Field transformation photos, Holiday Bowl seating details

SAN DIEGO — You can’t see a thing — it’s a football field inside Petco Park, a transformation that was nearly complete Wednesday before the Holiday Bowl.

America’s best ballpark is temporarily housing a gridiron for the NCAA bowling game between North Carolina State and UCLA on Dec. 28. It marks a milestone for the iconic ballpark, which has hosted a variety of concerts and other outdoor events but never hosted a football game in its 17-year history.

Paint was still drying on the field and in the end zone on Wednesday when FOX 5 got a chance to walk around the park and fly over the park with a drone for a preview of what was to come.

A drone photo provides a dazzling view of the Petco Park football field for the Holiday Bowl, a first for the ballpark in 2021. (Photo: Aaron Eudaley/Drone5)

The project required $1 million in upgrades and modifications to provide 50,000 fans with a unique college football viewing experience. This included the following major changes, as set out on the Official San Diego Padres Blog:

  • The wall that runs along the first base foul line was temporarily removed to make way for the east end zone;
  • In left field, the bullpen door and stairs were removed to make way for the west area;
  • Goal posts and game clocks have been added to the field; and
  • Rows of field-level suites for groups of 10–20 people were built on risers along the north side line (which would typically be right field and right center field).

As the team is quick to point out for Padres purists, all changes are “transitional” – that means the park’s dimensions will be restored to their normal configuration come baseball season. The changes are modular, though, so they’ll be easier to roll back for the 2022 bowl game. Petco Park has a contract to host at least the next five.

Holiday Bowl tickets still available online start at $90 and go up to $3,000 for on-the-ground suites.

Stadium visitors will want to arrive early for a pre-game military tribute featuring the US Navy Leapfrogs parachute team and a flyover. Spectators must bring a mask to enter all indoor areas of the stadium.

Want to experience Petco Park’s first makeover from home? You’re in luck: The game airs on FOX 5. Tune in Tuesday, Dec. 28 at 5 p.m.

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