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 TigerFest canceled due to Comerica Park renovations

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PostSubject: TigerFest canceled due to Comerica Park renovations   Wed Dec 14, 2011 10:05 pm

December 14, 2011 at 4:32 pm
TigerFest canceled due to Comerica Park renovations; scoreboard to be updated

By Lynn Henning
The Detroit News

Detroit— Although they are keeping specific details quiet until just before Opening Day, the Tigers are upgrading 11-year-old Comerica Park, with emphasis on dramatic changes to the scoreboard, ahead of their 2012 season.

Those renovations have forced the club to cancel its annual January celebration, TigerFest, because of safety concerns and space problems associated with the remodeling.

Comerica Park's scoreboard is to receive expansive upgrades in technology, bringing it more into line with big-picture, big-sound scoreboards at newer ballparks and events centers, which have benefited from an electronics revolution during the years since Comerica Park opened in 2000.

Ron Colangelo, vice president for communications, said the Tigers explored alternative sites for TigerFest but struck out because of scheduling overlaps that included a Red Wings game on Jan. 21 at Joe Louis Arena, the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Hall, and events that eliminate suburban options.

"It was our intention to host TigerFest in 2012, knowing that it's extremely popular with the fan base, but once we realized how much of the ballpark would be unavailable, due to space limitations and housing materials for upgrades, we knew we would not be able to present the fans with the same kind of experience," Colangelo said.

"It became apparent, too, that safety precautions would become a factor. Our marketing department did a heck of a job trying to find alternative sites, but they just didn't work. We realized we had to postpone TigerFest in the best interests of all parties."

The Tigers are saying little about the scope and detail of Comerica Park's renovations.

Any adjustment in the scoreboard's presentation or capacity could be a major gain for Comerica customers, given the scope and size of productions at places such as Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium, which underwent a makeover three years ago.

"We'll share details closer to Opening Day," said Colangelo, who would offer no hint at other construction plans.

The Tigers intend to carry through with their other winter staple, the Tigers Caravan, a publicity tour involving Tigers players, staff, and front-office executives, which will be Jan. 19-20.

lynn.henning@detnews.com

twitter.com@Lynn_Henning

http://www.detnews.com/article/20111214/SPORTS0104/112140385/TigerFest-canceled-due-Comerica-Park-renovations-scoreboard-updated?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE


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PostSubject: Re: TigerFest canceled due to Comerica Park renovations   Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:15 am

TigerFest put on hiatus for one year
Renovations to Comerica Park necessitate cancellation
By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 12/14/11 10:30 AM EST

DETROIT -- Progress usually takes time. Sometimes, it takes more than that. This is one of those times for the Tigers at Comerica Park, which is about to get some improvements for 2012.

While Tigers fans can look forward to an improved ballpark atmosphere next season, including upgrades to the enormous left-field scoreboard, the work required to get it done is going to take some patience through the long Michigan winter. Much as the Tigers hoped they could go ahead with TigerFest through it all, it has now become clear they can't hold it at their home. As a result, the club is putting its annual winter warmup event on a one-year hiatus, though their Winter Caravan will still go on as planned.

Tickets for TigerFest, which would've been scheduled for Jan. 21, normally would have gone on sale around this time. It was a difficult decision for the Tigers, who have sold out the event every January for the past several years. But the combination of ballpark construction work and a busy weekend for facilities around Metro Detroit left them out of options.

TigerFest moved to Comerica Park in 2007 and has been a sellout event ever since. It was a bold move to try to hold the event in a largely outdoor facility during the heart of winter, and it has had its share of bone-chilling days along the way. The Tigers have made it work by using most of the available indoor areas in the park, save for the suites and press box, while covering and heating large parts of the concourse.

When it all comes together, there isn't much room to spare.

"The intention was to hold a TigerFest in 2012," Tigers vice president of communications Ron Colangelo said, "but it became apparent there were going to be space limitations. And when we realized there would be safety concerns, we decided it was in the best interest to postpone the event."

The upgrades to Comerica Park are among the biggest since it opened in 2000. The Tigers opened a new retail store called "The D Shop" last spring, and retail sales jumped 26 percent over the previous year. The success earned the team recognition as MLB's Club Retailer of the Year.

Details on the scoreboard upgrades are expected to be announced soon. The scoreboard is largely the same as when the ballpark opened, and has shown its age at times over the last few years.

At the same time, new scoreboards, including huge video boards and improved graphics, have had major effects on ballparks around the Majors. A giant video board and LED scoreboard was one of the highlights of a massive renovation of Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City before the 2009 season, and helped modernize one of baseball's older ballparks. The Phillies updated their scoreboard last offseason with an HD board that stands as the National League's largest.

Working on as large of a scoreboard as Comerica Park -- still one of the biggest in the big leagues -- takes up space and time around the ballpark for new parts and the equipment to install them. That's where the Tigers, who have held a fanfest event for about the last 15 years, encountered challenges, then concerns.

Joe Louis Arena housed TigerFest for four years before the event moved to Comerica Park. However, the Red Wings are at home there for games on back-to-back Saturdays, Jan. 14 and 21, around the weekends TigerFest normally takes place. Cobo Center hosts the North American International Auto Show from Jan. 14-22, and the Lions' chances to make the playoffs leaves Ford Field a possibility for football games in January.

The Tigers Winter Caravan, which was in the planning stages well before TigerFest came into question, will take place on Jan. 19-20 and include several stops around metro Detroit with most of the Tigers' roster expected to attend. That schedule should be released in the coming weeks. Planning for the caravan is completely separate from TigerFest, and the Tigers don't plan on extending the caravan to Jan. 21.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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