During the 2018 season, my family—Rockies season ticket holders since the team’s inception—chose section L311 in right field as our perch to watch games. The seats were cheap but had a great view of the whole field, which made them attractive to us. However, the location of our row meant we were also next-door neighbors with the two-story party deck known as the Rooftop. This was not, in my opinion, a selling point.
The Rooftop is a can’t-look-away tragedy if you’re a true baseball fan like me. Between—and sometimes even during—innings, the swirl of action there would hold my gaze hostage. Twentysomethings slugging Coors Lights. Tinder dates canoodling in cabanas. A bachelorette party ordering an ill-advised fourth round of cocktails. Nearly every person I laid eyes on appeared to be having a blast. Of course, almost none of them are watching the game.
In 2014, the Rockies opened the 38,000-square-foot Rooftop because, according to the team’s chairman and CEO, Dick Monfort, younger ticket holders were congregating along the left field concourse instead of sitting in their seats. Similarly, Rockies brass noticed that the rooftop bars surrounding the stadium were full of “fans” that came downtown “for the game” with no intention of actually entering Coors Field. Installing the Rooftop allowed the franchise to have a standing-room-only bar of its own where it could extract money from those suffering from baseball apathy without having them block access to concessions in left field—or swipe their credit cards at a bar down the street.
It’s unclear how much cash the Rooftop’s revelry nets; the Rockies won’t release concession or tickets sales numbers for its rollicking party deck. There are some anecdotal indications, though, that it was a savvy business move. Other MLB teams regularly call Monfort for advice on imitating such a space in their parks, and since 2014, multiple franchises, including the Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals, have opened similar areas at their stadiums. The Rooftop also took the place of 3,500 seats that were only sold for premium games, like opening day—that is to say, they were rarely used. Now, however, the organization offers 2,000 Rooftop-only tickets ($16, including a $6 concession credit) to every contest. And rare is the day when you don’t find it packed with millennials.
Whether Monfort is printing money off of what I once thought of as his “terrible terrace” is probably irrelevant. After a year of trying to shield my eyes from the debauchery, I’ve come around to the idea that the Rooftop delivers something to Coors Field that can never truly be a bad thing: a huge dose of fun. I’ll admit that it also helps me persuade potential companions—both my less-fanatical friends and my cheapskate buddies—that going to a baseball game doesn’t have to be keeping-score-with-a-pencil boring or break-the-bank-for-a-decent-view pricey. And if the Rockies are going to continue to while away the summers near the bottom of the NL West, it’s nice to know there’s always a good time to be had on the Rooftop.