SBJ/June 30-July 6, 2014/Facilities

Rockies’ room with a view popular with fans

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The Rooftop, a new upper-deck attraction at Coors Field, has paid off handsomely for the Colorado Rockies.

Through 37 home games, the Rockies had sold 60,000 general admission tickets for the right-field space, matching the total number of tickets sold for all of last year for 3,400 old reserved seats in that space, said Greg Feasel, the team’s executive vice president and chief operating officer.

In addition, food and beverage revenue at the Rooftop has tripled over last year’s numbers, said Carl Mittleman, president of Aramark, the ballpark’s concessionaire. The redeveloped 38,000-square-foot space, a multimillion-dollar project, spans two levels at the park’s highest point.

The Rooftop is the Rockies’ only general admission space. The redeveloped right field upper deck has group sales tied to one of two cabanas.
Photos by: COLORADO ROCKIES
The CHUBurger Colorado Craft Casual Grill in Section 303, part of the Rooftop, is selling an average of 1,000 hamburgers a game at $7.25 apiece. CHUBurger, a local brand owned by the Oskar Blues brewery in Longmont, Colo., has naming rights to the Rooftop grill area.

Overall, the Rooftop serves as the stadium’s only general admission space. The seating setup is mostly tables and chairs and is first come, first served, but the destination is accessible to all fans regardless of seat
location. It opens two hours before the first pitch, 30 minutes earlier than the rest of the ballpark.

The Rockies, in conjunction with Aramark and Populous, the firm designing the space and the ballpark’s original architect, essentially took one of the stadium’s least desirable spaces and turned it into one of the hottest spots in Denver against the backdrop of the Rocky
Mountains.

“We’re creating spaces that were not necessarily designed to be connected with baseball but to the socialization aspect of the sport,” Mittleman said. “We’re seeing more and more folks starting to look at these spaces … and food and beverage plays a critical role in the design.”

Officials from other MLB teams visiting Coors Field are touring the Rooftop for ideas. One of those was Derek Schiller, executive vice president of sales and marketing for the Atlanta Braves, who are developing a new ballpark in Cobb County that is expected to open for the 2017 season. The Braves hired Populous to design their stadium, and the team has a particular interest in developing a rooftop space in the right-field corner that could overlook the mixed-use development next to the facility, Schiller said.

The Rockies, meanwhile, went after millennials, the age 20 to 30 set, Feasel said. “The crowd is coming earlier and everybody wants to see it,” he said. “The view up there is spectacular and fans can watch batting practice. It’s packed by the second to third inning.”

The Rockies sell “Power Tickets” for the Rooftop, a marketing slogan tied to loaded tickets. The price is generally about $14 to $15 depending on the day of the week and the opponent. Six dollars of credit is embedded into every ticket, and fans can use the credit to buy food and drinks, including beer.

Aramark, for example, has a pregame special offering $3 Coors and Coors Light, enabling fans to buy two beers before they must dig into their pockets to pay for concessions, Feasel said.

Power Tickets are sold for seats throughout the ballpark, and this season the Rooftop’s general admission format has largely driven those sales. To date, the Rockies have moved 143,000 Power Tickets, almost doubling the 77,000 sold for all of last season, he said.

The redeveloped space also has a group sales component connected to one of two cabanas, which Feasel half-jokingly points out are the first in major league sports. The Jacksonville Jaguars open their new poolside cabanas for the coming NFL season at EverBank Field.

At Coors Field, the Rockies market one 50-person cabana for single-game rentals. The general admission ticket is $60 a person and includes a $15 concessions credit. Those patrons get a private bartender. They do not have a view to the game, Feasel said.

The second cabana is open to all Rooftop ticket holders.

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