2005, Rogers and the Toronto Argonauts agreed on three five-year contracts until 2019. The Canadian football team, however, has the option to withdraw from the agreement after each of the three individual contracts expires.
In November 2005 the waiting room of the Rogers Center was completely redesigned and enlarged. In addition, 43 luxury lounges were renovated and some of them were converted into larger party rooms that can accommodate up to 150 people. In winter 2005/2006 the club house and the gym of the Blue Jays were renewed and some facade work was carried out.
In April 2006, the Rogers Center became Canada's first completely smoke-free building. The decision was based on a decree of the provincial government, which was to come into force on June 1, 2006. This also meant that there were no smoking rooms or corresponding zones in the stadium. In a statement dated April 7, 2009, the stadium operators undertook to stop the serving of alcohol on three match dates.
Architecture and construction technology
The Rogers Center consists of a concrete base with a circular floor plan about 220 meters in diameter and a white roof formed from several segments. Inside the stadium there is a baseball field , the opening outfield of which is oriented towards the north-northwest. The main entrances are to the south, on the lake side, further entrances are distributed on the west and east sides.
The structure was the first sports stadium with a completely retractable roof. The 6,808 ton dome roof consists of four elements, three of which with a weight of around 5,557 tons can be telescopically stowed one inside the other via a rail system. When open, the three movable roof panels are pushed over the fourth immovable and smallest element. To do this, the two middle elements are moved sideways to the semicircular element located to the north and the southern semicircular element is rotated 180 degrees so that all the panels can then be placed on top of each other inside. The elements are moved by 54 drive motors, which are powered by 750 hp generators, and a system of steel chains. The longest span of the roof is 205.5 meters, the height above the playing field 86 meters; the structure as a whole is 92 meters high at its highest point. In favorable weather conditions, the roof can be opened completely within 20 minutes and completely closed again in the same time. When the roof is fully open, 91% of the seats are in the open air; it covers a total of 32,100 square meters.
The roof is designed in such a way that it insulates acoustically when closed, but still delays the formation of steam inside. It is also thermally insulated and can withstand high mechanical pressure. In the calculations, snow pressure, which can accumulate from five winters, was taken into account, as were the strongest wind storms, which statistically hit the city once every 300 years. The roof can withstand a pressure of 3.6 kN / m², which corresponds to a wind speed of around 268 km / h. It can even survive the crash of a small plane. The roof, made entirely of steel, was covered with a white, weatherproof, 1.2 millimeter thick PVC membrane. The structure was subjected to extensive tests in the wind tunnel . Of particular interest was a test in which a 1: 500 scale model with a closed roof and all surrounding structures within a radius of 600 meters from the building was used. On the basis of these tests it could be determined that the stadium construction can withstand winds which statistically occur only once every 100 years.
The Rogers Center has a total of eleven floors, two basements and has 14 elevators. The stadium can also be visited by tourists as part of guided tours; it is illuminated at night.
The Rogers Center has a total of five color video screens and two amber ones . The central and largest measures 10 meters in height and 34 meters in width. It was replaced by Daktronics in 2005 and is based on modular LED technology, so that necessary repairs can be carried out very quickly during an event. Originally the screen was a Sony JumboTron and when it was installed in 1989 it was the largest video screen in North America. The canvas alone cost around $ 17 million.
The stadium, with its comfortable screen equipment, has been used for public viewing several times . For example, the television series Cheers and Spaceship Enterprise: The Next Century were broadcast here as well as the funeral procession of Princess Diana . Football fans were able to watch the final of the football World Cup in Germany on July 9, 2006 .
In 1989, when the SkyDome opened, over $ 5 million was spent on artwork both outside and inside the stadium. Underneath is a gold-colored series of sculptures by the Canadian artist Michael Snow The Audience , which depicts larger than life fans in various poses of celebration and jubilation at the northeast and northwest entrances.
Lutz Haufschild's A Tribute to Baseball plant is located at gate 5 between the south-east and south-west entrances. On the north side of the waiting hall you can see the glass and steel sculpture The Art of the Possible by Mimi Gellman. It was signed by the 2000 SkyDome construction workers and erected in their honor. The finds made during the foundation work, such as shotgun balls and ceramic pieces from the colonial era, are also integrated into the work of art. Salmon Run is a fountain created by Susan Schelle at the southeast entrance and shows various salmon made of stainless steel. The Spiral Fountain was designed by Judith Schwarz.
Use as a sports facility
The Rogers Center is the home of the Toronto Blue Jays ( baseball ) and the Toronto Argonauts ( Canadian football ). Depending on the sporting event, the stadium can hold 37,000 to over 52,000 spectators. From 1995 to 1999 the Toronto Raptors ( basketball ) were also based here. The conversion from baseball to football stadium takes about ten to twelve hours. The Raptors have since moved to the newly built Air Canada Center as the Rogers Center proved less suitable for basketball games. Many of the top tier viewers could only watch the game on the video screen because they were sitting too far from the pitch. The Buffalo Bills have played a home game at the Rogers Center every year since 2008 .
The surface during sporting events is artificial turf , namely AstroTurf from 1989 to 2004; FieldTurf has been used since 2005.
In addition to regular sporting events, the Rogers Center also hosted soccer , cricket , Gaelic football , Australian football and NCAA International Bowl games . The ATP Toronto Indoor tennis competition took place here in 1985, 1986 and 1990 . January 2007 the first then newly established International Bowl took place here when the teams from Western Michigan University and the University of Cincinnati met.
The Gray Cup , which is important for Canadian Football , has also taken place three times in the SkyDome and Rogers Center. The first time on November 26, 1989 (77th Gray Cup) and the second time on November 29, 1992 (80th Gray Cup). The 95th Gray Cup of the CFL was held on November 25, 2007 in the fully occupied and sold-out stadium with 52,230 spectators. In 1992 and 1993 , the Rogers Center hosted the MLB World Series games. In 2009 the first round of the World Baseball Classic took place. Two further major events were the two show fighting competitions WrestleMania VI and WrestleMania X8 on April 1, 1990 and March 17, 2002, respectively, in the sold-out SkyDome. Last set a still valid visitor record for the stadium with 68,237 spectators.
On June 1, 1997, an athletics running duel took place in which the “fastest man in the world” should be chosen. The Olympic champions Donovan Bailey and Michael Johnson competed against each other on the rarely run distance of 150 meters. Over 60 countries secured television broadcasting rights for the event and the winner was awarded a $ 1 million prize. The race, which was filled with high expectations beforehand, disappointed, however, as Michael Johnson was hopelessly behind from the start of the race and even had to retire due to an injury. Bailey was the first to cross the finish line in 14.99 seconds. The unequal duel made the event appear questionable.
In addition to national and international sports competitions, the Rogers Center is also the venue for important competitions in high schools and colleges , for example the Vanier Cup from 1989 to 2003 , a football competition of Canadian Interuniversity Sport . The Metro Bowl , the finals of high school football teams in the Greater Toronto Area, has been held here since 2008 .
Use for concerts
For music concerts, the capacity is between 10,000 and 55,000 people. The stadium has various configuration options specially designed for concerts. A smaller theater can hold between 5000 and 7000 spectators. The concert hall, also known as SkyTent , can accommodate between 10,000 and 25,000 visitors, depending on the seating. Due to the construction of the stadium and the building materials used, the acoustics are not particularly good. In particular, the volume and the sound quality vary greatly within the stadium. As a result, the popularity of music events has decreased accordingly in recent years, from which the Air Canada Center has benefited. In the SkyTent, a series of acoustic curtains reduce sound distortion and improve sound quality through dampening reverberation around the stadium.
Shortly after its opening, the Rogers Center was a widely used venue for large rock concerts and other music events. A lot of international stars have already performed in the stadium, including Metallica , Madonna , U2 , Depeche Mode , The Rolling Stones , The Three Tenors , Radiohead , Simon & Garfunkel , Garth Brooks , Backstreet Boys , Roger Waters , Black Sabbath , AC / DC , Limp Bizkit , Eminem , Janet Jackson , Avril Lavigne , Jonas Brothers and Cher .
One of the most notable incidents occurred on May 29, 1990, the third and final appearance of Madonna's Blond Ambition World Tour at the Rogers Center. The world tour was controversial in advance because the show performance was considered too offensive. The police came to the scene and threatened to arrest the artist. However, the show took place on schedule with no further sanctions.
The Rogers Center has 13,300 square meters of exhibition space that is used for various trade fairs and events. Automobile exhibitions take place several times a year. One of the best known is the Canadian International AutoShow , which is held in part at the Metro Toronto Convention Center and the Rogers Center. The event, which takes place in February, attracts around 300,000 visitors. In addition to the events of World Wrestling Entertainment , ice revues, motorsport events with monster trucks and circus performances also took place. The opening event of the 16th International AIDS Conference took place on August 13, 2006, also at the Rogers Center.
The arena is also the venue for public speeches or readings. In addition to Nelson Mandela , the preacher Billy Graham and the Dalai Lama Tendzin Gyatsho also spoke at the Rogers Center. On October 24, 2000, Harry Potter writer Joanne K. Rowling's largest public book reading took place.
Inside the Rogers Center is a branch of the Hard Rock Cafe overlooking the field. However, the lease will not be extended beyond 2010. In addition to three restaurants and a large fitness studio, the stadium also houses a Renaissance hotel with 348 rooms, 70 of which offer a view of the field. The Toronto Blue Jays and the Canadian company Ticketmaster have their headquarters in the Rogers Center.
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