Colorado Rockies struggling on the field but having success in the stands

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(Photo: CPR/Rachel Estabrook)
<p>One end of a bean bag toss game on The Rooftop at Coors Field.</p>

The Colorado Rockies are struggling lately on the field. After a hot start, the team has lost more games than it has won. It's a different story in the stands, where a multi-million dollar off-season renovation to Coors Field is paying off for the team.

The Rockies tore out approximately 3,400 seats in the outfield's upper deck to put in The Rooftop, a large area with tables and chairs and a cabana area, featuring couches and bean bag toss games. The Rooftop has several bars with big flatscreen televisions, some of which tune to the Rockies game and some that show other sports, including World Cup soccer. Fans can watch the game on television or, from some parts of the Rooftop, in person.

In a new report in the Sports Business Journal, reporter Don Muret writes that ticket sales to the section have increased dramatically. "Through 37 home games, the Rockies had sold 60,000 general admission tickets for the right field space, matching the total number of tickets sold for all of last year," Muret wrote.

Concessions have tripled for Aramark, the concessionaire for Coors Field, which was clearly evident as people ate and drank their way through yesterday's game against the San Diego Padres.

Brian Vander Velde, who works at Alpine Lumber in Denver, was at the ballpark with his coworkers. "We got some food at the Chub Burger, we sat down over here in the cabana area, ate, met with everyone, chatted. Now we’re out here playing some bean bag toss," he said.

From where Vander Velde sat he couldn't see the game, although he would've liked to watch it, he said.

Other fans didn't miss the view of the game. Colleen Miller was there with her coworkers from the accounting firm Deloitte. "Right now we’ve got beers that were on tap, hard lemonade and of course Coors Light," she said. Miller added that she enjoyed being in the shade on a nice day, sitting with her friends. In fact, she said, it was her favorite ballpark experience ever.

Increasingly, Muret said, seeing the game is not some spectators' top priority.

"For some fans going to the park is about everything except baseball," he said. "They're on social media, and singles like to mingle."

In covering sports facilities, Muret said the Rockies are not alone in trying to offer alternative ways to enjoy the ballpark, and that representatives of all of the teams coming to Coors to play the team this year have toured the Rooftop to consider what changes they can make to their home parks.