Chris Ilitch: 'Next-level' renovations coming to Comerica Park

The Detroit News
The gates at Comerica Park open for Opening Day 2018 and the Tigers-Pirates game.

Comerica Park, which opened in 2000, has stood the test of time — especially when you consider the shrinking lifespan of professional sports stadiums.

Consider, the Atlanta Braves moved into SunTrust Park in 2017, after spending just 20 years at their previous home, Turner Field. And the Texas Rangers are planning a 2020 move into a new ballpark, despite Globe Life Park in Arlington having opened in 1994.

That said, Comerica Park might be bracing for some serious renovations, according to comments made by Christopher Ilitch this week.

“We try to be very disciplined at Comerica Park and each and every year ... just keep investing in the facility and keeping it fresh and exciting and make sure that customer experience stays high,” Ilitch said during a business conference in Detroit this week, according to comments published by SportsBusiness Daily (subscription). "Having said that, at some point we are going to take it to the next level and really do something more meaningful because we are seeing how people are reacting to the Little Caesars (Arena) environment.”

Ilitch, chairman and CEO of the Detroit Tigers, didn't elaborate on when renovations might take place, what they might entail, or where the financing would come from.

Comerica Park has undergone several modest renovations over the years, including the bringing in of the fences in left field, the addition of seating sections (to accommodate for the 2006-2014 attendance needs) and the addition of bars and restaurants throughout the park. A new, large scoreboard was installed in 2012.

This past offseason, Comerica Park added protective netting, as Major League Baseball continued to urge teams to become more fan safety-conscious.

But there have been no massive overhauls on the scale of the Detroit Lions' recent $100-million upgrades at Ford Field.

Comerica Park, which cost $300 million in 2000 and seats 41,297, regularly is listed in the middle-of-the-pack among major-league ballparks.