Stadium upgrades for 2017
The NFL offseason is the peak season for stadium renovations, and several clubs are rolling out improvements for the 2017 kickoff. They include another step in the makeover of Hard Rock Stadium, new video boards for AFC North rivals Baltimore and Pittsburgh, and $100 million in work at the Lions’ Ford Field. Staff writer Don Muret takes a look at what’s new around the league.
The Panthers completed $47 million in stadium upgrades this offseason, highlighted by a complete revamp of the 300 and 400 premium levels. There are new club layouts and bars, plus new midprice terrace suites on the 300 level sold as an all-inclusive ticket package. The 100 level has undergone a facelift with new fronts to concession stands, providing a cleaner look with less clutter, and the elimination of most beer portables. All told, the stadium has gone through $172 million in renovations in the fourth year of a five-year plan. The city of Charlotte is funding most of the project.
The south end zone now contains a new $3 million Daktronics video board spanning more than 5,000 square feet. It’s the newest piece for improving that end of the stadium. Previously, the Steelers expanded the south end with 2,700 new seats, including five suites and 1,500 club seats.
The Ravens have installed new Samsung 4K video boards in both end zones that are twice the size as the old screens. New LED ribbon boards and a new control room are part of the package. The technology upgrades cost $30 million, said Roy Sommerhof, the team’s senior vice president of stadium operations, and kick off a three-year, $120 million stadium renovation funded by the team. Over the next two years, the Ravens will build new elevators and escalators to the upper deck, improve club level concession stands and install a new sound system in the seating bowl.
The $100 million in renovations touch virtually every corner of the stadium and introduce new branded restaurants and bars such as the two-level Comerica Gridiron Club and Miller Lite Taproom, plus the Plante Moran Terrace Suites, all situated on the building’s north side. The loge box-style terrace suites encompass 140 total seats, connected to a communal dining space. Detroit-based Rossetti, the facility’s original architect, designed those spaces as well as upgrades to 125 traditional suites. Improvements extend to new Daktronics video boards and a new Meyer Sound audio system.
The Dolphins are nearing completion of a massive overhaul of the stadium, a $600 million project over the past five years. The most recent renovations focused on upgrading 147 suites, constructing new theater boxes and creating new corner clubs for suite holders. The total number of suites has decreased by 25 as part of a reduction in capacity for the entire building to about 65,000 seats. In addition, there are new party terraces on the 300 level, which are standing room spaces with double-sided bars open to the public. The stadium is now on track for regaining a spot in the Super Bowl rotation.