Baltimore Ravens plan stadium upgrades



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Baltimore Ravens to install field level seats Image: Baltimore Ravens

The NFL’s Baltimore Ravens are set to undertake a series of Upgrades to their M&T Bank Stadium home as part of the terms of a new lease agreement.

The Denver Post said the Ravens plan to construct field-level suites near one of M&T Bank Stadium’s end zones, develop fan-friendly plazas outside their gates and move the press box upstairs.

As part of the revamp, new shops and a garage will be added, and work will be carried out to dig out the rest of the stadium’s operations level, so it rings the oval.

The plans were outlined in a copy of the NFL team’s lease obtained by The Baltimore Sun.

An exhibit attached to the new 50-page, 15-year lease, outline steps the club believes will upgrade the 25-year-old, 71,000-seat downtown stadium and extend its life.

The goal is “bringing our fans closer to the action and offering more hospitality so there are more amenities, more food, more spaces for people to socialize,” Ravens president Sashi Brown said.

The lease lists nearly two dozen projects the team plans to collaborate on with the Maryland Stadium Authority, its landlord.
 

The initiatives include:

  • Adding the field-level suites near the west end zone, on the Russell Street side of the stadium.
  • Relocating the press box to near the top of the stadium. The media area, which currently overlooks the field from a sideline above the lower stands, provides some of the best vantage points to game action. Taking its place would be more suites.
  • Adding the fan hospitality areas and retail stores to the north and south plazas and “fan experience elements” to the north plaza that faces Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
  • Replacing or expanding parking Lot E, just south of the stadium, with the parking garage.
  • Digging out the service level — the lowest level, which houses operations equipment and team locker rooms — so it rings the stadium instead of stopping partway around.

 
The next steps are for designers and engineers to map out the projects, which could be adjusted as planning proceeds.

Construction is expected to begin in 2024, after the end of the team’s 2023 season. The lease doesn’t estimate costs, which are expected to total in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Part of the renovations’ aim, according to Brown, is to fulfill spectators’ desire to see and hear a game from the players’ perspective, rather than from suites high above the field. New field-level suites would help do that, and Brown said the expansion of the service level — which connects to the field — could open up additional, unspecified opportunities for fan access.

Brown told Coliseum late last year, “Here at the Ravens our primary focus is on ‘how do we create an awesome game day experience for fans,’ and we have. Not to toot our own horn, but we’ve consistently invested in our game day experience and our fan experience and so we start from a position of real strength. We’re annually rated in the top five or top three game day experiences by fan surveys across the NFL.

“We’re really excited that this renovation programme will allow us to significantly improve the game day experience for our fans and we’ll do that in a number of different ways.

“We will add a North Plaza and build out the plaza on the footprint of the stadium which will have hospitality, will increase our retail store – which right now just doesn’t have enough square footage – and we’ll have 10s of thousands of square feet of new retail space in two areas.”

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