Eagles' $125M Privately Funded Stadium Upgrades Include HD Videoboards, Wi-Fi
The Eagles plan $125M in privately financed renovations to Lincoln Financial Field over the next two years, including "a seating expansion, two new high-definition video boards, upgraded amenities, WiFi installation, imagery of great moments and players throughout team history, and two new connecting bridges for the upper concourses," according to Zach Berman of the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER. Some of the changes will be completed for the coming season, and "all will be finished" for '14. Entrance gates will be "expanded to alleviate the pregame bottleneck, and concession stands, the Touchdown Club, and suites also will get upgrades." The "bigger changes" will come in '14. The "most obvious will be the two video boards in both end zones with an upgraded sound system, as well as LED end-zone, marquee, and ribbon boards." The north end-zone video board will "stretch 27 feet by 192 feet; the south end zone board will be 27 feet by 160 feet." Eagles Owner Jeffrey Lurie said, "When we built Lincoln Financial Field, high definitions were not really the state-of-the-art video boards." The stadium also will "add 1,600 seats, with 800 in the southwest corner, 600 in the northeast corner, and 200 in the northwest corner." The capacity of the stadium will "stay under 70,000, which the team wanted, to preserve intimacy." Discussions for upgrades started in '10 and have "included research of season-ticket holders, the season-ticket advisory board, and focus groups of fans, as well as surveying architectural firms that have built stadiums since Lincoln Financial Field opened." Gensler & Associates architectural firm and Turner Construction will work on the stadium project. Eagles President Don Smolensk is "overseeing the renovation" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 6/9).
THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT: Lurie said that the upgrades are "essential to prevent the dwindling attendance some NFL teams are experiencing as fans seek the comfort of home with high-definition TVs and in-game graphics they can’t get at games." Lurie: "We really want to maximize the in-stadium experience. For all of us, we grew up loving football from going to games. We recognize that it’s wonderful to watch both in the stadium and at home, and we need to maximize both. It requires the teams to be very vigilant about investing in their relatively new stadiums" (Delaware NEWS JOURNAL, 6/9). Lurie and Smolenski said that the revitalization is a "product of 'fan response' the organization began compiling in 2010." In Delaware, Bob Grotz noted the escalator system for the upper concourse is an "obvious asset." Grotz: "Ditto the bridges that will connect the upper levels. Previously fans had to descend to get to the other side of the stadium" (DELAWARE COUNTY DAILY TIMES, 6/9). Lurie said, "I really appreciate all the work that was done with the fans because they know best. They're the ones sitting there. They've invested a lot of money in season tickets, sponsorships. Over time, that adds up to a lot of investment in a franchise. ... This is a way to really return that investment, make that investment more valuable" (Allentown MORNING CALL, 6/9).
BIG GAME HUNTING? Lurie said that the renovations "were not planned to enhance a Super Bowl bid, but he did acknowledge that they could help his efforts" to bring a Super Bowl to Lincoln Financial Field. CSNPHILLY.com's Reuben Frank noted because of the NCAA Lacrosse Final Four and other events during the offseason, there "wasn’t time for all the improvements to be made in time for this year’s opener" on Sept. 15. Frank noted bridges will be "built connecting the two sides of the stadium, so fans moving from one side to the other will no longer have to take escalators down and back up" (CSNPHILLY.com, 6/9).