The Baltimore Ravens unveiled Tuesday the first installment of a two-year, $35 million investment that enhances the fan experience at M&T Bank Stadium with improvements to video boards, concession stands and all concourses.
The first phase of improvements, which began in March, includes extensive upgrades to the stadium's lower concourse and video boards. The second phase of work, which will target the upper concourse, is scheduled to begin next spring and will be completed in time for the 2014 NFL season.
"We are striving to make the fan experience at Ravens' home games and other stadium events the best it can be," Ravens team president Dick Cassstated. "Our priority is keeping M&T Bank Stadium as the best place for fans to be on game day."
"There is natural wear and tear that comes with every season, and these improvements will certainly benefit our fans and our business," Ravens vice president of stadium operations Roy Sommerhof said.
Two LED high-definition video boards, measuring more than 8 feet high and 30 feet wide, were installed at the concourse entrances of gates A and D. (Approximately 60 percent of fans enter gate A for all stadium events.) These new high-definition boards, which have split-screen capabilities, will display a variety of content, ranging from in-game action, highlights, NFL scores, stats, welcome messaging and entertainment video.
Another dramatic improvement was the addition of four new LED boards – measuring 18 feet high and 18 feet wide – with one each placed on the sides of the two giant RavensVision HD video boards in the stadium's inner bowl. Additionally, four new LED ribbon boards were installed to connect fully around the entire middle seating bowl. The east/west board measures 2.5 feet high and 96 feet wide, while the north and south boards are each 3.5 feet high and over 650 feet long.
"With these boards, we will focus on football features that enrich the game-day experience," Ravens vice president of broadcasting Larry Rosen stated. "Transitioning some of our static signage to LED technology allows us to expand content and provide the entertainment and football information – including scores and fantasy-team statistics – that our fans crave."
The lower concourses were re-designed with a "Ravenized" theme that has been influenced by the brick and steel look of the M&T Bank Stadium exterior and other buildings on the Camden Yards complex. These features include support columns wrapped in brick, purple accent lighting and enhanced directional signage throughout each concourse.
"We've brought the Camden Yards exterior to our stadium's interior," Sommerhof said.
All 16 lower concourse concession stands were completely renovated to improve the speed of service and freshness and quality of food. Stands were not only redesigned, but new cooking equipment was installed to allow for much of the food to be prepared directly in front of fans. Additionally, 34 points of sale were added to speed up the checkout process, allowing fans to return to their seats faster.
The addition of digital menu boards also makes it easier for fans to order food and beverage items, while upgraded condiment counters will provide a wider array of self-serve toppings.
"We're confident the upgrades we've made to the concession stands will further enhance the overall game-day experience at M&T Bank Stadium," said Joe Arena, general manager, ARAMARK at M&T Bank Stadium. "The renovations allow us to offer top-quality food and service, as well as better showcase the menu variety."
Several new items have been added to the menu for the upcoming season, including a Gino's Burgers & Chicken location at stand 109. Additionally, ARAMARK's culinary team created several new signature items exclusively for M&T Bank Stadium for the 2013 season:
New! Chef Inspired Sandwiches
- Old Bay Shredded Chicken Sandwich (Stands 101 and 130) – Beer Braised Pulled Chicken, Sweet Corn Mayo and Tomatoes
- BBQ Brisket Sandwich (Stands 101 and 123) – Shaved 12-hour Smoked Brisket, Caramelized Ketchup Braised Sweet Onions and Aged Cheddar Cheese
New! Signature Burgers (Stands 129, 152)
- Italian Burger with Grilled Genoa Salami, Provolone Cheese, Marinara Sauce, Peppers & Onions
- BBQ Burger with Crispy Onion Straws, BBQ Sauce and Cheddar Cheese
New! Signature Hot Dogs (Stands 103, 115, 124, 142)
- Junkyard Dog with Buffalo Sauce, Bleu Cheese Dressing and a Spicy Celery relish
- Reuben Dog with Sauerkraut, Shredded Swiss Cheese and Thousand Island Dressing
- Backyard Dog with Skillet Beans, Chopped Bacon, BBQ Sauce and Crispy Onion Straws
Club level patrons will find new items such as Chicken & Waffles, Frito Pie, Double Pork Sandwich and Artisan Flat Bread Pizza.
Renovations to upper concourse concession stands will be made prior to the 2014 NFL season.
Specialty areas, such as the lower concourse's Bacardi Zone and Talon Pub, experienced renovations and design upgrades. Two popular destinations for meeting friends prior to and during games, Talon Pub was enlarged and has been reconfigured so it opens to the concourse, while the Bacardi Zone was renovated for ease of access.
All four retail stores inside the stadium were remodeled, slightly increasing the size of each and providing a wider variety of merchandise for fans.
"We've also added more point of sale opportunities in each store," Sommerhof added. "These upgrades will improve connectivity and speed up service for fans who purchase merchandise with credit cards or debit cards."
ARTWORK & SUITE ENHANCEMENTS
Local artwork featuring Baltimore and the Ravens was added throughout the stadium's concourses and interior locations. Beginning in 2014, stadium suites also will undergo upgrades.