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By ESPN Staff

Red Bulls announce changes to stadium redesign

SECAUCUS, N.J. -- The New York Red Bulls redesigned their stadium to cut the number of luxury suites by almost half, remove a concert stage and make sure every seat is covered by a roof, giving it a look similar to major European soccer venues.

The changes announced by the club on Thursday will add to the original $140 million cost announced when the team ceremonially broke ground nearly 14 months ago with Anschutz Entertainment Group, but Red Bulls general manager Marc de Grandpre would not specify further, saying only that it would cost "more."

The redesign will reduce the number of suites from 52 to 30, move the first row of seats within 21 feet of the touchlines, and install a 130-foot wide roof around the entire facility -- the last 60 feet of which will be translucent to allow more light into the stadium.

"Red Bull Park was redesigned to be more in line with soccer facilities worldwide," de Grandpre said.

The stadium in Harrison, across the Passaic River from Newark, will have its capacity increased from an originally estimated 20,000 to 25,189. Although ground was broken in September 2006, construction has been delayed because of site cleanup and other problems.

Construction is to begin in earnest in December with completion set for 2009, a year behind schedule.

Austrian Energy drink maker Red Bull bought the MetroStars from AEG last year in a $100 million deal that included $30 million for the team, $45 million for a half interest in the stadium and $25 million for stadium naming rights for 10 years. Red Bull, which also bought SV Salzburg and rechristened the club Red Bull Salzburg in 2005, then renamed the MetroStars after its signature brand.

AEG, which also owns the Los Angeles Galaxy and Houston Dynamo, had begun the process to build a stadium when it owned the MLS club from 2001-2006. In line with other MLS clubs who have constructed facilities for their teams, the Red Bulls stadium originally was expected to include a concert stage to be able to stage a variety of events.

Two weeks ago, Red Bull purchased AEG's stake in Red Bull Park for an undisclosed sum.