By Matt Vensel
The Baltimore Sun
1:25 PM EDT, August 6, 2013
After hammering away throughout the offseason on renovations to M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens unveiled the upgrades to fans and media Tuesday morning, five days before the team will hold an open training camp practice at the stadium.
Fans entering Gate A and D will be greeted by a high-definition video board, which will show live game broadcasts and Ravens highlights on game day. Once they get inside, they will see that the lower concourse has undergone an aesthetic overhaul.
Accent lights give the lower concourse a purple hue -- or any other color the team chooses, depending on the event. Brick and steel have been added to the interior, giving the concourse the feel of the M&T Bank Stadium exterior and Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The concession stands and team retail stores have a new look, too.
“We want our fans when they walk into the stadium and see this big video board down here in the concourse, and they see all the brick and the steel and some of the new artwork and new lighting, to feel this is a special place,” Ravens team president Dick Cass said. “It now has the feel of a much newer stadium.”
And with the walls lit up by purple lights, the new black signage on the shops and concession stands, and the large photos of players, such as Terrell Suggs and Michael Oher, hanging above the entrances inside the lower concourse, there is no mistaking that you are entering the Ravens’ home stadium.
“It looks more purple,” Cass said. “By bringing the brick inside the building and the steel trusses inside the building, it has the feel of the exterior of the building, and I think that’s important.”
The Ravens have called M&T Bank Stadium their home for 15 years and hadn’t made any major changes to the concourse. Cass acknowledged that it “was looking tired and out-of-date.”
Besides the aesthetic changes, the Ravens have also improved the technology inside the shops so that the cashiers can process transactions more quickly and get fans back to their seats faster.
Inside the stadium's inner bowl, the Ravens added four new LED video boards -- one placed on each side of the main video boards above each end zone -- to enrich the game-day experience by providing fans with out-of-town scores and highlights and fantasy football players with stats from games across the NFL. New LED ribbon video boards also stretch the whole way around the inner bowl.
“We wanted to have that be more interactive so we could put more in-game stats, more scores from teams around the league, help our fantasy football fans,” Cass said. “So I think it will benefit the fans. We’re going to make a real effort this year to have more information on both the big boards and those new LED boards in the seating bowl.”
The renovations were the first phase of a two-phase plan to renovate M&T Bank Stadium. The project, which is scheduled to be completed next year, will cost $35 million and is funded by the Ravens with contributions from Aramark, who runs the concessions in the stadium. The next phase will be renovating the upper concourse and it is scheduled to begin next spring.
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