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Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Yucatán’s major-league baseball stadium to get major upgrades

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Upgrades to the Kukulcán stadium will be completed during the off-season and will not impact any scheduled games, according to Gov. Vila. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

The Kukulcán Alamo baseball stadium will get a major-league remodel, fit for the Leones de Yucatán, the league’s reigning champion

The upgrades, which will cost in the ballpark of 500 million pesos, are intended to increase the stadium’s capacity (currently 15,000), as well as improve its bathroom facilities, ticketing area, and other services. 

Mockups of the remodeled stadium also show a new facade as well as large canopies to protect fans from Mérida’s intense heat. 

The Kukulcán baseball stadium was inaugurated in 1982 and has received several upgrades over the years, the latest in 2016.

The state of the Kukulcán stadium has been widely criticized by fans for having an ugly facade and poor infrastructure. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

Earlier: Yucatán Leones upset Monterrey, are Mexican Baseball League champions

But fans complain that these most recent changes were only cosmetic and, in some ways, made the venue even worse, especially when it comes to bathrooms.

The plan to remodel the Kukulcán comes as a final death blow for the Estadio Sustentable project presented in 2021, which was intended to replace it.

This new venue was quietly scrapped due to a lack of support from locals. Neighbors cited insufficient parking as well as a worry it would worsen traffic bottlenecks. 

Until recently, signs showing support for the Estadio Sustentable but rejecting its location could be seen all over Mérida’s north. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

It is unclear if the remodeling of the Kukulcán will include infrastructure that will make it suitable for other kinds of events, as was envisioned with the Estadio Sustentable. 

The announcement of the project by Gov. Mauricio Vila assured fans that the refurbishments would be completed during the off-season and not impact the Leones’ season.

That being said, no start or end date for the project where given.

It is notable that the announcement by Vila was made at Palacio Nacional, right next to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, during his daily televised address known as “La Mañanera.”

López Obrador is a huge baseball fan and has poured considerable resources into promoting the sport.

The recently inaugurated Alfredo Harp Helú baseball stadium in Mexico City is the newest in the country, as well as one of the most modern. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

Vila has been seen cozying up to López Obrador on several occasions during the last month and is one of the few opposition governors in the country who appears to have a good working relationship with the president.

A remodeled baseball stadium for the Yucatán Leones is unveiled at President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s press conference, with Gov. Villa at the chief executive’s side. Photo: Courtesy

Political analysts mostly agree that Vila is preparing to throw his hat in the ring for the upcoming 2024 presidential race, but it is unlikely that he will receive his party’s (PAN) nomination. 

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