Rogers Centre

Last updated

Rogers Centre
SkyDome [1] [2]
Rogers Centre.svg
Toronto - ON - Rogers Centre2.jpg
Rogers Centre in 2008
Toronto map.png
Red pog.svg
Rogers Centre
Location in Toronto
Former namesSkyDome (1989–2005)
Address1 Blue Jays Way
Location Toronto, Ontario
Coordinates 43°38′29″N79°23′21″W / 43.64139°N 79.38917°W / 43.64139; -79.38917 Coordinates: 43°38′29″N79°23′21″W / 43.64139°N 79.38917°W / 43.64139; -79.38917
Public transit GO Transit logo.svg Union Station
BSicon SUBWAY.svg TTC - Line 1 - Yonge-University-Spadina line.svg Union subway
GO bus symbol.svg GO Bus Terminal
BSicon CLRV.svg   509   Harbourfront
BSicon CLRV.svg   510   Spadina
Owner Rogers Communications
OperatorRogers Stadium Limited Partnership
Capacity Baseball: 49,282 [3]
Canadian football: 31,074 (expandable to 52,230) [4]
American football: 54,000 [5]
Soccer: 47,568
Basketball: 22,911 (expandable to 28,708) [6]
Concerts: 10,000–55,000
Record attendance WrestleMania X8: 68,237 (March 17, 2002)
Field sizeLeft Field Line – 328 ft (100 m)
Left-Centre Power Alley – 375 ft (114 m)
Centre Field – 400 ft (120 m)
Right-Centre Power Alley – 375 ft (114 m)
Right Field Line – 328 ft (100 m)
Backstop – 60 ft (18 m)
RogersCentreDimensions.svg
Surface AstroTurf (1989–2004)
FieldTurf (2005–2010)
AstroTurf GameDay Grass 3D (2010–2014)
AstroTurf 3D Xtreme (2015)
AstroTurf 3D Xtreme with dirt infield (2016–present)
Construction
Broke groundOctober 3, 1986
OpenedJune 3, 1989 (as SkyDome)
Construction cost $570 million [7] [8]
Architect Rod Robbie, Robbie Adjeleian NORR Consortium
Structural engineerAdjeleian Allen Rubeli Ltd. [9]
Services engineerThe Mitchell Partnership Inc. [10]
General contractor EllisDon Construction
Tenants
Toronto Blue Jays (MLB) (1989–present)
Toronto Argonauts (CFL) (1989–2015) [11]
Toronto Raptors (NBA) (1995–1999)
International Bowl (NCAA) (2007–2010)

Rogers Centre (originally SkyDome) is a multi-purpose retractable roof stadium in Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada, situated just southwest of the CN Tower near the northern shore of Lake Ontario. Opened in 1989 on the former Railway Lands, it is home to the Toronto Blue Jays of Major League Baseball (MLB). Previously, the stadium was also home to the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League (CFL) and the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Buffalo Bills of the National Football League (NFL) played an annual game at the stadium as part of the Bills Toronto Series from 2008 to 2013. While it is primarily a sports venue, it also hosts other large events such as conventions, trade fairs, concerts, travelling carnivals, circuses and monster truck shows.

Contents

The stadium was renamed "Rogers Centre" following the 2005 purchase of the stadium by Rogers Communications, which also owns the Toronto Blue Jays. [1] [12] The venue is noted for being the first stadium to have a fully retractable motorized roof, as well as for the 348-room hotel attached to it with 70 rooms overlooking the field. [13] It is also the last North American major-league stadium built to accommodate both football and baseball. The stadium served as the site of both the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2015 Pan American Games (renamed the Pan-Am Dome or Pan-Am Ceremonies Venue due to sponsorship regulations). [14]

History

Background and design

The idea of building a domed stadium can be traced back to the 1968 Olympic bid that Toronto lost to Montreal as the Canadian candidate city for the 1976 games. In the proposal, an 80,000–100,000 seat complex would be part of the planned Harbour City development on the site of Maple Leaf Stadium. [15]

The contemporary impetus for building an enclosed sports venue in Toronto came following the Grey Cup game in November 1982, held at the outdoor Exhibition Stadium. The game (in which the hometown Toronto Argonauts (also known as the Argos) were making their first Grey Cup appearance since 1971) was played in a driving rainstorm that left most of the crowd drenched, leading the media to call it "the Rain Bowl". As many of the seats were completely exposed to the elements, thousands watched the game from the concession section. To make a bad experience even worse, the washrooms overflowed. In attendance that day was Bill Davis, the Premier of Ontario, and the poor conditions were seen by the largest television audience in Canada (over 7.862 million viewers) to that point. [16] The following day, at a rally for the Argos at Toronto City Hall, tens of thousands of people who attended the game began to chant, "We want a dome! We want a dome!" [17]

Seven months later, in June 1983, Davis formally announced a three-person committee would look into the feasibility of building a domed stadium at Exhibition Place. The committee consisted of Paul Godfrey, Larry Grossman and former Ontario Hydro chairman Hugh Macaulay. [18]

The committee examined various projects, including a large indoor stadium at Exhibition Place with an air-supported dome, similar to BC Place in Vancouver. In 1985, an international design competition was launched to design a new stadium, along with selection of a site. Some of the proposed sites included Exhibition Place, Downsview Airport, and York University. The final site was at the base of the CN Tower not far from Union Station, a major railway and transit hub. The Railway Lands were a major Canadian National Railway rail switching yard encompassing the CNR Spadina Roundhouse (the desolate downtown lands were part of a master plan for revitalizing the area, which includes CityPlace). Ultimately, the Robbie/Allen concept won because it provided the largest roof opening of all the finalists, and it was the most technically sound.

The stadium was designed by architect Rod Robbie and structural engineer Michael Allen and was constructed by the EllisDon Construction company of London, Ontario and the Dominion Bridge Company of Lachine, Quebec. The stadium's construction lasted about two and a half years, from October 1986 to May 1989. The approximate cost of construction was C$570 million [7] ($1.04 billion in 2020 dollars [19] ) which was paid for by the federal government, Ontario provincial government, the City of Toronto, and a large consortium of corporations. [20]

Financing

The stadium was funded by a public/private partnership, with the government paying the largest percentage of the tab. The initial cost of $150 million was greatly underestimated, [21] with the final tab coming in at C$570 million ($1.04 billion in 2020 dollars [19] ). [7] Two levels of government (Metro Toronto and Provincial) each initially contributed $30 million ($54.9 million in 2020 dollars [19] ). [7] [21] [22] This does not include the actual value of the land the stadium sits on (as it was part of a deal with the Crown agency – CN Rail). Canada's three main breweries (Labatt's, Molson, and Carling O'Keefe) and the Toronto Blue Jays each paid $5 million ($9.16 million in 2020 dollars [19] ) to help fund the stadium. [22] An additional 26 other Canadian corporations (selected by invitation only) also contributed $5 million, [22] for which they received one of the 161 Skyboxes with four parking spaces (for ten years, with an opportunity for renewal) and a 99-year exclusive option on stadium advertising. Skyboxes initially leased for $150,000 up to $225,000 ($274,733 to $412,099 in 2020 dollars [19] ) a year in 1989 – plus the cost of tickets for all events.

The then unusual financing structure created controversy. First of all, there was no public tender for supplies and equipment. Secondly, companies that paid the $5 million fee, such as Coca-Cola, TSN and CIBC, received 100 percent stadium exclusivity, [7] including advertising rights, for the life of their contract that could be extended up to 99 years. Third, the contracts were not put up for bid, meaning there was some doubt the contracts were made at a market rate: Pepsi stated at the time that had they known the terms of the contract they would have paid far more than $5 million for the rights. Local media like NOW Magazine called the amount charged to the companies "scandalously low". [23]

Construction

A cable-stayed bridge was built over the Union Station Rail Corridor next to the stadium. Stadium-goers, pedestrians and cyclists use the bridge, while hot dog stands are set up on it. Suspension bridge over railway tracks SkyDomeRogersCentre.JPG
A cable-stayed bridge was built over the Union Station Rail Corridor next to the stadium. Stadium-goers, pedestrians and cyclists use the bridge, while hot dog stands are set up on it.

Construction of the Ontario Stadium Project was spearheaded by lead contractor EllisDon. Several factors complicated the construction: The lands housed a functioning water pumping station that needed to be relocated, the soil was contaminated from a century of industrial use, railway buildings needed to be torn down or moved, and the site was rich with archaeological finds. One of the most complex issues was moving the John Street pumping station across the street to its new home south of the stadium. Foundations to the stadium were being poured even as the facility (in the infield area) continued to function, as construction on its new location had yet to be completed.

Because the stadium was the first of its kind in the world, the architects and engineers kept the design simple (by using a sturdy dome shape) and used proven technologies to move the roof. It was important the design would work and be reliable as to avoid the various problems that plagued Montreal's Olympic Stadium. The 31-storey-high roof consists of four panels: one (on the north end) is fixed in place and the other three are moved by electrically driven 'train' engines, that run on high strength railway rails. The roof, which takes 20 minutes to open, was made out of steel trusses covered by corrugated steel cladding, which in turn is covered by a single-ply PVC membrane.

Because of its location south of the major railway corridor, new pedestrian connections had to be built; the infrastructure was part of the reason for the high cost of the stadium. The SkyWalk is an approximately 500-metre (1,600 ft) enclosed walkway that leads from the base of the CN Tower and via a bridge connects to Union Station (and is part of the PATH network). The John Street cable-stayed bridge was built to provide north–south passage over the rail tracks, linking Front Street with the stadium.

Construction at the site, which at one time was south of the shoreline, unearthed over 1,500 artifacts. These included a 200-year-old French cannon used as ballast for a ship, cannonballs, pottery and a telescope. [24] The stadium was completed two months late, having been planned to open for the first regular season Toronto Blue Jays game in 1989; the team played the first two months of their home schedule at Exhibition Stadium that year.

Naming

SkyDome wordmark (1989-2005) SkyDomeLogo.png
SkyDome wordmark (1989–2005)

The official name prior to and during construction was the 'Ontario Stadium Project' but was widely referred to in local media as simply 'the Dome' or 'Toronto Domed' stadium. As completion neared the name "SkyDome" was chosen as part of a province-wide "name the stadium" contest in 1987. Sponsored by the Toronto Sun , ballots were offered for people to submit their suggested name, with lifetime seats behind home plate to all events at the stadium (including concerts) as the prize. Over 150,000 entries were received with 12,897 different names. The selection committee narrowed it down to four choices: "Towerdome", "Harbourdome", "SkyDome", and simply "the Dome". The judges' final selection was SkyDome. Premier David Peterson drew the prize-winning entry of Kellie Watson from a lottery barrel containing the over-2,000 entries that proposed "SkyDome". At the press conference announcing the name, Chuck Magwood, president of the Stadium Corporation of Ontario (Stadco), the crown corporation created to run SkyDome, [25] commented: "The sky is a huge part of the whole roof process. The name has a sense of the infinite and that's what this is all about." Kellie Watson received lifetime seating of choice at SkyDome, which is still honoured after the stadium was renamed to Rogers Centre, under new ownership.

Opening

Opening of the 600th McDonald's Canada location at the SkyDome in August 1989 600th McDonalds Canada Skydome August 29 1989.jpg
Opening of the 600th McDonald's Canada location at the SkyDome in August 1989

The stadium officially opened on June 3, 1989, and hosted an official grand opening show: "The Opening of SkyDome: A Celebration", broadcast on CBC television the following evening hosted by Brian Williams. With a crowd of over 50,000 in attendance, the event included appearances by Alan Thicke, Oscar Peterson, Andrea Martin of SCTV, impersonator André-Philippe Gagnon and rock band Glass Tiger. The roof was ceremonially "opened" by Ontario Premier David Peterson with a laser pen. The roof's opening exposed the crowd to a downpour of rain. Despite audible chants of "close the roof", Magwood insisted the roof remain fully open.

Financial problems and fallout

The stadium became a thorn in the side of David Peterson's Ontario Liberal government for repeated cost overruns. After the Liberals were defeated by the NDP in the 1990 Ontario election, a review by the new Bob Rae government in October 1990 revealed Stadco's debt meant the Dome would have to be booked 600 days a year to turn a profit, almost twice as many days as there are days in a calendar year. The stadium income was only $17 million in its first year of operations, while debt service was $40 million. It was determined the abrupt late inclusion by Stadco of a hotel and health club added an additional $112 million to the cost of the building.

As the province slipped into a recession, Rae appointed University of Toronto professor Bruce Kidd and Canadian Auto Workers President Bob White to the Stadco board to help deal with the stadium's growing debt, but the original $165 million debt had ballooned to $400 million by 1993. [7] [21] Stadco became a political liability, and in March 1994, the Ontario government paid off all outstanding Stadco debts from the government treasury and sold the stadium for $151 million to a private consortium that included Labatt Breweries, the Blue Jays' owner. [21] [26]

In November 1998, the stadium, which Labatt then owned as 49 percent of total, filed for bankruptcy protection, [27] triggered after disastrous Skybox renewal numbers. Most of the 161 Skybox tenants had signed on for 10-year leases; a marked decrease in interest in the stadium's teams and the construction of the Air Canada Centre, which hosted the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors, resulted in few renewals for Skybox leases. That same month, the Blue Jays re-signed for an additional ten years in the facility. [21]

In April 1999, Sportsco International LP bought the stadium out of bankruptcy protection for $80 million. [26]

Purchase and renaming

Rogers Centre wordmark on the exterior of the stadium. The stadium was renamed in 2005. RogersCentreLogo2.jpg
Rogers Centre wordmark on the exterior of the stadium. The stadium was renamed in 2005.

In November 2004, Rogers Communications, parent company of the Blue Jays, acquired SkyDome, excluding the attached SkyDome hotel, which had been sold to Renaissance for a reported $31 million in 1999, from Sportsco for about $25 million – roughly four percent of the cost of construction. [26]

On February 2, 2005, Ted Rogers, President and CEO of Rogers Communications, announced a three-year corporate contract to change the name of SkyDome to Rogers Centre. The name change remains controversial and is unpopular with many fans, most of whom continue to refer to it as SkyDome in opposition to increased commercialism from the purchase of naming rights. One example is a 25,000-name petition started by TTC bus driver Randy Rajmoolie. [28]

Interior of the stadium in 2005. Rogers refurbished several parts of the stadium after its acquisition, including replacing the Jumbotron with a Daktronics video display. Rogers Centre July 2005 02.jpg
Interior of the stadium in 2005. Rogers refurbished several parts of the stadium after its acquisition, including replacing the Jumbotron with a Daktronics video display.

After the purchase Rogers refurbished the stadium by, among other things, replacing the Jumbotron with a Daktronics video display, and erecting other new monitors, including several built into the outfield wall. They also installed a new FieldTurf artificial playing surface. [29]

In May 2005, the Toronto Argonauts agreed to three five-year leases at Rogers Centre, which could have seen the Argonauts play out of Rogers Centre up to and including 2019. The team had the option to leave at the end of each of the three lease agreements. [30] Proposed plans to lock Rogers Centre into its baseball configuration permanently in order to install a natural grass surface forced the Argonauts to relocate to BMO Field before the 2016 season. [31] [32] [33] However, it is now unclear whether the planned surface replacement and configuration change will take place, if at all, despite the Argonauts' departure.

In November 2005, Rogers Centre received a complete makeover to "open" the 100 Level concourse to the playing field and convert 43 luxury boxes to "party suites". This required some seats to be removed, which lowered overall capacity. [34]

In April 2006, Rogers Centre became one of the first buildings of its size to adopt a completely smoke-free policy in Canada, anticipating an act of provincial legislature that required all Ontario public places to go smoke-free by June 1, 2006.

Alcohol was not available to patrons of Rogers Centre on April 7, 2009, as the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario imposed the first of a three-day alcohol suspension at the stadium for "infractions (that) took place at certain past events", according to the press release. [35]

Improvements

Significant improvements to the facility since opening in 1989 include:

The roof of the Rogers Centre illuminated during the night in 2008 Toronto - ON - Rogers Centre (Nacht).jpg
The roof of the Rogers Centre illuminated during the night in 2008
Exterior entrance to the Jays Shop at Rogers Centre Toronto Blue Jays Shop, Rogers Centre -throughglass (35678680363).jpg
Exterior entrance to the Jays Shop at Rogers Centre

Proposed replacement

Rogers Communications Inc. and Brookfield Asset Management Inc. have reportedly discussed replacing Rogers Centre with a smaller, baseball-specific stadium plus residential towers, office buildings, retail stores and public space. The new venue would be constructed on the southern end of the current stadium and adjacent parking lots, while the mixed-use development would be built on the northern portion of the site. An alternate site has also been considered for a new baseball park, at Quayside in Toronto's east end next to Lake Ontario. [42]

Stadium features

Several restaurants have views of events. The former Windows restaurant looked onto the playing field. Windows Restaurant in SkyDomeRogersCentre.JPG
Several restaurants have views of events. The former Windows restaurant looked onto the playing field.

The venue was the first major team sports stadium in North America with a functional, fully retractable roof (Montreal's Olympic Stadium also had a retractable roof, but due to operational issues, it was replaced with a permanent roof). The roof is composed of four panels and covers an area of 345,000 square feet (32,100 m2). The two middle panels slide laterally to stack over the north semi-circular panel, and then the south semi-circular panel rotates around the stadium and nests inside the stack. It takes 20 minutes for the roof to open or close. [43] It is not possible to move the roof in cold weather because the mechanism that closes the roof could fail in cooler weather. [44]

The stadium's field without its turf in 2006. The stadium's FieldTurf may be removed for events such as concerts and trade shows. Skydome field no grass.jpg
The stadium's field without its turf in 2006. The stadium's FieldTurf may be removed for events such as concerts and trade shows.

The original AstroTurf installation was replaced with FieldTurf from 2005 to 2010. The FieldTurf took about 40 hours to remove for events such as concerts or trade shows, as it used 1,400 trays that needed to be stacked and transported off the field. Prior to the 2010 baseball season, to reduce the amount of time required to convert the playing field, a new, roll-based version of AstroTurf was installed. Similar to FieldTurf, the installation uses a sand- and rubber-based infill within the synthetic fibres. [45] Rogers Centre is one of five venues in Major League Baseball that use artificial turf (the others are Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, home of the Tampa Bay Rays, LoanDepot Park in Miami, Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, and Chase Field [46] in Phoenix, Arizona) and was the last venue to use "sliding pits" before switching to a full dirt infield for the 2016 baseball season. Before the Argonauts moved out, the pitcher's mound could be lowered or raised hydraulically when converting from baseball to football (or vice versa). [47]

The use of natural grass was long thought to be unfeasible since the stadium was designed as a closed structure with a roof that opens, and as such, the interior was not intended or built to deal with weather, including low temperatures and drainage. As of the 2020 season, they are one of two teams to have never played a home game on grass at their main stadium[ citation needed ] (the Tampa Bay Rays played some home games in 2007 and 2008 at Champion Stadium in Walt Disney World in Bay Lake, Florida, [48] [49] [50] and during the 2020 and much of the 2021 seasons, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Toronto Blue Jays were playing most of their home games at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, New York [51] with the Blue Jays also playing home games in TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Florida, during the first two months of the 2021 season). However, the Blue Jays have long explored the possibility of converting the Rogers Centre to a natural grass surface, and plans are in place to install a grass field by 2018 to allow enough time for research and growing of the sod. [52] Installing grass would require digging up the floor, adding a drainage system, and installing 30 cm (1 ft) of dirt. The stadium would need to be permanently locked into its baseball configuration; the lower stands, which roll into position for football, would be permanently fixed in position for baseball. [53] [54] [55] The plan became more definite when Rogers renewed the Argonauts' lease through 2017, but ruled out any further extensions; in May 2015, it was announced the Argos would move to BMO Field for the 2016 season. [31] [32] [33] The Blue Jays subsequently confirmed the Argonauts' early departure would not accelerate their own plans to install grass in 2018, [56] though it did allow for a dirt infield to be installed for the 2016 season. [57] However, it does not appear likely the field will be converted to natural grass, as no further announcements for replacing the surface have been made since, and the field continues to retain its artificial surface. [58]

There are a total of 5,700 club seats and 161 luxury suites at the Rogers Centre. The complex had a Hard Rock Café restaurant until December 2009 when the restaurant closed after its lease expired. [59] The Toronto Marriott City Centre Hotel is also within Rogers Centre with 70 rooms, and a restaurant and bar called the Sportsnet Grill overlooks the field. [60]

Over $5 million of artwork was commissioned in 1989 ($9.2 million in 2020 dollars):

The Audience is a depiction of larger-than-life fans by Michael Snow above the northeast and northwest entrances of Rogers Centre DSC08787 - The Audience (37049087052).jpg
The Audience is a depiction of larger-than-life fans by Michael Snow above the northeast and northwest entrances of Rogers Centre

Seating capacity

Baseball
YearsCapacity
1989–199850,516 [62]
1999–200245,100 [62]
2003–200450,516 [62]
2005–200650,598 [62]
200748,900 [63]
2008–201049,539 [64]
2011–201249,260 [65]
2013–present49,282 [3] [66]
Football
Capacity
53,506 [67]
Toronto, Skydome within.jpg
Panorama of the interior seating and field for Rogers Centre in 2006

Rogers Centre video board

The stadium's video board in 2018 Rogers Centre video screen.jpg
The stadium's video board in 2018

The Rogers Centre video board is 33 feet (10 m) high and 110 feet (34 m) across. The panel is made up of modular LED units that can be replaced unit by unit, and can be repaired immediately should it be damaged during an event. Originally, this screen was a Sony Jumbotron, which was the largest in North America at the time of the stadium's opening, [68] but it has since been replaced. There are also two ribbon boards made up of LED that run along the East and West sides of the stadium interior. Each board is 434 feet (132 m) long by 3.5 feet (1.1 m) high. In addition, there are two video boards that make up parts of the left and right outfield walls while the stadium is in baseball configuration. These are 65 feet (20 m) wide by nearly 10 feet (3.0 m) high.

The video board and the stadium played host to several serial television events, including the series finales for Cheers and Star Trek: The Next Generation , along with live coverage of the funeral of Princess Diana in 1997.

Stadium usage

Baseball

The 2016 American League Wild Card Game held at the Rogers Centre The Blue Jays host the Orioles in the AL Wild Card Game (30243609331).jpg
The 2016 American League Wild Card Game held at the Rogers Centre

The Blue Jays have won two World Series championships at Rogers Centre, hosting Games 3, 4, and 5 of the 1992 World Series and Games 1, 2, and 6 of the 1993 World Series at the stadium, then known as SkyDome, with Game 3 of the 1992 series the first World Series game ever played in Canada. The stadium also hosted the 1991 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. The 1991 American League Championship Series was the first Major League Baseball playoff series played entirely indoors with the first two games at the Metrodome in Minneapolis and the final three at SkyDome.

Games in the first round of the 2009 World Baseball Classic were played at the Rogers Centre. [69]

Basketball

Besides baseball, Rogers Centre was the original home of the National Basketball Association's Toronto Raptors, who played at the venue from November 1995 to February 1999, while the Air Canada Centre (later renamed Scotiabank Arena) was being planned and built. It proved to be somewhat problematic as a basketball venue, even considering it was only a temporary facility. For instance, many seats that were theoretically in line with the court were so far away fans needed binoculars to see the action. Other seats were so badly obstructed that fans sitting there could only watch the game on the replay boards. For most games, Rogers Centre seated 22,900 people. However, the Raptors sometimes opened the 500 Level, which is the stadium's uppermost level, when popular opponents came to town, such as the Chicago Bulls when Michael Jordan was a member of the team, expanding capacity to 29,000 and held over 36,000 attendees at one point.

Football

The Rogers Centre's field arranged for Canadian football TORONTO ROGERS CENTRE - ARGONAUTS June 2007 - panoramio - Alain Falieres.jpg
The Rogers Centre's field arranged for Canadian football

Rogers Centre hosted Canadian football from opening in 1989 to 2015, as the Argonauts moved to BMO Field in 2016. In November 2007, it hosted the 95th Grey Cup, its first since 1992 and third all-time. It was the 56th Grey Cup hosted by the city of Toronto since the championship's inception in 1909.

From 1989 to 2003, SkyDome hosted the Vanier Cup championship of Canadian Interuniversity Sport (later renamed U Sports in 2016) football.

In 1994, then-part owner of SkyDome Labatt considered purchasing a National Football League and a Major League Soccer team to play at the stadium. [70]

In January 2007, Rogers Centre played host to the first International Bowl, an NCAA college football game between the Western Michigan University Broncos and the University of Cincinnati Bearcats. In 2008, Rutgers played Ball State in the second International Bowl. The University at Buffalo Bulls and the University of Connecticut Huskies played in the third International Bowl on January 3, 2009.

Rogers Centre was also the venue for the 43rd Vanier Cup on Friday November 23, 2007 just two days before Grey Cup Sunday. It was the 16th Vanier Cup hosted at the venue, returning after a three-year absence in which it was hosted by Hamilton, Ontario (2004 and 2005) and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (2006). It was the 40th Vanier Cup hosted by Toronto since that championship's inception in 1965.

The National Football League's Buffalo Bills announced its intentions to play five "home" games (and three pre-season games) in Rogers Centre in October 2007, so beginning the Bills Toronto Series; the first of these regular-season games took place on December 7 of the 2008 NFL season versus the Miami Dolphins. [71] It marked the first time an NFL team has established a "home" stadium outside the United States for regular-season games. The Bills played a preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Rogers Centre on August 14, 2008; the Toronto Series was played every year through the 2013 season.

Soccer

A soccer match between Serbia and Italy in 2005 Simon Vukcevic free kick at Serbia and Montenegro vs. Italy in Toronto (photo by Djuradj Vujcic).jpg
A soccer match between Serbia and Italy in 2005
A soccer match between Toronto FC and the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2012 Rogers Centre - TFC vs Galaxy (6965625113).jpg
A soccer match between Toronto FC and the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2012

From the mid-2000s, soccer matches have been regularly held in SkyDome/Rogers Centre; they had been rarely played at the venue when its AstroTurf surface had been in place. [72]

On June 8, 2005, an international soccer friendly between Serbia and Montenegro and Italy took place, ending in a 1–1 draw. [72]

On May 25, 2010, the stadium hosted a friendly soccer match between Italy's ACF Fiorentina and Juventus F.C. with Fiorentina winning 1–0. [73]

On July 16, 2010, the stadium hosted a friendly soccer match between England's Manchester United F.C. and Scotland's Celtic F.C. Manchester United F.C. defeated Celtic F.C. with a score of 3–1. The match was played on a temporary grass surface harvested from Burford, Ontario and transported via 18 tractor-trailers. [74]

On July 21, 2012, the stadium hosted the friendly between Toronto FC and Liverpool F.C., a match that finished in a 1–1 draw. [75]

On November 19, 2013, Rogers Centre hosted a friendly soccer match between Brazil and Chile, a match that finished in a 2–1 victory for the Brazilian side. [76]

DateWinning TeamResultLosing TeamCompetitionSpectators
January 24, 1995Flag of Denmark.svg Denmark League XI 1–0Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada SkyDome Cup 10,024 [77]
January 26, 1995Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada 1–1Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal 13,658 [78]
January 29, 1995Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal 1–0Flag of Denmark.svg Denmark League XI 23,723 [79]
July 30, 2004 Flag of Portugal.svg FC Porto 1–0 Flag of England.svg Liverpool Club Friendly40,078 [80]
July 31, 2004 Flag of Italy (2003-2006).svg Roma 1–0 Flag of Scotland.svg Celtic Club Friendly50,168 [81]
June 8, 2005Flag of Serbia and Montenegro (1992-2006).svg  Serbia and Montenegro 1–1Flag of Italy (2003-2006).svg  Italy International Friendly22,138 [72]
July 12, 2005 Flag of Croatia.svg Dinamo Zagreb 1–0 Flag of Scotland.svg Rangers Club Friendly18,159 [82]
July 7, 2006Flag of the United States.svg  United States 2–1Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada International U20 Friendly5,325 [83]
May 25, 2010 Flag of Italy.svg ACF Fiorentina 1–0 Flag of Italy.svg Juventus Club Friendly21,122 [73]
July 16, 2010 Flag of England.svg Manchester United 3–1 Flag of Scotland.svg Celtic Club Friendly39,193 [74]
August 3, 2010 Flag of Greece.svg Panathinaikos 3–2 Flag of Italy.svg Inter Milan Club Friendly17,169 [84]
March 7, 2012 Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Toronto FC 2–2 Flag of the United States.svg Los Angeles Galaxy CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals 47,658 [85]
July 21, 2012 Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Toronto FC 1–1 Flag of England.svg Liverpool Club Friendly33,087 [75]
March 9, 2013 Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Toronto FC 2–1 Flag of the United States.svg Sporting Kansas City MLS Regular Season 25,991 [86]
November 19, 2013Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil 2–1Flag of Chile.svg  Chile International Friendly38,154 [76]

Motorsports

Having originated in 1980 at Exhibition Stadium, the Toronto Supercross moved to the Rogers Centre upon its opening in 1989. [87] The event was held annually through 1996 before going on hiatus. [88] It was revived as a part of the FIM World Supercross GP series in 2004 and joined the AMA Supercross Championship after the two series fully merged in 2008. [89] [90] The event ran until 2014 and returned for 2016 and 2017. [91] [92]

On January 16, 1993, the stadium hosted the Skydome Grand Prix featuring the USAC National Midget Car Series. [93] [94] The night of racing featured NASCAR stars John Andretti, Kenny Irwin Jr., Tony Stewart and Indianapolis 500 winner Tom Sneva racing on a 1/6 mile oval track and was broadcast across Canada on TSN. [95] [96]

The Monster Jam monster truck tour hosts an annual event in the month of January.

Other sports

UFC 129 was held at the Rogers Centre in April 2011 UFC 129.jpg
UFC 129 was held at the Rogers Centre in April 2011

Rogers Centre has also hosted exhibition cricket, gaelic football, hurling, Australian rules football and tennis.

It hosted the 1993 IAAF World Indoor Track and Field Championships.

On May 31, 1997, the venue hosted a post-Olympic track and field event that pitted Olympic track champions Donovan Bailey and Michael Johnson, in a 150 m race billed as a competition for the title of the "World's Fastest Man". Bailey won the race, completing it in a time of 15 seconds and winning the $1.5 million prize. Johnson pulled up lame at the 110 m mark claiming a quadriceps injury.

Rogers Centre is the site of several major high school and collegiate sporting competitions, such as the Prentice Cup for baseball. Since 2008, the Rogers Centre is the host of the Greater Toronto high schools' Metro Bowl. [97] On April 30, 2011, UFC 129 was hosted at Rogers Centre, in the first major mixed martial arts event to ever be held in Ontario. Due to overwhelming demand for tickets (with the initial slate of 42,000 selling in around half an hour), the UFC and Rogers Centre reconfigured the event for 55,000 tickets. The event broke a UFC attendance record set at UFC 124 in Montreal, and also set records for the largest single-day gate revenue in both UFC (surpassing UFC 66 by at least double) and Rogers Centre history. [98]

For the 2015 Pan American Games, the Rogers Centre was used for the opening and closing ceremonies.

Professional wrestling

WrestleMania X8 at the stadium in 2002 Poetryinmotion.jpg
WrestleMania X8 at the stadium in 2002

WWE has hosted WrestleMania at Rogers Centre twice. Wrestlemania VI was held on April 1, 1990, with the main event being a title vs title match which saw the WWF Intercontinental Champion The Ultimate Warrior defeat the WWF World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan, set the SkyDome attendance record of 67,678. The attendance record was broken when 68,237 attended Wrestlemania X8 on March 17, 2002, the main event seeing Triple H win the WWF Undisputed Championship against Canadian Chris Jericho. [99]

In February 1999, the stadium hosted a taping for the February 13, 1999 episode of Raw (a special Saturday-night airing of Raw due to USA Network's coverage of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show), featuring Stone Cold Steve Austin being defeated by Mr. McMahon in a gauntlet match against The Corporation. It had the largest crowd in Raw history, with a reported attendance of 41,432. [100]

Concerts

The stadium has several concert configurations, including smaller Theatre (capacity 5,000 to 7,000) and Concert Hall (formerly SkyTent; capacity 10,000 to 25,000). [101] Due to the stadium's design and building materials, the acoustics are poor, and the loudness/quality can vary greatly around the stadium. Its popularity with artists and fans has diminished over the years, and the Scotiabank Arena now hosts most major concerts. The SkyTent, a group of acoustical curtain sails hoisted on rigging above the floor, helps reduce sound distortion and improve sound quality by dampening reverberations around the stadium. [102]

Preparations taking place at the Rogers Centre before a U2 concert Before U2 Concert Toronto.jpg
Preparations taking place at the Rogers Centre before a U2 concert

Soon after its opening, the stadium became a popular venue for large-scale rock concerts and is the largest indoor concert venue in Toronto. [103] Artists have included Bruce Springsteen, U2 with two concerts in 2009, as well as their concert in 2011, all part of their 360° Tour. [104] [105] [106] Bon Jovi performed two sellout shows on July 20 and 21, 2010, at Rogers Centre as part of The Circle Tour. [107]

The Rolling Stones played two sold-out concerts at the stadium: on December 4, 1989, during the Steel Wheels Tour and on September 26, 2005, during their highest-grossing tour A Bigger Bang Tour. Rogers Centre has been a venue for large electronic dance music events. During 2013, notable events included two back to back sold-out shows on Swedish House Mafia's farewell tour, One Last Tour and Sensation's first Canadian event. One of the more notable concerts, as shown in the documentary Truth or Dare , was Madonna's 1990 Blond Ambition World Tour show. [108] The touring show had become extremely controversial, due to the risqué visuals and performances. When the concert arrived in Toronto, police were alerted the show might violate local obscenity laws. The police were on site for the concert and threatened charges without changes. The show went on as planned, however, without any legal action taken. Later, she performed two concerts at the stadium again during The Girlie Show World Tour in 1993. Bruce Springsteen performed on August 24, 2012, during his Wrecking Ball World Tour in front of 39,000 attendees.

Guns N' Roses performed at Rogers Centre on July 16, 2016, during their Not in This Lifetime... Tour in front of 48,016 attendees with Billy Talent. [109] Metallica also played a sold-out show at the stadium as part of their WorldWired Tour on July 16, 2017, with special guests Avenged Sevenfold and Volbeat. [110] Shawn Mendes headlined his first stadium show to a sold-out crowd on September 6, 2019, at Rogers Centre during his Shawn Mendes: The Tour. [111]

Other uses

The 12th International Indian Film Academy Awards held at the Rogers Centre in June 2011 IIFA Toronto 2011 (8).jpg
The 12th International Indian Film Academy Awards held at the Rogers Centre in June 2011

Rogers Centre contains 143,000 sq ft (13,300 m2) of exhibition space, allowing it to host a variety of events year-round.

Disney on Ice and circuses have used the venue.

It is home to several annual auto shows, with the Canadian International AutoShow in February and Importfest in October.

The Opening Ceremonies of the XVI International AIDS Conference were held at Rogers Centre on August 13, 2006. [112]

It has also hosted many public speakers, including appearances by the Dalai Lama, Christian evangelist Billy Graham, Nelson Mandela, and for a book reading with J. K. Rowling and Margaret Atwood. [113]

In addition to being a venue that hosts sports, concerts and other events, the Rogers Centre also houses the head offices of a number of businesses. The Toronto Blue Jays have its office headquarters in the building and until 2008, the Toronto Argonauts did as well. It is also the home of the head offices of Ticketmaster Canada and Zuffa Canada, the former also having the main Ticketmaster outlet (ticket centre) for eastern Canada, at the south end of the building beside Gate 9. [114] [115] [116]

In addition, the building contains the Toronto Renaissance Hotel, a Premier Fitness/Health Club, a Rogers Plus store, (formerly) a Hard Rock Cafe (now John Street Terrace), and (formerly) Windows Restaurant (now WestJet Flight Deck). Starting in 2006, the Hard Rock Cafe only opened when there was a performance in the building, and closed altogether in 2009. [59] On non-event days, there are daily tours of the Rogers Centre.

Attendance records

Members of the Toronto Argonauts run onto the field of the Rogers Centre, after winning the 100th Grey Cup in 2012 100th Grey Cup Toronto November 2012 (1).jpg
Members of the Toronto Argonauts run onto the field of the Rogers Centre, after winning the 100th Grey Cup in 2012

Timeline

Fireworks at the stadium after the Toronto Blue Jays win the 1993 World Series Blue Jays Win the 1993 World Series.jpg
Fireworks at the stadium after the Toronto Blue Jays win the 1993 World Series
Scene from the 95th Grey Cup in 2007, the first Grey Cup to be held in the city since 1992 95th Grey Cup Toronto 2007 Rogers Centre End Zone.jpg
Scene from the 95th Grey Cup in 2007, the first Grey Cup to be held in the city since 1992
Scene from the 2015 Pan American Games closing ceremony, held at the Rogers Centre ClosingceremonyTO2015.jpg
Scene from the 2015 Pan American Games closing ceremony, held at the Rogers Centre

Facts and figures

Baseball firsts

Opening Day (June 5, 1989)

Reference: Retrosheet: Skydome [sic] firsts

StatisticDetails
Score Milwaukee Brewers 5, Toronto Blue Jays 3
Umpires Rocky Roe (home)
Mike Reilly (first base)
Rich Garcia (second base)
Dale Scott (third base)
Managers Cito Gaston (Blue Jays)
Tom Trebelhorn (Brewers)
Starting pitchers Jimmy Key (Blue Jays)
Don August (Brewers)
Attendance48,378 [129]

Batting

StatisticDetails
Batter Paul Molitor, Brewers [129]
Blue Jays Batter Junior Félix
Hit Paul Molitor, Brewers (double) [129]
Run Paul Molitor, Brewers
Blue Jays Run George Bell
RBI Gary Sheffield, Brewers
Blue Jays RBI Fred McGriff
Single Kelly Gruber, Blue Jays
Double Paul Molitor, Brewers
Triple Jay Buhner, Mariners (June 18, 1989) [129]
Home run Fred McGriff, Blue Jays (June 5, 1989)
Grand slam Terry Steinbach, Athletics (July 16, 1989) [129]
Blue Jays grand slam Glenallen Hill (September 1, 1989)
Inside-the-park home run Rance Mulliniks, Blue Jays (July 11, 1991) [129]
Stolen base Fred McGriff, Blue Jays (June 5, 1989)
Sacrifice hit Robin Yount, Brewers (June 5, 1989)
Sacrifice fly Robin Yount, Brewers (June 5, 1989)
Cycle George Brett, Royals (July 25, 1990) [129]
Blue Jays cycle Jeff Frye (August 17, 2001)

Pitching

StatisticDetails
Win Don August
Blue Jays Win John Cerutti (June 7, 1989)
Loss Jimmy Key
Opposing Loss Chris Bosio, Brewers (June 7, 1989)
Shutout Bert Blyleven, Angels (July 18, 1989)
Blue Jays Shutout John Cerutti (August 2, 1989)
Save Dan Plesac, Brewers (June 5, 1989)
Blue Jays Save David Wells (June 9, 1989)
Hit by pitch Tony Fossas hit Lloyd Moseby, Brewers (June 7, 1989) [129]
Wild pitch Jimmy Key, Blue Jays (June 5, 1989) [130]
Balk Tony Fossas, Brewers (June 7, 1989) [129]
No-hitter Dave Stewart, Athletics (June 29, 1990) [129]
Left: Rogers Centre with roof closed
Right: Rogers Centre with roof opened Rogers Centre open and closed.jpg
Left: Rogers Centre with roof closed
Right: Rogers Centre with roof opened
The field-level seating rotates on tracks to make the stadium easier to reconfigure Skydome seats rotate.jpg
The field-level seating rotates on tracks to make the stadium easier to reconfigure

See also

Related Research Articles

Toronto Argonauts Canadian football team based in Toronto, Canada

The Toronto Argonauts are a professional Canadian football team competing in the East Division of the Canadian Football League (CFL). Based in Toronto, Ontario, the team was founded in 1873, and is the oldest existing professional sports team in North America still using its original name, and they are the oldest-surviving team in both the modern-day CFL and East Division. The team's origins date back to a modified version of rugby football that emerged in North America in the latter half of the nineteenth century. The Argonauts played their home games at Rogers Centre from 1989 until 2016 when the team moved to BMO Field, the fifth stadium site to host the team.

Olympic Stadium (Montreal) Stadium built for the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal

Olympic Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Montreal, Canada, located at Olympic Park in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district of the city. Built in the mid-1970s as the main venue for the 1976 Summer Olympics, it is nicknamed "The Big O", a reference to both its name and to the doughnut-shape of the permanent component of the stadium's roof. It is also disparagingly referred to as "The Big Owe" in reference the astronomical construction costs to the city and of the hosting of the 1976 Olympics as a whole. The tower standing next to the stadium, The Montreal Tower, is the tallest inclined tower in the world with an angle elevation of 45 degrees.

Exhibition Stadium Former multi-purpose stadium in Toronto

Canadian National Exhibition Stadium was a multi-purpose stadium that formerly stood on the Exhibition Place grounds, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Originally built for Canadian National Exhibition events, the stadium served as the home of the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League, from 1959–1988, the Toronto Blue Jays of Major League Baseball from 1977–1989, and the Toronto Blizzard of the North American Soccer League from 1979–1983. The stadium hosted the Grey Cup game 12 times over a 24-year period.

BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, Canada

BC Place is a multi-purpose stadium located at the north side of False Creek, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It is owned and operated by the BC Pavilion Corporation (PavCo), a crown corporation of the province. It is currently the home of the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League (CFL), Vancouver Whitecaps FC of Major League Soccer (MLS) and the annual Canada Sevens as well as the BC Sports Hall of Fame. The stadium also served as the main stadium for the 2010 Winter Olympics and 2010 Paralympics which Vancouver hosted, the 2012 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament, as well as a venue for multiple matches including the championship match for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup.

Varsity Stadium Football stadium at the University of Toronto

Varsity Stadium is an outdoor collegiate football stadium located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is home to the Toronto Varsity Blues, the athletic teams of the University of Toronto. Athletic events have been hosted on the site since 1898; the current stadium was built in 2007 to replace the original permanent stadium built in 1911. Varsity Stadium is also a former home of the Toronto Argonauts, and has previously hosted the Grey Cup, the Vanier Cup, several matches of the 1976 Summer Olympics soccer tournament, and the final game of the North American Soccer League's 1984 Soccer Bowl series. It is located next to Varsity Arena.

BMO Field Stadium in Toronto

BMO Field is an outdoor stadium located at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, which is home to Toronto FC of Major League Soccer and the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. Constructed on the site of the former Exhibition Stadium and first opened in 2007, it is owned by the City of Toronto, and managed by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. The stadium's naming rights are held by the Bank of Montreal, which is commonly branded as "BMO".

95th Grey Cup

The 95th Grey Cup was held in Toronto at the Rogers Centre on November 25, 2007. The Grey Cup, first awarded in 1909, is the championship game of the Canadian Football League. It was played between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, with the Roughriders winning 23–19. It was the first Grey Cup meeting between the two teams, and was also the first time any Labour Day Classic matchup has been played in the Grey Cup.

Lamport Stadium

Allan A. Lamport Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium on King Street West in the Liberty Village neighbourhood of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is the practice facility for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. It is also partial home for Canada national rugby league team and Toronto Arrows rugby union team. The playing surface of the 9,600 seating capacity stadium is also dually marked for soccer and field hockey. The stadium was named for long-time Toronto politician Allan Lamport, who was associated with sporting activities in the city.

Movable seating is a feature of some facilities like stadiums, often known as convertible stadiums, or moduable stadiums. It allows for the movement of parts of the grandstand to allow for a change of the playing surface shape. This allows games that use various shaped playing surfaces such as an oval field, for cricket and/or Australian rules football; or a rectangular field, for football (soccer), rugby league, rugby union, American football, and/or Canadian football; or a diamond field, for baseball; to be played in the same stadium. This is particularly useful in Australia and the United States, where various professional sports with varying field configurations are popular spectator pastimes. The process of conversion from one form to another is time-consuming – depending on the stadium it can take from 8 to 80 hours. Many stadiums were built in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s to host both baseball and American football.

The 70th Grey Cup, also known as the "Rain Bowl", was the 1982 Grey Cup Canadian Football League championship game between the Toronto Argonauts and the Edmonton Eskimos. The Eskimos, who were making their sixth consecutive appearance in the CFL championship game, defeated the Argonauts 32–16 on the Eskimos' way to their fifth straight Grey Cup. The game was played on Sunday, November 28, 1982, at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto.

Multi-purpose stadium

A multi-purpose stadium is a type of stadium designed to be easily used by multiple types of events. While any stadium could potentially host more than one type of sport or event, this concept usually refers to a specific design philosophy that stresses multifunctionality over specificity. It is used most commonly in Canada and the United States, where the two most popular outdoor team sports – American football and baseball – require radically different facilities. Football uses a rectangular field, while baseball is played on a diamond and large outfield. This requires a particular design to accommodate both, usually an oval, while some later designs used an octorad. While building stadiums in this way means that sports teams and governments can share costs, it also imposes some challenges.

Retractable roof

A retractable roof is a roof system designed to roll back the roof on tracks so that the interior of the facility is open to the outdoors. Retractable roofs are sometimes referred to as operable roofs or retractable skylights. The term operable skylight, while quite similar, refers to a skylight that opens on a hinge, rather than on a track.

Sports in Toronto Overview of sports traditions and activities in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, has a long history of sport. It is home to a number of clubs, including the Granite Club, the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, the Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club, the Argonaut Rowing Club, Toronto Argonauts football club, the Toronto Lawn Tennis Club, and the Badminton and Racquet Club. A number of heritage venues have developed in Toronto such as: Christie Pits, Coca-Cola Coliseum, Varsity Arena, and Maple Leaf Gardens. Toronto is also the location of the Canadian Football League's headquarters.

The 1992 Toronto Blue Jays season was the franchise's 16th season of Major League Baseball. Toronto finished first in the American League East for the fourth time with a record of 96 wins and 66 losses, closing the season with an attendance record of 4,028,318. Toronto was not swept in a single series all year, becoming the first team in 49 years to accomplish the feat.

The National Football League (NFL) has been playing games in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, since 1959 when an interleague game between the Chicago Cardinals of the NFL and the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League (CFL) took place at Exhibition Stadium. Subsequently, a number of neutral site preseason and regular season games between NFL teams have been staged in the city. Toronto is one of three cities outside the United States, along with London and Mexico City, which have hosted regular season NFL games.

The 2015 Canadian Football League season was the 62nd season of modern Canadian professional football. Officially, it was the 58th season of the league. The Edmonton Eskimos won the 103rd Grey Cup on November 29, defeating the Ottawa Redblacks 26–20 in Winnipeg. The schedule was released February 13, 2015 and the regular season began on June 25, 2015.

2015 Toronto Argonauts season

The 2015 Toronto Argonauts season was the 58th season for the team in the Canadian Football League and their 143rd season overall. The Argonauts finished with a 10–8 record, but lost the East-Semi Final to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

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