THE COLORADO ROCKIES EXECUTED ONE OF THE MORE BRILLIANT BUSINESS IDEAS IN THE RECENT HISTORY OF AMERICAN sports. Unfortunately, it had no effect on the product on the field.
Still, Rockies ownership and management deserve credit for recognizing an opportunity to turn around a floundering part of their business. For years, the seats in the upper deck in right field at Coors Field were mostly ignored, only used for popular games such as Opening Day or fireworks nights around the Fourth of July.
Then between the 2013 and 2014 seasons, that area of seating was torn down--3,400 seats total --and replaced with two levels of bars, food vendors and cabanas. Called "The Rooftop," it has since come to be known by regulars as "the party deck."
These days the 38,000-square-foot rooftop is generally brimming with activity no matter the opponent, and it hasn't seemed to take away from the experience around the rest of the stadium. Rooftop tickets are deemed general admission, and spectators can decide to spend time at the ballpark there even if tickets are for seats elsewhere in the park.
The brilliance of the concept is that it brings mild baseball enthusiasts and even disinterested folks to Coors Field to hang out with friends. On The Rooftop you can be completely disengaged from the sport while still at the game.
The Rockies were not even halfway through last season's home schedule when the team reported it had already sold 60,000 tickets for The Rooftop, which was equal to the number of tickets sold for that seating area in the entire 2013 season.
Fans pay $14 for a Rooftop ticket and receive a $6 credit toward food and drinks. It's cheaper than a movie ticket and tub of popcorn--and much more social.
Other Major League teams have studied the model and are considering similar social sections in their parks. Atlanta, which is building a new stadium to replace Turner Field, and the Chicago Cubs, who are in the middle of a massive project...