SBD/Issue 20/Facilities & Venues

Astros Plan $10-13M Renovation Project For Minute Maid Park

Minute Maid Park Renovation Centered Around
Nearly 7,000-Square-Foot HD Video Board

The Astros "have set about an overhaul" of 11-year-old Minute Maid Park, and the renovations "will enhance what is already among the most visually and especially aurally stimulating displays in baseball," according to Zachary Levine of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. The renovation plans are "centered around a nearly 7,000-square-foot high-definition video board" in right field. Plans also call for the "addition of a video board high above left field and a space at the back of the first level behind home plate designed to be a trendier offshoot of the elite Diamond Club level." To make room for the club seating, the writers' press box -- which also houses the official scorer, PA announcer and some Astros staff -- will "relocate to the second level," adjacent to the broadcasters' area. The Astros also will add a 175-seat "young-adult-oriented section," as well as "roughly 1,000 feet of continuous ribbon board will be laid out around the stadium." The ribbon board "will take the place of what is now roughly 100 feet on the first base side and 100 feet on the third base side." Astros President of Business Operations Pam Gardner said that the projects "will begin in the next couple of weeks ... and should be ready for the start of the 2011 season." Levine notes the Astros "will take on all the cost of the project, which internal estimates peg anywhere from $10 million to $13 million, from the asset renewal and replacement fund." The changes are "coincidental with efforts to work out a new television deal as the Astros can opt out of their arrangement with Fox Sports in 2012." Astros Owner Drayton McLane "has said on multiple occasions that he would listen to offers to sell the team, and stability including a favorable lease on Minute Maid Park, which lasts through 2029 with possible extensions, could help foster that" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/8).

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