Major League Soccer team New York Red Bulls has announced plans to introduce a safe-standing area at Red Bull Arena in time for the 2020 season.

The section will be located in the South Ward of the stadium and the move forms part of an ongoing, multi-year initiative to renovate Red Bull Arena. The South Ward is home to the Red Bulls’ Empire Supporters Club (ESC) and Viking Army.

Trex Commercial Products, which designed and manufactured the safe-standing section at fellow MLS team Los Angeles FC’s Banc of California Stadium, will carry out the project. The Red Bulls will become the third MLS team to introduce a rail-seating system, joining LAFC and Los Angeles Galaxy.

Red Bulls general manager Marc de Grandpre said: “When we looked at where we wanted to upgrade our arena, we quickly came to the conclusion that safe standing for our supporters had to be a top priority.

“As an organisation we strive to create the best in-stadium experience for our fans. Giving the South Ward a proper Supporters Section will provide a better, safer game-day experience, and we know the passion and commitment from ESC and Viking Army will continue to make Red Bull Arena one of the best home-field advantages in MLS.”

Trex’s system includes the option to unlock individual fold-down contoured seats, which are designed to transform the sections back to regular seating for international matches and other events held at Red Bull Arena. Work has already begun to remove the existing seats from the South Ward. Each railing seat will also feature a cupholder for fans.

The South Ward’s Red Seat originally marked the first goal scored at Red Bull Arena and was dedicated to the memory of long-time ESC member Mike Vallo, who passed away in 2015. The Red Seat will be given to the Vallo family and a spot in the new safe-standing 101 will commemorate Mike.

An open standing area will also be created immediately behind the South Ward to allow space for supporters to meet and congregate while maintaining a view of the pitch.

Ahead of the 2019 MLS season, the Red Bulls announced a range of upgrades for Red Bull Arena, including the installation of new dynamic video boards courtesy of Daktronics, a mobile-only ticketing model and cashless trials to create a faster customer experience.

Image: New York Red Bulls