Royal Athletic Park
Royal Athletic Park is a multi-purpose, fully lit stadium in Victoria, British Columbia. It is primarily used for baseball, soccer, softball and football, but often hosts special events, such as the annual Great Canadian Beer Festival.

The land was originally purchased by the city in 1925 and the park underwent a major restoration in 1967 after a large fire. The park has been the home to many different sports teams, most notably including the Victoria Athletics of the Western International League, the Victoria United of the Pacific Coast Soccer League and most recently the Victoria Seals of the Golden Baseball League. From 1 July to 11 July 2007, Royal Athletic Park was one of six host venues for the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup. The stadium hosted Group F, and also featured Japan vs Czech Republic in a Round of Sixteen game.

The park is currently the home of the Victoria United Football Club. Minor-league baseball recently returned to Royal Athletic Park in 2009, when the Golden Baseball League's Victoria Seals took up residency. After only two seasons, the Victoria Seals, however, decided to break their contract with the City of Victoria, and will not be returning for the 2011 baseball season. The park recently lost their main football tenant, the Victoria Rebels to the new City Centre Stadium located in nearby Langford, BC. The park also plays host to the Great Canadian Beer Festival annually each summer.

Layout and design
The park lies on a large rectangular plot --- often the kind of plot used for soccer or football stadiums, but the stadium appears to have been designed as a baseball/soccer hybrid stadium. From above, the stadium looks like a small baseball/softball park, with continuous seating on the south end of the park extending northward about 1/3 of the park's width on the west side of the park. The main baseball diamond (there are two more diamonds located at both east corners used by local amateur teams) is located in the southwest corner, so the north running seating reach the third base line (about 90 feet/30 yards). The park seating is set up in this manner. Along the south sideline starting at the west edge of the stadium, there is a covered, angled, deep grandstand behind home base of the main baseball diamond. Next to it are a series of 4 bleachers with gaps between them. These bleachers extend more than halfway down the length of the football /soccer field. Then there is the main grandstand which is covered, about the width of 3 bleachers, and quite a bit deeper than the bleachers. Then there is another bleacher and then a second, smaller bleacher (about half the width of the other bleachers). Along the Western side of the field extending northward from the smaller "baseball" grandstand are another pair of bleachers, a "full length" bleacher and a second "half length" bleacher. The stadium is surrounded by high-intensity lights on all sides that allow night games. Due to the park's multi-sport use, it's seating choices can seem rather unorthodox and poorly conceived, but it is evident the city intends for the stadium to be accessible to as many different sporting entities as possible. Sadly, as there are a number of nice features of the site, history suggests the stadium is a little bit substandard to host teams of any sport for very long. The design allows for numerous seating capacities, and has accommodated everything from amateur softball to professional baseball games, as well as professional soccer, junior football, international competitions, festivals and concerts, among others. The stadium was recently upgraded with a new $400,000 video scoreboard intended to replace the decades-old minimalist baseball scoreboard. The scoreboard is situated on the northwest side of the park, or just beyond left field using the main baseball diamond configuration. Aside from a large full-colour video screen, the scoreboard also features prominently the name 'Royal Athletic Park' in large, arcing letters overhead, as well as local Victoria Seals sponsor advertisements.

The park has a permanent seating capacity of 4,247. Depending on its configuration and the event, it can hold a larger capacity, often listed as a max capacity of 9,247. Temporary bleachers were added to expand seating for the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup games. (In the above picture, one can see some examples of added temporary seating behind the shorter bleachers on the right half of the picture). An announced total of 14,500 was later altered to 10,500, as temporary grandstands were not erected behind the goal on the east side. .


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