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Everything you need to know about the Ravens home opener: Traffic, security, new foods and more

Several members of the Baltimore Ravens front office talks about the three-year $120 million enhancements at the stadium. Improvements to the club level of M&T Bank Stadium.
Several members of the Baltimore Ravens front office talks about the three-year $120 million enhancements at the stadium. Improvements to the club level of M&T Bank Stadium. (Kevin Richardson / Baltimore Sun)

Be early, but not too early: It’s the first game, and that’s exciting. And of course you want to beat traffic. The lots open 4½ hours before kickoff, so there’s plenty of time to tailgate, but fans won’t be allowed in the stadium until two hours before kickoff.

Safety first: In addition to typical security measures, the Maryland Stadium Authority announced on Aug. 6 that there will be an increased police presence around the stadium in response to the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. During preseason games, this was seen in the number of police stationed around the stadium, but the security process to enter the stadium was the same. There were no specific threats when the decision to increase security was made.

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The Devil’s Backbone: A new bar for Ravens fans age 21 and older opened in the concourse level by Section 126. This is just one of the new upgrades to the food offerings at M&T Bank Stadium. The kitchens were upgraded, and the stadium now offers several new menu items.

Food items (and a self-serve beer market): M&T Bank Stadium has added new locally themed items to the food menu: the Pratt Street Hoagie, featuring pit beef with crab dip, horseradish cheddar cheese and pickled red onion; the Eastern Shore Seafood Salad Sandwich, with shrimp, clams, crab meat, scallops and lobster; the Chesapeake Hot Dog, with crab dip, green onions, corn, scallions and wontons; and Frank’s Buffalo Chicken Burger and Frank’s Buffalo Chicken Hot Dog, both with buffalo chicken dip, Frank’s RedHot hot sauce, ranch dressing and American cheese. In addition, a self-serve beer market called Walk Thru Bru will feature premium beers, local craft beers and self-checkout.

The new Pratt Street Hoagie will be available for Ravens fans at M&T Bank Stadium this season.
The new Pratt Street Hoagie will be available for Ravens fans at M&T Bank Stadium this season.

Lights out: With just one flip of a switch, all of M&T Bank Stadium can go dark or light up. In a project funded by the Maryland Stadium Authority, the stadium installed new LED sports lights, which are more energy efficient. The greater amount of control makes for better lights shows, too.

Walk the Walk: The self-proclaimed “best party this side of the harbor,” the Ravens Walk is the path between Orioles Park and M&T Bank Stadium, with entertainment along it on game days. The Walk, which received enhancements during the offseason, opens three hours before every home game.

Learn the new ticket system: If you don’t know what to expect, getting into the stadium might be complicated. The Ravens completed the enhancements to their digital ticket access control system, which means that fans no longer simply have a QR code to get in. Instead, there is a changing bar code that fans must pull up on their phones.

Going up: Ravens fans can now save their breath for cheering because new escalators and elevators have been installed to help fans get up to the upper level. The project, which added 16 new escalators to the 500 levels, was started in 2018 and the northwest section was finished during the offseason. Ravens president Dick Cass said he hopes it will help longtime season-ticket holders get to the seats they bought when they were much younger. Young fans are welcome to use them, too, or they can get their steps in the traditional way.

Lower the stress of parking: Parking for M&T Bank Stadium lots is sold in advance and is by permit only. If you don’t have one, there are several options. There are over 30,000 spaces in area parking garages and surface lots nearby, and many of them are marked with a Ravens logo. Another option is Parking Panda. The stadium has a deal with the company to allow fans to purchase advance parking. The Ravens also have an option called “Ravens Ride,” which is a bus system that departs from Carney, Jessup, South West and White Marsh Park and Rides, Manchester, Westminster and Owings Mills. For those who want to get some exercise, there is a designated bicycle parking area. There are also multiple public transportation options. Click here to find out what works best for you.

New rules, same game: The preseason highlighted one of the biggest rule changes: the pass interference replay review. Now, both offensive and defensive pass interference calls are reviewable and a flag doesn’t have to be thrown for officials to review it. There is a one-year trial period for this rule. Another new rule states that only players in uniform can enter the field to celebrate. For a full rundown of rule changes, check out the NFL’s list.

Party in the “Corner Notches”: As part of the three-year, $120 million renovation project, M&T Bank Stadium has suites and party areas built into the four notches of the upper bowl. The club levels and suite levels were upgraded this year.

New "corner notch" video boards at M&T Bank Stadium.
New "corner notch" video boards at M&T Bank Stadium. (Brian Cassella / Baltimore Sun)

Follow your teams, live and fantasy: Last season, M&T Bank Stadium installed four ultra high-definition 4K boards above the notches. These provide in-game and out-of-game stats, and the stadium upgraded them for the coming year.

New numbers, who dis?

No. 29 Earl Thomas III, former Seattle Seahawks safety

No. 44 Marlon Humphrey, cornerback who gave his old number to Thomas

No. 11 Seth Roberts, former Oakland Raiders wide receiver

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No. 21 Mark Ingram II, former New Orleans Saints running back

No. 15 Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, wide receiver who was the Ravens’ first round pick

No. 7 Trace McSorley, former Penn State quarterback drafted in the sixth round

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