Despite the cancellation of the 2016 NFL/Hall of Fame game between the Green Bay Packers and the Indianapolis Colts, which was to kick off the NFL’s pre-season on August 7, HKS Sports & Entertainment Group has released details of the design strategy behind the venue. Hosting the HOF enshrinement, followed by a game, presents a number of challenges for a venue. A release from HKS points to a number of design decisions intended to streamline the process.
A first-of-its-kind permanent stage is embedded into the stadium’s seating bowl at midfield. Typically, a stadium utilizes temporary stage locations at the end zones or in the center of the field. The design of Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, however, enables people to be closer to the stage.
The new stadium is designed to provide a direct, convenient connection to the original Pro Football Hall of Fame, built in 1963. In the past, because of a steep difference in grade, patrons, gold jacket members, performers and VIPs had to walk around or be driven from the Hall of Fame to the stadium. The new design means they can walk from one to the other.
HKS lowered the playing field by 12ft to enable a visual connection to the Hall of Fame. Before that, views of the iconic building were hidden from fans in the stadium behind the stands. Completion of phase-one construction of the stadium provides a literal, functional and visual connection.
Following the 2016 enshrinement weekend, demolition will begin on the rest of the existing stadium. The new, fully completed venue will open to the public during the 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement. The next phase will include: premium environments with suites, clubs and club seats; technology integration; roof terraces; fan concourses and amenities; and NFL standards throughout.
HKS is also designing and creating an expanded destination environment for the Hall of Fame Village. With the Hall as its nucleus and a new stadium to accommodate additional sports and entertainment events, the masterplan envisions the site as a national destination and a regional asset that provides local connectivity to the Canton community.