MEMPHIS, Tennessee - AutoZone Park's 20th season is underway after nearly $2 million in stadium upgrades, improvements, and renovations ahead of 89 scheduled Memphis Redbirds and Memphis 901 FC games.
From the behind-the-scenes to the very noticeable, hardly any area of the stadium was untouched this offseason.
"This offseason was another eventful one at AutoZone Park," Redbirds and 901 FC President Craig Unger said. "As the stadium enters its 20th season we have not slowed down in our commitment to enhancing the fan experience whenever possible, which will ensure this stadium lives up to its reputation as one of the finest in all of sports."
Fans will benefit from a complete overhaul of the camera and video system, with the action now produced in full high definition on the massive AutoZone Park videoboard. This will also translate to game broadcasts airing on MiLB.tv and ESPN+, allowing out-of-town fans an even better look at the baseball and soccer excitement happening in Downtown Memphis. The stadium's sound system amplifiers have also been upgraded as part of the audio/video enhancements.
AutoZone Park is implementing extended netting further down the first and third base lines for Redbirds games, over the tops of the dugouts and down to their far ends, along with all of Major League Baseball and many teams in Minor League Baseball. The new netting is a state-of-the-art knotless twine that will allow increased visibility through the net. When 901 FC is playing, all of the stadium's netting will be lowered and removed using a cutting-edge system to ensure soccer fans feel at home.
"We take fan safety extremely seriously, and extending the safety netting as recommended by Major League Baseball's and Minor League Baseball's Commissioners allows us to protect about five extra sections of fans at baseball games," Unger explained. "We also are committed to giving fans a sport-specific experience when they come to the stadium, so the fact that all of the backstop netting is retractable for soccer games is a huge positive."
With 901 FC entering its inaugural season in the USL Championship this year, a brand-new locker room and training room were built on the basement level of the stadium. These facilities are completely separate from the Redbirds' accommodations, allowing each team the maximum space and the amenities they need.
The AutoZone Park Front Office staffing was also increased this offseason, which means the third floor space housing the ticket sales, marketing, operations, communications, and business departments was expanded to accommodate approximately 25 new employees.
Since 2015, nearly $10 million has been invested into AutoZone Park, including new videoboards, an expanded and upgraded Club Level, a playing field replacement, a permanent Team Store, and more, along with these 2019 offseason upgrades.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.