Petco Park

Petco Park
Address 19 Tony Gwynn Drive
Location San Diego, California
Coordinates 32°42′26″N 117°09′24″W / 32.7073°N 117.1566°W / 32.7073; -117.1566Coordinates: 32°42′26″N 117°09′24″W / 32.7073°N 117.1566°W / 32.7073; -117.1566
Public transit 12th & Imperial Transit Center (Blue and Orange Lines)
Gaslamp Quarter (Green Line)
Owner City of San Diego: 70%
Padres LP: 30% [1]
Operator Padres LP
Capacity 40,162 (2016–present)[2]
41,164 (2015)[3]
42,302 (2014)[4]
42,524 (2013)[5]
42,691 (2008–2012)[6]
42,445 (2004–2007)[7]
Record attendance 45,567[8]
Field size Left field Line – 334 feet (102 m)
Left field – 357 feet (109 m)
Left field alley – 390 feet (119 m)
Center field – 396 feet (121 m)
Right field alley – 391 feet (119 m)
Right field – 382 feet (116 m)
Right field line – 322 feet (98 m)
Surface BullsEye Bermuda (Grass)
Broke ground May 3, 2000[9]
Opened April 8, 2004[10]
Construction cost US$450 million
($565 million in 2016 Dollars[11])
Architect Populous (then HOK Sport)
Antoine Predock (design)
Spurlock Poirier (landscape)
ROMA (urban planning)
Heritage Architecture & Planning (Historic Preservation)
Project manager JMI Sports, LLC.[12]
Structural engineer Thornton Tomasetti[13]
Services engineer M–E Engineers, Inc.[14]
General contractor San Diego BallPark Builders (a joint venture of Clark Construction Group Inc., Nielsen Dillingham Builders Inc. And Douglas E. Barnhart Inc.)
San Diego Padres (MLB) (2004–present)

Petco Park is a baseball park located in the downtown area of San Diego, California, United States, that is home to the San Diego Padres of Major League Baseball (MLB). The park opened in 2004, replacing Qualcomm Stadium, which the Padres shared with the San Diego Chargers of the National Football League (NFL). Petco Park is named after the San Diego-based pet supplies retailer Petco, which paid for the naming rights until 2026. In addition to baseball, the park is also used as venue for concerts, football, golf, and rugby sevens.

The ballpark is located between 7th and 10th Avenues, south of J Street. The southern side of the stadium is bounded by San Diego Trolley light rail tracks along the north side of Harbor Drive (which serve the adjacent San Diego Convention Center). The portion of K Street between 7th and 10th is now closed to automobiles and serves as a pedestrian promenade along the back of the left and center field outfield seating (and also provides access to the Park at the Park behind center field). Two of the stadium's outfield entrance areas are located at K Street's intersections with 7th and 10th Avenues. The main entrance, behind home plate, is at the south end of Park Boulevard (at Imperial) and faces the San Diego Trolley station 12th & Imperial Transit Center.



Petco Park under construction in 2001.

The ballpark was constructed by San Diego Ballpark Builders, a partnership with Clark Construction, Nielsen Dillingham and Douglas E. Barnhart, Inc. The construction cost of over $450 million was partially funded by the Center City Development Corporation and the San Diego Redevelopment Agency. The stadium was intended to be part of a comprehensive plan to revitalize San Diego's aging downtown, particularly the East Village area.[15] The stadium is located across Harbor Drive from the San Diego Convention Center, and its main entrance behind home plate is located two blocks from the downtown terminal of the San Diego Trolley light rail system.

The very first ball park home plate was placed by a young boy at the time, Marlon Cook (San Diego Native) who volunteered through his Boys and Girls Program to take part in such historic event.

The ballpark was originally scheduled to open for the 2002 season; however, construction was temporarily suspended for legal and political reasons. One portion of this was a court decision which nullified a ballot proposition which had already been passed (approving the city's portion of the stadium financing package), and required that the proposition be put to the voters a second time. Another delay resulted from the Western Metal Supply Co. building having been declared a historic landmark in 1978, which prevented its demolition. After negotiations with the preservation community, it was agreed to rehabilitate the building in accordance with The Secretary of the Interior's Standards, and the building was renovated and included in the stadium design in an example of adaptive reuse.

The resulting delays required the Padres to play the 2002 and 2003 seasons at Jack Murphy/Qualcomm Stadium.

Baseball milestones

The first baseball game ever played at Petco Park, on March 11, 2004, was the first game of a four-team NCAA invitational tournament hosted by San Diego State University. The San Diego State Aztecs baseball team, of which retired Padres player Tony Gwynn was the head coach, defeated Houston. It was the largest attendance for a game in college baseball history.[16] Lance Zawadzki recorded the first hit, when he hit a double.

On April 8, 2004, there was lighthearted pushing and shoving before the gates opened around 4 p.m., as numerous Padres faithful tried to be the first to enter Petco Park. But Brent Walker, 17, had a distinction all to himself. "I'm very proud to be the first fan to come in", said Walker, who was wearing a San Francisco Giants jersey. The San Diego Padres played their first regular season game and defeated the San Francisco Giants 4-3 in 10 innings.[17]

On April 15, 2004 Mark Loretta hit the first Padre home run off of Hideo Nomo of the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was caught by Mike Hill, a bartender at the Kansas City Barbecue.

The stadium's first playoff game came on October 8, 2005. The St. Louis Cardinals beat the Padres 7-4 to finish off the three game sweep of the 2005 NLDS.

On March 18 and 20, 2006, the ballpark hosted the semifinals and finals of the first World Baseball Classic. It also hosted second-round games of the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

On April 4, 2006, Petco Park had its first rainout, postponing a Padres evening game against the San Francisco Giants.[18]

On August 4, 2007, Barry Bonds hit his 755th home run to tie Hank Aaron's record.

Photo taken at the 22-inning game.

On April 17, 2008, the Padres and Rockies played in a 22-inning game, the longest game in Petco Park history. The Rockies won the game 21. It was the longest MLB game in nearly 15 years.

On July 2, 2009, The MLB experienced its first game to be delayed/halted by a swarm of bees at Petco Park in a game between the Padres and the Houston Astros. A small swarm of honeybees took up residence around a chair in left field, causing the game to be delayed by 52 minutes. A beekeeper was called in and the swarm was exterminated.[19]

On June 14, 2010, during a Toronto Blue Jays vs. San Diego Padres game, there was a magnitude-5.7 earthquake, which was centered about 85 miles (137 km) east of San Diego. Play stopped momentarily in the eighth inning. The Blue Jays went on to win 6-3.

Rain delays led to the suspension of the Padres' game with the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 8, 2011. The first delay caused the game to start 28 minutes late. Play was then stopped for over 90 minutes in the second inning and again in the sixth inning for over one hour. The score was tied at 2-2 in the top of the ninth inning when play was finally suspended at 1:40 a.m. PDT April 9. After a fourth rain delay, the game was finished later on April 9, with the Dodgers winning in 11 innings, 4-2.[20]

On April 30, 2012, Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun became the first player to hit three home runs in one game at the park. Braun finished the game 4-5 with three home runs and a triple.[21]

On July 13, 2013, Tim Lincecum threw the park's first no-hitter, for the visiting San Francisco Giants as they defeated the Padres 9-0.

The park hosted the 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.

Other sports

In February 2007, Petco Park became the new host of the USA Sevens, a rugby union sevens event within the IRB Sevens World Series. Previous editions of the USA Sevens had been held at The Home Depot Center in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson. After the 2009 edition, the event moved to Las Vegas.

From January 31 through February 2 in 2014, Petco Park's left-center field was temporarily converted into a red clay tennis court for the Davis Cup tie between United States and Great Britain.[22][23]

In January 2015, Petco Park hosted rounds of Monster Jam and AMA Supercross Championship, as a replacement for Qualcomm Stadium.[24][25]

Since 2015, Petco Park has partnered with Callaway Golf Company to open a par-3 nine-hole golf course within the stadium every first week of November.[26] The holes are built within the outfield while many of the tees are in the upper decks of the stadium.

On December 7, 2015, Petco Park hosted its first college basketball game between the San Diego Toreros and the San Diego State Aztecs as part of the Bill Walton Basketball Festival held in San Diego.[27]


The stadium's first concert came on November 11, 2005, when it hosted The Rolling Stones.

On November 4, 2008, Madonna performed her Sticky and Sweet Tour at Petco Park. This marked the first time in 23 years that Madonna brought a tour to San Diego since The Virgin Tour in 1985. 35,743 fans were present.

Season 11 auditions for the singing reality-television program American Idol were held at Petco Park on Friday, July 8, 2011.[28]

American Idol auditions at Petco Park, July 8, 2011

On October 28, 2011, Swedish DJ, remixer, and record producer Avicii and Canadian progressive house and electro house producer Deadmau5 played at Petco Park.

In 2011, the Food Network filmed a "Chairman's Challenge" at Petco Park that was to air as part of Season 4, episode 2 of The Next Iron Chef.

On September 28, 2014, Paul McCartney played before a sell-out crowd of over 45,000 fans during his Out There Tour. This marked his first official appearance in San Diego since performing with Wings at the San Diego Sports Arena in 1976.

On May 24, 2015, the Rolling Stones kicked off their Zip Code Tour at Petco Park.

On August 29, 2015, Taylor Swift played to a sold out crowd of 44,710 as part of The 1989 World Tour.


Petco Park has been one of the most extreme pitcher-friendly ballparks in the majors since its opening. Following the conclusion of the 2012 season, the Padres announced that they were moving the fences in to make this ballpark more favorable to hitters than it had been previously. The left-center field wall was moved in from 402 feet to 390 feet, the right-center field wall was moved from 411 feet to 391 feet, and the right field wall was moved in from 360 feet to 349 feet. In addition, the visiting team bullpen was moved from foul territory in right field to behind the left-center field wall, right behind where the Padres bullpen is. The right field wall was also lowered from 11 feet to 8 feet, and the out-of-town scoreboard was relocated.[29]

After the conclusion of the 2014 season, more renovations to the park commenced. These include a new HD video board, slight changes to the distance to the left-field fence, and removal of some seats in the middle deck (which were replaced with standing-room seating). The alterations, including the new video board, were completed by Opening Day 2015.[30]


Petco Park from the outside.

Petco Park can be seen and can even be entered in the video game Midnight Club 3 in the city of San Diego.

Petco Park and Fenway Park were visibly fused together to create "Greenway Park" in Call of Duty Ghosts.

PETA protest

During the construction of the stadium, the Padres offered fans the chance to purchase bricks outside of the concourse and to dedicate them.

Soon after this, PETA attempted to purchase a brick to protest Petco's treatment of animals (PETA and Petco have a long-standing dispute over this matter), but the first two attempts were denied. Undeterred, PETA succeeded on its third attempt by purchasing a brick which read "Break Open Your Cold Ones Toast The Padres Enjoy This Champion Organization." When one reads the first letter of each word, it forms an acrostic which reads "BOYCOTT PETCO." The Padres decided to leave the brick there, saying not enough people walking by would notice the secret meaning.[31]

Comic-Con International

Due to lack of space in the Convention Center, Comic-Con International and other companies associated with entertainment were allowed hosts activities inside Petco Park. These include parties, panels, award ceremonies, most notably Nerd HQ in 2013 and 2014,[32] and the annual Zombie walk which began in 2012.

Features and design

The interior of Petco Park with the San Diego skyline (and ongoing downtown construction) in background.
Petco Park, as seen from 1000 feet overhead

Petco Park differentiates itself from many other Major League ballparks built in the same era by eschewing "retro"-style red brick and green seats. The stadium is clad in Indian sandstone and stucco; its exposed steel is painted white and the 40,162 fixed seats are dark blue. The design is meant to evoke the sandy color of San Diego cliffs and beaches, the blue of the ocean, and the white sails of boats on the nearby bay.[33]

Architects Populous (née HOK Sport) and Antoine Predock's design pulled restaurants, administrative offices and other amenities away from the seating bowl itself into other buildings surrounding the bowl. As a result, the ballpark's concourses are open not only to the playing field but also to the surrounding city. Unlike many outdoor ballparks, in which the batter faces northeast, at Petco the batter faces due north, and fans in the grandstands are treated to a view of San Diego Bay and the San Diego skyline beyond the left field seats, as well as a view of Balboa Park, which contains the San Diego Zoo, beyond center field. The San Diego Union-Tribune honored the ballpark in 2006 with an Orchid award for its design.[34]

The official address of Petco Park is 19 Tony Gwynn Way, in honor of the eight-time National League batting champion who wore that uniform number during his entire major league career with the Padres. A 10-foot (3.0 m) statue of Gwynn was unveiled on the stadium grounds on July 21, 2007.

A view from a nearby building shows the Park at the Park (right) beyond the outfield fences.

The Park at the Park, a grassy berm sloping above the outfield fence, is open during game time, allowing fans to sit and watch games for $10.[35] When no games are being played, the Park at the Park serves as a free local park for area residents. An unusual feature that Petco Park once had is the home team bullpen is located behind the center field wall while the bullpen for the visiting is in foul territory in right field. However, both bullpens would be behind the center field wall after modifications to the ballpark are made prior to the start of the 2013 season. As of the 2012 season, the Park at the Park area also plays host to a semi-permanent stage used by the Padres' new broadcaster, Fox Sports San Diego, for pre-game and post-game programming.[36]

A 30-by-53-foot (9 m × 16 m) LED video board from Daktronics, dubbed FriarVision, offers high-resolution replays and graphics, even in direct sunlight.[37] Atop FriarVision in the left-field stands is a 34-by-80-foot (10 m × 24 m) Matrix scoreboard displaying animation and cheer graphics, lineups, stats, and game information. Along the upper concourses are LED fascia video boards showing animation and graphics. The one along the first-base side is 3 by 236 feet (1 m × 72 m) while the third-base side is 3 by 252 feet (1 m × 77 m).

The Western Metal Building as seen during a game.

The Western Metal Supply Co. building, a hundred-year old brick structure that had been scheduled for demolition to make way for Petco Park, was saved and incorporated into the design of the ballpark. The building was renovated and contains the team store, private suites, a restaurant and rooftop seating. The southeast corner of the building serves as the left field foul pole, and is protected by a strip of bright yellow angle iron.

Fans in concession stands, in bars, restaurants or wandering the stands can watch the action on 244 high-definition TV monitors and an additional 500 standard-definition TVs. More than 500 computer-controlled speakers throughout the park deliver the sound as a "distributed signal", eliminating the audio delay from a central bank of speakers, such as the system at Qualcomm Stadium. Four stationary cameras, one roving camera and use of six Cox-TV cameras provide videos for the park's screens.

Petco Park has been described as being an "extreme pitcher's park". During the 2005–06 offseason, Padres CEO Sandy Alderson adjusted the dimensions in right-center field in an attempt to make it more hitter friendly.[38] At the end of the 2008 season, Petco Park ranked 29th in hits and 30th out of 30 in home runs per Major League ballpark.[39][40]

Every time the Padres hit a home run, a ship's whistle is sounded and fireworks are shot off in center field. Beginning with the 2011 season, four torches were added to the center field wall that light up when the Padres hit a home run. The ship's whistle is a recording of the whistle of the Navy's USS Ronald Reagan, a nuclear aircraft carrier that was ported in San Diego.[41] However, the USS Ronald Reagan was officially ported in Bremerton, Washington, on January 10, 2012, to undergo repairs that took approximately 12 months.[42]

There are a total of 5,000 club seats and 58 luxury suites at the ballpark.


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  16. "Baseball Hosts Aztec Invitational At PETCO Park". San Diego State Department of Athletics. March 11, 2004. Retrieved October 27, 2011.
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  22. Petco Park temporarily turned into a tennis stadium for Davis Cup tie Sports Illustrated, 30 January 2014
  23. PETCO PARK CONFIRMED TO HOST USA V GB CLASH Davis Cup, 13 November 2013
  24. Petco saved Supercross, Monster Jam shows The San Diego Union-Tribune, 9 May 2014
  25. Supercross comes to Petco Park The San Diego Union-Tribune, 6 February 2015
  26. Golf Magazine, 15 October 2015
  27. SDSU, USD venture into ballpark unknown The San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 Dec 2015
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Petco Park.
Events and tenants
Preceded by
Qualcomm Stadium
Home of the
San Diego Padres

2004 present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
World Baseball Classic
Final Venue

Succeeded by
Dodger Stadium
Preceded by
Home Depot Center
Home of
USA Sevens

2007 2009
Succeeded by
Sam Boyd Stadium
Preceded by
Great American Ball Park
Host of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game
Succeeded by
Marlins Park
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