It’s a sunny afternoon in St. Louis, you’re sitting in the upper deck at Busch Stadium, where you not only are watching one of the best baseball teams, but have views of the St. Louis skyline and the Gateway Arch, one of the most iconic structures in America. Cardinals baseball has been played in downtown St. Louis since 1966 and the club has played at three different ballparks known as Busch Stadium. The Cardinals first played at Sportsmans Park (renamed Busch Stadium in 1953) in North St. Louis, then moved to downtown St. Louis and into the circular, multipurpose Busch Stadium in 1966. The second Busch Stadium was not only home to the Cardinals, but to many other events including the St. Louis Cardinals NFL team before moving to Arizona. Busch Stadium was extensively remodeled in the 1990s, making it one of the best stadiums in baseball, even though it remained an enclosed stadium. However, in the late 1990s the Cardinals began to seek construction of a new stadium as ownership wanted to increase revenue from additional amenities such as luxury suites and club seats that old Busch Stadium lacked.
Fans and ownership agreed that the Cardinals home should remain in downtown St. Louis. However, the Cardinals struggled to receive support from the city and began exploring alternative options East of the Mississippi River in Illinois at a location near the Gateway International Raceway by 2000. The Cardinals located across the river in Illinois made little sense to anyone and by June 2001 fans rejoiced as the Cardinals and the State of Missouri signed a contract the construct a new ballpark in downtown St. Louis adjacent to Busch Stadium. Construction began in December 2003 and in August 2004 the Cardinals and Anheuser-Busch agreed on a 20-year naming rights contract to keep the Busch Stadium name alive. Busch Stadium is owned by the Cardinals and was privately financed using a combination of private bonds that the team is required to repay, bank loans, cash from the owners of the Cardinals and a long-term loan from St. Louis County.
AT BUSCH STADIUM
The St. Louis Cardinals played their first game at Busch Stadium against the Milwaukee Brewers on April 10, 2006. As fans approach the ballpark they see a facade consisting of brick and steel, with arched openings at the main entrances, with the arches reminisce of nearby warehouses. Busch Stadium has a seating capacity of 46,700 that consists of three main seating decks with the main concourse, loge concourse, and terrace concourse levels. Bleachers are in both left and right field providing fans a different view of the action on the field. For the first three months of its opening Busch Stadium’s grandstand in left field was under construction as the new stadium overlapped the old Busch Stadium site and could not begin until the old stadium was completed demolished.
As fans roam the large open concourses and take their seat to watch the Cardinals, they have one of the best views found in any ballpark. Beyond the outfield is the skyline of downtown St. Louis and the Gateway Arch. All concourses are open including the upper level providing views of the field. The main scoreboard is located above the seating area in right-centerfield with an out of town scoreboard to the right of the main scoreboard. The bullpens are in left and right centerfield. Busch Stadium has many gathering and party areas including a family pavilion where fans can enjoy interactive games and activities, the Coca-Cola Rooftop Deck and the Backstop Bar.
The newest addition at Busch Stadium was completed in 2014. Beyond centerfield on the site of the old Busch Stadium is the Ballpark Village. Phase I of the village opened in 2014 and includes a three-story, 30,000 square foot building containing the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum and Cardinal Nation Restaurant. 300 seats are located atop allowing fans to watch the Cardinals in action from 500 feet away. Also included in Phase I is the Budweiser Brew House, showcasing Anheuser-Busch’s connection to the franchise featuring a beer garden and 100 different beers. In addition, Live! at Ballpark Village and PBR St. Louis are a part of the Ballpark Village. In 2018 the Budweiser Terrance was added is located in the upper right field section of the stadium. This multilevel area includes two bars, lounge seating and standing areas for fans. Approximately 1,000 seats were removed to make room for this area, decreasing the seating capacity to 43,975.
St. Louis Cardinals fans are some of the most passionate fans in baseball as the Cardinals attract over three million fans annually to Busch Stadium each season. Not only do the Cardinals have one of the best fan experiences in baseball, but the club has won multiple pennants since moving into Busch Stadium.