The countdown is on

Less than one month until the 'Caps move onto Bell Pitch downtown

Less than one month remains until Vancouver Whitecaps FC host Cascadia Cup rivals Portland Timbers in their first match at their new home on Bell Pitch downtown at BC Place. With numerous upgrades and improvements, the excitement is really starting to build for the new stadium. Hitting new milestones every day, more than 1,300 staff are working on the facility, putting the final pieces together of what promises to be a world-class soccer stadium.

The biggest change to the venue – originally built in 1983 – will of course be the new retractable roof, which will turn the stadium into a year-round open-air facility. With support masts each measuring 47 metres tall, the cable-supported roof will be the biggest of its kind in the world and will produce a 100 metre by 85 metre blue sky opening – the same size as the field below. The new roof will create a great deal of energy efficiency as well, saving 25 percent on energy costs (or about $350,000 per year).

This past week, crews have been finishing installing the new Polytan Ligaturf 240 RS+ field. The playing surface has a FIFA 2-star rating, designed to meet their highest standards, and has previously been installed at stadiums such as Red Bull Arena in Salzburg, Austria; Borussia-Park in Mönchengladbach, Germany; and Estadio Nacional in Lima, Peru.

Another enticing new inclusion is a state-of-the-art four-sided centre-hung High Definition video board which will be visible from every seat in the house. Have you heard about the enormous video board at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Texas? Well, this screen will be second only to that one in North America.

Among the other things to look forward to are wider, more modern seats with cup-holders, 1,300 premium Club seats, 50 newly designed and refurbished guest suites, moveable loge seating, and 40 upgraded concessions with expanded menus and faster service.

With the sun beaming down from the sky, and thousands of raucous ‘Caps supporters echoing their chants and cheers throughout the stadium, get ready to raise the roof for a truly spectacular new soccer experience when the club takes on the Portland Timbers on October 2, 2011.