SkyDome, also known as Rogers Centre (another example of an
owner's ego getting in the way of a good name), is a multi-purpose stadium
in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, situated next to the CN Tower near the shores
of Lake Ontario. It is home to Major League Baseball's Toronto Blue Jays
and the Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts. While it is
primarily a sports venue, Skydome also hosts other large-scale events such
as conventions, trade fairs, and concerts.
(Sold to Blue Jays for
$25M in 2005)
Robbie, Michael Allen
Rogers Centre (2005-)
Argonauts (CFL, 1989-)
Toronto Blue Jays (MLB, 1989-)
Toronto Raptors (NBA, 1995-1999)
53,506 (2005 Football)
Field - 328 ft
Left-Center - 375 ft
Center Field - 400 ft
Right-Center - 375 ft
Right Field - 328 ft
Backstop - 60 ft
SkyDome is also noted for being the first stadium to have a fully
retractable motorized roof.
Rogers Centre was designed by Rod Robbie and Michael Allen and was
constructed by Ellis-Don Construction of Toronto. The stadium's
construction lasted just over three years, from April 1986 to May 1989.
The approximate cost of construction was $600 million (CAD) which was paid
for by the Canadian federal government, Ontario provincial government, and
a large consortium of corporations. Though nominally a multi-purpose
stadium the primary impetus for its construction was the need for a new
baseball stadium for the Blue Jays, who until 1989 played in the wholly
to the SkyDome!
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In the early 1990s the consortium of companies that had built the stadium
had amassed a huge debt and a massive, and controversial, government
bail-out was given them. However, by 2004, Rogers Communications, parent
company of the Blue Jays, agreed to acquire SkyDome from Sportco
International, LP for about $25 million CAD (about $21.24 million USD)
which was 1/24 the cost of construction.
On February 2, 2005 Ted Rogers, President and CEO of Rogers
Communications, which owns the Blue Jays, announced that his company will
significantly increase the Blue Jays team payroll to the tune of $210
million over the next three seasons, starting in 2005 and announced a
three-year corporate contract to change the name of SkyDome to the Rogers
Centre. While many sportswriters and broadcasters are forced to use the
new name, we prefer the old one and will continue to use it on this site.
After the purchase, Rogers refurbished the stadium by erecting a new
state of the art, integrated scoring and display system along with
replacing the Jumbotron. Rogers
Centre features a new artificial playing surface called FieldTurf.
In May 2005, the Toronto Argonauts agreed to three 5 years leases at
Rogers Centre, which could see the Argonauts playing out of Rogers Centre
until 2020. The team has the option to leave at the end of each of the
three lease agreements. The Argos also announced that they will not move
into a new stadium being built at York University, a project which York
research by Jim Herdman & David Vincent
Courtesy of Retrosheet.
SkyDome was the first major team sports arena in North America to sport
a fully retractable roof. The roof is composed of four panels and covers
an area of 345,000 square feet. It takes 20 minutes for the roof to open
The venue is also well known for its enormous Jumbotron
television, at 30 by 100 feet. For a while, it was the largest of its kind
in the world. The Jumbotron and the stadium played host to several
television events, including the series finales for Star
Trek: The Next Generation and Cheers.
The centre also has an on-site fitness club, hotel, and Hard Rock Cafe.
Such features may seem quaint here in the 21st Century, but they and the
retractable roof were downright revolutionary in the late Awesome80s. This
stadium may have been the last of the bland, concrete multipurpose
stadiums before Camden Yards changed baseball for better, but it was the
coolest stadium on the planet when it opened.
Besides baseball and Canadian football, SkyDome was the original home
of the National Basketball Association's Toronto Raptors, who played at
the venue from November 1995 - February 1999. The centre has also hosted
exhibition soccer and NFL games. In June 1997, SkyDome featured a
well-publicized 150 meter race between sprinters Donovan Bailey and
Michael Johnson. Soccer matches have also become commonplace in the past
few years. Previous attempts were few and far between when the old
Astroturf was in place.
SkyDome is the site of several major high school and collegiate
sporting competitions including the Prentice Cup for baseball and, from
1989 to 2003, the Vanier Cup for Canadian Interuniversity Sport football.
Besides sporting events, the Rogers Centre contains a large exhibit
space of 143,000 square feet (13,000 mē) that hosts a variety of events
It is home to several annual auto shows, with the Canadian
International AutoShow in February and Importfest in October. Travelling
shows like World Wrestling Entertainment (which has used the facility to
host two WrestleMania events, WM VI and WM X8), Disney On Ice and circuses
also have used the venue.
Rogers Centre is the largest indoor concert venue in Toronto and over
the years it has hosted many international acts including U2, The Rolling
Stones, Garth Brooks, Avril Lavigne, and Andy Lau. The stadium has several
concert configurations, including smaller Theatre (capacity 5,000 to
7,000) and Concert Hall (formerly SkyTent; capacity 10,000-25,000) setups
with acoustical curtains to improve sound quality.
The centre has also hosted many public speakers, including appearances
by the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, and J. K. Rowling, for a book reading.
The original mascot of the stadium was a turtle by the name of Domer.
It is the tallest and most massive stadium used by any Major League
The retractable roof was reportedly a demand made by the Blue Jays,
who hoped that it would kill the deal, and they could make their own
park exclusively for baseball.
Natural grass was installed at SkyDome in July 2004 for
international soccer games between Liverpool versus Porto on July 30
and AS Roma versus Celtic on July 31.
Home to the 1991 Major League Baseball All-Star Game and the 1992
and 1993 World Series.
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