SAN DIEGO – Can’t see a thing – it’s a soccer field inside Petco Park, a transformation that was almost complete on Wednesday before the Holiday Bowl.
America’s finest baseball stadium is temporarily home to a grid for the NCAA Bowl Game between North Carolina State and UCLA on December 28. It marks a milestone for the iconic baseball stadium, which has hosted a variety of concerts and other outdoor events, but never hosted a football game in its 17-year history.
The paint was still drying on the field and in the end zones on Wednesday when FOX 5 had the chance to walk around the park and fly overhead with a drone to get a glimpse of what was to come.
The project required $ 1 million in upgrades and modifications to provide 50,000 fans with a unique varsity football viewing experience. This included the following major changes, as reported on the official San Diego Padres blog:
- The wall along the first base foul line has been temporarily removed to make room for the eastern end zone;
- In left field, the enclosure door and stairs have been removed to make way for the west end area;
- Goal posts and game clocks have been added to the field; and
- Rows of field-level suites for groups of 10-20 were built on risers along the north side line (which would typically be right and center-right terrain).
As the team is quick to point out for Padres purists, all changes are “transitional” – this means the yard dimensions will be restored to their normal configuration at the time of baseball season. The changes are modular, however, so they will be easier to put back in place for the 2022 boules game. Petco Park has a contract to host at least the next five.
Holiday Bowl tickets still available online start at $ 90 and go up to $ 3,000 for Field Suites.
Visitors to the stadium will want to arrive early for a pre-game military tribute featuring the US Navy Leapfrogs Parachute Team and a flyby. Spectators must bring a mask to enter all interior areas of the stadium.
Want to experience Petco Park’s unique makeover from home? You’re in luck: the game airs on FOX 5. Tune in on Tuesday, December 28 at 5 pm.
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