Over the next two years, the Ravens will be working to enhance the fan experience at M&T Bank Stadium, with $35 million worth of upgrades to the venue's video boards, concession stands and concourse aesthetics, the team announced Thursday.
"We're competing against the home-viewing experience, so we have to do everything we can do to try to keep improving the gameday experience," Ravens president Dick Cass said. "I think we've done that by introducing high-definition video boards in the stadium, totally revamping the club area. We've done a lot and we'll continue to do that. This is just one more step."
Renovations to the lower concourse will take place this offseason while the upper concourse will have similar work done next offseason. Construction is scheduled to begin in the next seven to 10 days and be completed by the Ravens' first preseason game.
Cass said it will be a tight schedule, but he's comfortable the work will be completed in time. He also said the team is paying for the majority of the upgrades with the Maryland Stadium Authority only possibly contributing to some signage enhancements.
The most noticeable additions will be a pair of high-definition video boards - measuring 8 feet high by 30 feet wide - that will be placed above the stadium entrances at gates A and D. The split-screen boards will be used to show both Ravens and league-wide game action, stats, highlights and messages to fans. They will be viewable from outside the stadium.
Inside, the Ravens will also be replacing fixed advertising signage next to the two main video boards with four LED ribbon displays that will electronically show a wider range of content - from stats to fantasy football numbers to ads.
All 16 concessions stands on the lower concourse will be renovated to integrate an open-kitchen style where fans can see their food being made, and will increase the quality and speed of the service. The four team stores in the stadium will also be enlarged to allow for a greater amount and variety of merchandise. Purchases with credit and debit cards will also be sped up with improved connectivity.
The feel of the two concourses will be altered to fit that of the two-stadium complex, bringing the brick and steel of Oriole Park and the M&T Bank Stadium exterior to the inside of the building. Along with that, purple accent lighting and greater use of the color purple in signage, billboards and decor will be utilized to make sure the building has a Ravens feel.
"What we've done in bringing the brick and the steel inside the building really will warm the building up, but also really give a sense of the Camden Yards experience inside the stadium," Ravens vice president of stadium operations Roy Sommerhof said. "You'll see on the renderings there's a lot of purple. This stadium, you're going to know you're in Ravens country."