Thu 10 March 2022 | 20:29

Top facts about Rogers Centre, Home of Toronto Blue Jays

Stadiums are the heart of football where all fans gather together and cheer their team. Today we are going to read about one of these stadiums in Sportmob's top facts about Rogers Centre.

Welcome to Sportmob's Top facts about Rogers Centre! The stadium, formerly known as SkyDome, is a multi-purpose retractable roof stadium located in Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada, immediately southwest of the CN Tower and near the northern coast of Lake Ontario.

It was built on the former Railway Lands in 1989 and is the home of the Toronto Blue Jays of Major League Baseball (MLB). Previously, the stadium was also home to the Canadian Football League's (CFL) Toronto Argonauts and the National Basketball Association's (


) Toronto Raptors (NBA).

From 2008 through 2013, the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League (


) played an annual game at the stadium as part of the Bills Toronto Series. It is primarily a sports facility, although it also holds conventions, trade fairs, concerts, traveling carnivals, circuses, and monster truck displays.

Following the 2005 purchase of the stadium by Rogers Communications, which also owns the Toronto Blue Jays, the stadium was renamed "Rogers Centre." The stadium is notable for having the first fully retractable motorized roof, as well as the 348-room hotel next to it, with 70 rooms overlooking the field.

It is also the last major-league stadium in North America built to accommodate both football and baseball. Due to sponsorship requirements, the stadium was renamed the Pan-Am Dome or Pan-Am Ceremonies Venue and hosted both the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2015 Pan American Games. However, this is not all the story so let's continue our

Top facts about Rogers Centre


Let's dive into top facts about Rogers Centre

Before we get into the real story and start our journey to find all the untold facts about Rogers Centre, we will take a look at some quick facts that will help us better understand the story and discover untold stories in Sportmob's  Top facts about Rogers Centre.

  • Former name:


  • Address:

    1 Blue Jays Way

  • Location:

    Toronto, Ontario

  • Owner:

    Rogers Communications

  • Operator

    : Rogers Stadium Limited Partnership

  • Capacity for Baseball:


  • Capacity for Canadian football

    : 31,074 

  • Capacity for American football:


  • Capacity for Soccer:


  • Capacity for Basketball:


  • Capacity for Concerts:


  • Record attendance:

    WrestleMania X8: 68,237

  • Broke ground:

    October 3, 1986

  • Opened:

    June 3, 1989

  • Construction cost:

    $570 million

Rogers Centre origin

Let's talk about the stadium's history in the first part of Sportmob's

Top facts about Rogers Centre

. The concept of constructing a domed stadium dates back to the 1968 Olympic bid, which Toronto lost to Montreal as the Canadian candidate city for the 1976 games. An 80,000–100,000 seat structure is proposed as part of the Harbour City development on the site of Maple Leaf Stadium.

The modern push for constructing an enclosed sports arena in Toronto arose in the aftermath of the Grey Cup game, which was held at the outdoor Exhibition Stadium in November 1982. The game (in which the hometown Toronto Argonauts, commonly known as the Argos were making their first Grey Cup appearance since 1971 and was played in a torrential rainstorm that soaked the majority of the audience, earning it the nickname "the Rain Bowl" by the media.

Thousands of people watched the game from the concession stand because many of the seats were entirely exposed to the elements. The restrooms overflowed, exacerbating an already unpleasant situation. Bill Davis, the Premier of Ontario, was in attendance that day, and the awful conditions were witnessed by the greatest television audience in Canada -almost 7.862 million viewers- at the time.

The next day, at a demonstration for the Argos at Toronto City Hall, tens of thousands of fans from the game began to chant, "We'd like a dome! We'd like a dome!" Shall we continue the Top facts about Rogers Centre and learn about stadiums alive.

Rogers Centre design

Seven months later, in June 1983, Davis publicly announced the formation of a three-person committee to investigate the feasibility of constructing a domed stadium at Exhibition Place. Hugh Macaulay, former chairman of Ontario Hydro, and Paul Godfrey were on the committee.

The group looked into a number of concepts, including a big indoor stadium at Exhibition Place with an air-supported dome similar to BC Place in Vancouver. An international design competition for a new stadium, as well as the selection of a location, was launched in 1985.

Exhibition Place, Downsview Airport, and York University were among the potential locations. The ultimate location was near Union Station, a major railway and transit hub, at the base of the CN Tower.

The Railway Lands were a significant Canadian National Railway train switching yard that included the CNR Spadina Roundhouse (the desolate downtown lands were part of a master plan for revitalizing the area, which includes CityPlace). The Robbie/Allen proposal ultimately won because it had the largest roof opening of all the contenders and was the most technically sound.

The stadium was planned by Rod Robbie and structural engineer Michael Allen, and it was built by the EllisDon Construction Company of London, Ontario, and the Dominion Bridge Company of Lachine, Quebec.

From October 1986 until May 1989, the stadium was under construction for nearly two and a half years. The estimated cost of construction was C$570 million ($1.04 billion in 2020 dollars), which was covered by the federal government, the provincial government of Ontario, the City of Toronto, and a broad consortium of enterprises.

The money behind Rogers Centre

The stadium was built as a public/private collaboration, with the government footing the majority of the bill. The initial cost of $150 million was greatly understated, with the ultimate price totaling C$570 million ($1.04 billion in 2020 currencies).

In the beginning, two levels of government (Metro Toronto and Provincial) each paid $30 million ($54.9 million in 2020 dollars). This does not include the value of the land on which the stadium is built, which is owned by the Canada Lands Company and the City of Toronto and is leased for $900,000 per year until 2088.

The three major breweries in Canada (Labatt's, Molson, and Carling O'Keefe) and the Toronto Blue Jays each contributed $5 million ($9.16 million in 2020 USD) to the stadium's construction. An additional 26 Canadian firms (chosen by invitation only) contributed $5 million, in exchange for one of the 161 Skyboxes with four parking spaces (for ten years, with the option to renew) and a 99-year exclusive option on stadium advertising. In 1989, skyboxes were first leased for $150,000 to $225,000 per year (about $274,733 to $412,099 in 2020 USD) — plus the cost of all event tickets.

The unorthodox financing structure at the time sparked debate. For starters, there was no open bidding for supplies and equipment. Second, firms that paid the $5 million price, such as Coca-Cola, TSN, and CIBC, obtained full stadium exclusivity, including advertising rights, for the duration of their contract, which could be extended for up to 99 years.

Third, the contracts were not placed out for bid, raising questions about whether they were made at market value: Pepsi indicated at the time that if they had known the details of the contract, they would have paid significantly more than $5 million for the rights. The amount charged to the corporations was described as "scandalously low" by local media outlets such as NOW Magazine.

Building the Rogers Centre

EllisDon, the project's primary contractor, oversaw the construction of the Ontario Stadium Project. Several difficulties hindered the construction: the lands had an operational water pumping station that had to be relocated, the soil was contaminated from a century of industrial usage, railway buildings had to be demolished or relocated, and the site was rich in archaeological artifacts.

Moving the John Street pumping station across the street to its new location south of the stadium was one of the most difficult difficulties. The stadium's foundations were being poured even as the facility (in the infield area) continued to operate because construction on its new location had not yet been completed.

Because the stadium was the world's first of its sort, the architects and engineers kept the design simple (using a strong dome form) and employed proven technology to move the roof. It was critical that the design work be reliable in order to avoid the myriad issues that beset Montreal's Olympic Stadium.

The 31-story-high roof is made out of four panels: one is set in situ (on the north end), while the other three are moved by electrically powered 'train' engines that operate on high-strength railway rails. The roof, which opens in 20 minutes, is comprised of steel trusses covered by corrugated steel cladding, which is then covered by a single-ply PVC membrane. Every story had its beginning and Sportmob's Top facts about Rogers Centre. So, let's get into it.

Because of its location south of a major railway corridor, additional pedestrian connections had to be developed; the infrastructure was a contributing factor to the stadium's high cost. The SkyWalk is a 500-meter (1,600-foot) enclosed walkway that runs from the base of the CN Tower to Union Station via a bridge (and is part of the PATH network).

The cable-stayed bridge on John Street was built to give north-south transit over the train tracks, connecting Front Street to the stadium. Over 1,500 items were discovered during construction at the site, which was once located south of the beach.

A 200-year-old French cannon used as ballast for a ship, cannonballs, earthenware, and a telescope were among them. The stadium was finished two months late, having been scheduled to open for the first regular-season Toronto Blue Jays game in 1989; the team played the first two months of their home schedule that year at Exhibition Stadium.

Choosing a name for the newborn Rogers Centre

Prior to and during construction, the official name was the 'Ontario Stadium Project,' although it was frequently referred to in local media as simply 'the Dome' or 'Toronto Domed' stadium. In 1987, as construction neared completion, the name "SkyDome" was chosen as part of a province-wide "name the stadium" campaign.

The Toronto Sun sponsored a ballot for individuals to submit their recommended name, with lifelong tickets behind home plate to all stadium events (including concerts) as the prize. Over 150,000 entries with 12,897 different names were received.

The committee whittled the options down to four: "Towerdome," "Harbourdome," "SkyDome," and simply "the Dome." SkyDome was the judges' final choice. Premier David Peterson selected Kellie Watson's winning ticket from a lottery barrel holding over 2,000 entries proposing the "SkyDome."

Chuck Magwood, president of the Stadium Corporation of Ontario (Stadco), the crown corporation founded to administer SkyDome, said during the news conference announcing the name: "The sky is an important component of the roofing process. The term evokes the infinite, which is what this is all about." Kellie Watson was given lifelong seating at SkyDome, which is still honored even though the stadium was renamed Rogers Centre under new management.

Rogers Centre out of luck

Because of frequent cost overruns, the stadium became a thorn in the side of David Peterson's Ontario Liberal administration. After the Liberals were defeated by the NDP in the 1990 Ontario election, an assessment conducted by the incoming Bob Rae government in October 1990 indicated that Stadco's debt meant the Dome would have to be booked 600 days each year to earn a profit, nearly twice the number of days in a calendar year.

In its first year of operation, the stadium's income was only $17 million, while debt servicing was $40 million. It was established that Stadco's abrupt late inclusion of a hotel and health club added $112 million to the cost of the building.

As the province entered a recession, Rae added University of Toronto professor Bruce Kidd and Canadian Auto Workers President Bob White to the Stadco board to help cope with the stadium's mounting debt, but by 1993, the original $165 million debt had swollen to $400 million.

Stadco became a political liability, and in March 1994, the Ontario government paid off all remaining Stadco debts from the government treasury and sold the stadium for $151 million to a private consortium led by the Blue Jays' owner, Labatt Breweries. The stadium, which Labatt owned 49 percent of at the time, filed for bankruptcy protection in November 1998, as a result of poor Skybox renewal statistics.

The majority of the 161 Skybox tenants had signed 10-year leases; a significant drop in interest in the stadium's teams, as well as the development of the Air Canada Centre, which housed the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors, resulted in few Skybox lease renewals. The Blue Jays re-signed for an additional ten years in the facility the following month. Sportsco International LP purchased the stadium out of bankruptcy in April 1999 for $80 million.

Reborn with a new name

In November 2004, Rogers Communications, the Blue Jays' parent company, paid around $25 million to Sportsco for SkyDome, minus the associated SkyDome hotel, which had been sold to Renaissance for an estimated $31 million in 1999.

Ted Rogers, President, and CEO of Rogers Communications, announced a three-year corporate contract to rename SkyDome Rogers Centre on February 2, 2005. The name change is still controversial and unpopular among many fans, who prefer to refer to it as SkyDome in order to avoid increased commercialism from the purchase of naming rights.

Randy Rajmoolie, a TTC bus driver, filed a petition with 25,000 signatures. SkyDome is the moniker given to a baseball diamond in Toronto's Trinity Bellwoods Park after the stadium's former and popular name.

The stadium's interior in 2005. Following its purchase, Rogers renovated numerous areas of the stadium, including replacing the Jumbotron with a Daktronics television display. Rogers rebuilt the stadium after purchasing it, including replacing the Jumbotron with a Daktronics video display and installing new monitors, including dozens constructed into the outfield wall. A new FieldTurf artificial playing field was also installed.

The Toronto Argonauts committed to three five-year leases at Rogers Centre in May 2005, which would have allowed the Argonauts to play there until at least 2019. At the end of each of the three lease agreements, the team had the option to depart.

The Argonauts were forced to shift to BMO Field before the 2016 season due to proposed plans to permanently lock Rogers Centre into its baseball configuration in order to install a natural grass field. Despite the Argonauts' departure, it is uncertain whether the planned surface replacement and configuration change will go a place, if at all.

The Rogers Centre was completely renovated in November 2005 to "open" the 100 Level concourse to the playing field and convert 43 premium boxes into "party suites." This necessitated the removal of some chairs, reducing overall capacity.

In April 2006, Rogers Centre became one of the first facilities of its magnitude in Canada to implement a completely smoke-free policy, anticipating a provincial legislature act that mandated all Ontario public places to be smoke-free by June 1, 2006.

On April 7, 2009, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario imposed the first of a three-day alcohol suspension at Rogers Centre for "infractions (that) occurred at certain previous events," according to a press release.

Rogers Centre facilities

The arena was the first major team sports stadium in North America to have a fully retractable roof (Montreal's Olympic Stadium also had a retractable top, but it was replaced with a permanent roof due to operational concerns).

The roof is made up of four panels and covers 345,000 square feet (32,100 m2). The two center panels stack laterally over the north semi-circular panel, and the south semi-circular panel rotates around the stadium and nests inside the stack. The roof takes 20 minutes to open or close. In cold weather, it is not possible to move the roof because the mechanism that seals the roof may break.

From 2005 to 2010, the original AstroTurf installation was replaced with FieldTurf. It took around 40 hours to remove the FieldTurf for events such as concerts or trade exhibitions since it employed 1,400 trays that had to be stacked and moved off the field.

A new, roll-based form of AstroTurf was laid prior to the 2010 baseball season to reduce the amount of time required to convert the playing field. The installation, like FieldTurf, incorporates sand and rubber-based filler within the synthetic fibers.

The Rogers Centre is one of five Major League Baseball stadiums that use artificial turf (the others are Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, LoanDepot Park in Miami, Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, and Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona), and it was the last venue to use "sliding pits" before switching to a full dirt infield for the 2016 baseball season.

When switching from baseball to football before the Argonauts left, the pitcher's mound could be hydraulically lowered or lifted (or vice versa). Thanks for reading our 

Top facts about Rogers Centre


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source: SportMob

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