The New York Red Bulls have announced a series of upgrades to Red Bull Arena ahead of the start of the 2020 Major League Soccer (MLS) season, the latest step in a multi-year plan to enhance the fan experience at the stadium.

The Red Bulls commence their 2020 campaign with a home match against FC Cincinnati on Sunday. In December, Red Bulls announced plans to introduce a safe-standing area at Red Bull Arena in time for the 2020 season, and the team has now detailed a wave of other improvements.

The Red Bulls and Heineken have furthered a long-standing partnership with the opening of the Heineken Deck on the Northeast Concourse. The premium space creates an elevated sports viewing and bar experience and will be installed in an open-concept area behind section 124 of the 25,000-capacity stadium. Heineken has been the official import beer of the Red Bulls since 2015.

Additional renovations will also be made to the midfield premium spaces at Red Bull Arena. A total of 500 seats will be upgraded between the club sections of 108 and 111, and all of sections 109 and 110, and a new social viewing space will be created above the club sections of 109 and 110. The renovations to the midfield premium areas will be completed early in the 2020 season.

Honda, an official marketing partner since 2017, will open a deck in sections 228 and 229, with upgraded seating and branding. The space will be utilised for larger groups. The Honda Deck is expected to be open for March 28, when the Red Bulls host Orlando City SC.

The organisation will also install new high-definition field boards and replace the speaker system on the concourse to better keep fans engaged while they move around the arena. The full audio system within the arena will be replaced in 2021.

The Red Bulls and Securitas will introduce new state-of-the-art metal detectors at all gates. The walk-through magnetometer scanners, already in use at MetLife Stadium, home of NFL teams the New York Giants and Jets, will allow for expedited security screenings, speeding up entry into Red Bull Arena.

The Red Bulls will also introduce SafeTix to their mobile ticketing platform to make mobile ticketing more secure for fans. Tap and Go entry will be available from tickets stored in a smartphone wallet. ‘Red Members’ will also be provided with wristbands that have their section number printed on them, allowing access to their seats without pulling up tickets on their phone once inside the arena.

Concessions partner Delaware North will roll out a reusable souvenir cup program this season, with options for free refills for a single-game or full season, at food and beverage locations throughout the stadium.

In January, Red Bull Arena moved to LED lighting throughout the interior of the building. The energy-efficient lights will reduce the amount of electricity used in the arena by 30%. Delaware North’s transition away from bottled soft drinks will seek to greatly reduce the amount of plastic used at Red Bull Arena.

The multi-year investment to improve Red Bull Arena last year saw the installation of new, dynamic video boards and mobile-only ticketing. The video boards were nearly twice the size of the original boards at Red Bull Arena.

“Entering Red Bull Arena’s 11th season, while celebrating MLS’ 25th anniversary, fan experience remains at the heart of our decision making,” said Red Bulls general manager Marc de Grandpre.

“We’re very excited about the improvements we are making to the arena, which are driven by fan feedback and intended to improve the gameday experience, from shorter lines to more social gathering spaces. This is the next step in a multi-year plan to make sure we continue to provide the best possible in-stadium experience to the most passionate fans in sports.”

Image: New York Red Bulls