Renovation of Dodger Stadium enters fourth stage
LOS ANGELES -- Baseline clubs. Double the concession stands and restroom facilities. They're all a part of Frank McCourt's master plan for putting Dodger Stadium on a par with the newer ballparks around the major leagues next season.
"We're committed to providing our fans with the best experience in sports. And to do that, we have to invest in this facility to make that a reality," McCourt said Tuesday.
"As far as whether these improvements are being made to compete with other ballparks, we think Dodger Stadium is unique. We think it's one of the great treasures in all of sports. What it lacks is simply the amenities of the new ballparks -- which don't have the setting, the fan base or the history and the tradition that Dodger Stadium has."
None of the improvements, the team's owner said, will affect the club's approach in the free agent market.
"They are two totally independent things. That's a separate investment, a separate goal and a separate set of dynamics," McCourt said.
The Dodgers' Opening Day player payroll of $108,704,524, was the sixth-highest in the majors.
"As far as putting a competitive team on the field, we also have to invest in that area," McCourt said.
Since McCourt and his wife Jamie purchased the Dodgers, they have made some $60 million in renovations. This fourth phase will cost approximately $70 million, which will include enlarging the concourses on the field level.
McCourt noted that when the stadium opened in 1962, the team drew 2.7 million fans.
"We'll do over 3.8 million this year, and as we said when we arrived, our goal was to draw 4 million," he said.
Dodger Stadium is the second-oldest facility in the National League behind Wrigley Field.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press