By Amanda Yeager | Baltimore Business Journal
The Ravens put the final touches on a $120 million update to M&T Bank Stadium a couple weeks ahead of the preseason.
In late July, the team showed off the latest results of a three-year renovation project that has already added two massive high-definition video boards, LED ribbon displays, a field-level party suite and new cameras to the 71,000-seat stadium. The most recent improvements, completed during the offseason, include upgrades to the club level as well as 16 new escalators and four new elevators to ferry fans to the stadium’s top level.
The upgrades, paid for by the Ravens, are aimed at keeping the stadium competitive with facilities across the country — and giving fans a reason to show up for games rather than watch them on TV.
“We’re competing with the fans staying at home,” Ravens president Dick Cass said.
Cass spoke from a podium inside the refurbished north club level, where a band of new television screens played sports highlights above a bar. In all, the team added some 220 new TVs and four large, LED video screens on both ends of the north club level. Club-level visitors will also be able to hear everything happening on the field thanks to the installation of a new sound system.
Behind the scenes, the stadium’s kitchens went through an update as well, expanding concessions options.
Cass said the stadium’s video boards, which display both in-game and out-of-town statistics, have garnered the biggest reactions from fans. Adding escalators and elevators was another priority as season-ticket holders age.
Fans who were in their 40s when they first bought their personal seat licenses in 1998 — the year M&T Bank Stadium opened — are in their 60s now, Cass noted.
“It’s a long walk” up the stadium’s ramps, he said. “The elevators and escalators can really make a difference.”
Installing them was “no easy task,” said Roy Sommerhof, the Ravens’ senior vice president of stadium operations. Workers had to demolish existing ramps and install escalators in multiple parts. The project took about 55 weeks to finish.
Recently-installed LED sports lights, paid for separately by the Maryland Stadium Authority, will heighten the drama of game day displays by allowing stadium staff to flicker the facility’s lighting and synchronize it with videos.
“The possibilities are endless from an entertainment standpoint,” said Jay O’Brien, the team’s vice president of broadcasting and game day productions. “When you hear the whole stadium gasp, that’s when we know we’ve done our job.”
Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox
Issue 256: August 2019