All images courtesy of Baltimore Ravens
The NFL’s Baltimore Ravens has revealed details of extensive upgrades to its stadium, aimed at improving the game day experience for fans.
“We are continually looking for ways to make our fans’ home-game experience at M&T Bank Stadium the best in all of professional sports,” Ravens president Dick Cass said.
Enhancements for the 2015 season, which starts with the first preseason game against the New Orleans Saints on August 13, include a US$6.5m investment in an expansive wi-fi system, a revolutionary 3D video system called freeD that shows replays from every possible angle, and new safety measures to ease fans’ entry into the stadium and ensure top-of-the-line security.
“Our good fortune is that every game in Ravens history has sold out, and we want to make sure that continues. We compete for families’ entertainment dollars, and that includes watching our games from the comfort of homes,” Cass explained. “Along with a consistent winning team, we must continue to give fans reasons to come to our home games. These improvements extend our efforts to make Ravens games the best.”
With increased use of mobile devices, fans demand stronger, faster and free wi-fi at stadium events. “We’ve done a lot of research in this area and believe we’ve found the best service for our fans,” said senior vice president of stadium operations Roy Sommerhof of a partnership with Extreme Networks and PCM. Almost 800 access points and antennas, both outside and inside M&T Bank Stadium, have been added to better serve Ravens fans.
This wi-fi project includes a full wired, wireless and management software networking solution from Extreme Networks and a data center built by PCM. (PCM designed the wi-fi coverage model.) The new wi-fi system at M&T Bank Stadium is presented by Verizon.
“Fans use mobile devices as a regular part of their lives. They go to our website for updates, look for videos and play fantasy football. They want the NFL RedZone and more statistics. They want to use their social channels, take pictures and video and let their friends know what they are experiencing. It’s part of a great game day experience. We recognize that,” Cass added.
Sommerhof also revealed that wi-fi coaches, who will be clearly identified, have been hired to roam the stadium, helping fans connect to and receive the maximum usage from the new system.
The upgrades will also see the implementation of a new 3D video system. “Our fans are becoming more and more sophisticated, seeking added insights into our games. With freeD, a company that has created novel viewing experiences, we will have that at M&T Bank Stadium,” Cass noted.
The technology developed by freeD will give Ravens fans unique views of plays by creating a virtual three-dimensional model of the football action. “There’s a ‘wow’ factor with this technology, and fans will be talking about it,” said Jay O’Brien, Ravens director of broadcasting and game day productions.
In a bid to improve safety, metal detectors will be added to most entry points at the stadium this season, with the remainder to be installed in 2016. Along with these detectors, 55 new security cameras have been added to the venue.
“Our goal is to have quick, easy access for the fans coming to M&T Bank Stadium. These detectors will assist that process,” Sommerhof said. “Adding the cameras helps us ensure that all fans can have a great experience when they come to a Ravens game. Those fans acting irresponsibly will be identified, and security will handle.”
Sommerhof also noted that, like all NFL teams, fans can enter the stadium with clear plastic, one-gallon bags to hold belongings. If fans do not have any hand-held items, there are express lanes for even quicker entry. “It’s all about getting our fans into the stadium quickly in the safest environment.”
The Ravens invested in hospitality training for over 1,000 Ravens game day workers this off-season. Among those trained were wi-fi coaches and guest services staff (ushers, security, etc.) from a variety of companies that serve fans, as well as Ravens ticket office, marketing, club and suite level employees.
August 6, 2015