May 10, 2011

Rose Bowl renovation on track ahead of Gold Cup final

Brenda Gazzar, Staff Writer ~ Pasadena Star News ~ Posted:05/10/2011 04:45:29 PM PDT

Shoring of Rose Bowl stadium wall that will include a new foundation for the expanded press box at the Rose Bowl as the $152 million dollar Rose Bowl renovation continues Tuesday, May 10, 2011. (SGVN/Staff Photo by Walt Mancini/SXCity)
Progress in the $152 million Rose Bowl renovations - click image to see renovation slideshow
(SGVN/Staff Photo by Walt Mancini/SXCity)

PASADENA - The historic Rose Bowl was abuzz with activity Tuesday as dozens of workers dug, drilled and shored up the stadium - part of the three-year, $152 million renovation that began in January.

With the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup Final scheduled here on June 25, stadium officials are on track to complete much of the project's first phase in time for the high-profile soccer match.

The Gold Cup final will be the first opportunity for Rose Bowl officials and the public to see many of the improvements “in action,” said Rose Bowl CEO and General Manager Darryl Dunn.

“If we still have construction going, things will be stopped and made safe,” Dunn said. “Seeing how the venue operates in a sold-out capacity with construction is something we need to understand and assess and will help us plan for the UCLA season and the Rose Bowl Game.”

The 6 p.m. June 25 event returns the title game of the continental soccer championship to the Rose Bowl for the tournament's 20th anniversary. Tickets, available through Ticketmaster, are priced from $40 to $171.70.

Holding a major event in the midst of construction will entail making sure work is stopped, that everything is cleaned up for the event and then ready for the renovation to resume the following day, Dunn said.

“This happens on a much smaller scale every month when we have the flea market,” he said.

Heavy construction is noticeable on the stadium's west side, where workers operating humongous drills are shoring up the stadium near the press box to make way for new press box foundations.

As a result, “how people circulate and move around (there) will be interesting,” Dunn said.

The new press box, which will increase in both length and width, will nearly triple the number of premium seats now available.

For those seeking a preview of the renovation, the Legacy Premium Sales team - hired to sell premium seats - will be hosting an Open House today for its new Marketing Center from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m near Parking Lot D.

By June 25th, four newly widened tunnels on the south side will be open for public use and a new LED video board - which will be more than twice the size of the previous one - and six new advertising panels are expected to be up and functional on the north end.

The steel frames for the LED board and ad panels have already been installed and workers are now preparing to house the new displays inside.

In addition, several new intermediate aisles on the south end have been created to help fans exit more quickly.

"It's a really important event," Dunn said of the Gold Cup. "We expect soccer dignitaries from around the world to be here and we want to put our best foot forward."

It will be the third time the Gold Cup, which will start June 5, has been played at the Rose Bowl, site of the 1994 World Cup final. The last Gold Cup Final at the Rose Bowl was in 2002, according to the tournament's website.

The vast majority of premium seats for the Gold Cup final have already been sold, even though it is unknown which North and South American countries will be squaring off that day, said Oscar Flores, the Rose Bowl's operations coordinator.

The June 25 event is considered an important milestone but stadium officials will feel more pressured for time leading up to the 100th Rose Bowl Game in January 2014, when the entire renovation is due to be completed, Dunn said.