Design & Development

M&T Bank Stadium set for $430m renovation project

NFL franchise the Baltimore Ravens has unveiled plans for a $430m (£343.2m/€398.7m) redevelopment of M&T Bank Stadium as it seeks to retain the venue’s status as one of the best fan experiences in the league.

Seeking to enhance the gameday and year-round fan experience at M&T Bank Stadium, the three-year project will run from 2024 to 2026. The stadium enhancements aim to provide opportunities for fans to enjoy new experiences on gameday, while also enriching elements that are currently enjoyed.

In addition to substantial developments on the exterior plaza areas, every level of the venue will undergo renovations with the goal of completely transforming the stadium experience for all. Yesterday’s (Tuesday’s) announcement came after the Ravens in January extended its lease deal to play at M&T Bank Stadium for at least the next 15 seasons, until 2037.

The agreement includes two five-year options to extend the lease beyond 2037. At the time, it was stated that Maryland Stadium Authority, owner of the venue, would continue to work closely with the Ravens to ensure M&T Bank Stadium is upgraded to remain a “best-in-class” facility in terms of safety, amenities and fan experience.

The Ravens will utilise a projected $430m of the $600m of state funds allocated for stadium renovations. In May, Maryland’s Board of Public Works approved a request from the Stadium Authority to issue $450m in bonds to fund the improvements.

Sashi Brown, Ravens president, said in a statement: “In connection with the extension of our lease, we are grateful to partner with the State of Maryland and Maryland Stadium Authority for this significant investment. M&T Bank Stadium is not just home to the Ravens, but it’s an epicentre of excitement, opportunity and Maryland pride. 

“Our team has designed exciting renovations that will elevate the gameday experience for every Ravens fan. As part of these renovations, we are also making important infrastructure investments to secure the stadium’s long-term viability.

“This renovation program positions M&T Bank Stadium as a venue that will continue to provide Ravens fans with one of the best gameday experiences in all of sports, while also attracting world-class concerts and other live events to Maryland.”

Rich Tamayo, the team’s senior vice-president of stadium operations and guest experience, added: “These upgrades will not only enhance fan amenities, convenience and engagement on gameday, but they’ll help our venue become a viable entertainment option 365 days a year.

“Though our stadium is already considered by many to be top-of-line, we must remain cutting-edge and captivating. While these upgrades will be transformational, they’ll also preserve the original design aesthetic, feel and character that Baltimore fans love about the Camden Yards Sports Complex.”

The Ravens are working on the scheme with architecture partner Gensler. Along with a new South Plaza that will feature a flagship retail store, the following projects are scheduled over the coming years:

The Gatehouse (2024)

Acting as a gateway to M&T Bank Stadium, the Gatehouse will offer two levels of social space for fans to experience before, during and after every home game. With a “sports bar vibe”, fans will be able to enjoy drinks and socialising on the main floor while surrounded by video screens, or they can take in sights from the rooftop deck while taking in a city view.

The Blackwing (2024)

Situated just below the club level along the Ravens’ sideline, The Blackwing features 10 individual suites all connected to a private club. This experience includes concierge service, high-end food and beverage options, mixologists at the bar, featured cocktails, a special selection of bakery items from a pastry chef and more. Members of The Blackwing will have access to the exclusive club on non-gamedays, as well.

North Plaza (2025)

Serving as the ‘grand entrance’ to M&T Bank Stadium, the revitalised North Plaza will feature two large structures flanking the gates. The west structure will include an open-air tailgate and concert venue with three levels of viewing, a main stage, and an indoor sports bar on the main level that is intended to become the stadium’s premier pre-game destination.

The east structure will feature a 7,000 sq. ft retail space with a second-floor hospitality area that prominently features key pieces of Ravens artifacts and memorabilia. This new plaza experience also aims to provide an ideal location for events throughout the year.

Upper Concourse (2025)

Concourses on the Upper Level of M&T Bank Stadium will expand in multiple areas, providing fans in “The Perch” additional space to enjoy unique food offerings and pre-game parties, along with the best views of Baltimore on gameday.

South Club (2025)

An ultra-premium field-level club with unique team access, the South Club will offer a lounge-like atmosphere to seat holders, as well as individual and corporate members. The space will provide an exclusive view of the Ravens’ player tunnel at the 50-yard line, allowing members to watch the team take the field for pre-game warmups, in addition to offering the ability to view live head coach and player post-game press conferences.

North Club (2025)

This elevated club experience at field level will offer guests, both with seats and memberships, convenient access from the main concourse. Situated at the 50-yard line, there will be a limited number of field seats available, while all members will enjoy a social sports bar area with seating, screens, and climate control throughout the game.

West End Zone Club (2025)

This field-level space offers a new club experience to fans who want to add a premium option to their gameday through an End Zone Club membership. The club will be home to two featured bars, with premium food and beverage. The club will operate both before and after the game.

West End Zone Suites (2025)

Suite holders can take in the game from two rows of seating directly on the field in the west end zone of M&T Bank Stadium. Guests will not only have access to the West End Zone Club, but they’ll be able to enjoy a social suite experience with a private suite, as well as access to a members-only social area outfitted with bar and food service stations before, during and after the game.

M&T Bank Stadium is now in its 25th season, with its last major project being a $120m team-funded venture back in 2019 focused on the delivery of two 4K ultra-high-definition video displays. In a Q&A on the team’s website, Brown said renovating M&T Bank Stadium made more sense than potentially exploring a new venue.

He said: “The stadium was built for $240m. We subsequently invested $250m into the stadium. There was no lease or contractual obligation for us to do that; it was just the right thing to do.

“There’s really a nice story about the return on the investment when you look at the amount of admissions, sales taxes, revenues generated from the stadium, even before you get to all the ancillary hotel rooms and restaurants filled up.

“Directly looking at these stadiums built in the 90s, they have nice returns. It’s a different proposition when you’re trying to build a $2bn stadium. That’s one of the reasons why, when we stepped back and looked with the MSA, that it would make a lot of sense to make an investment in this building to keep it fresh and new and people feeling great about it so you don’t get to that point where it just doesn’t make sense to invest in the building anymore. We’re on the opposite end of that.”

Brown said a roof structure was also explored for the stadium, but for now the venue will remain an open-air experience. He added: “We looked at options for not a dome, but for options covering the seating bowl.

“With the way construction prices and costs have gone, it was prohibitively costly to try to anticipate. We think the best impact that we could have on the fan experience are the projects that we chose, obviously. But it was something we explored. We will continue to look at it, but it’s just a massive, massive investment. And ultimately it’s not perfect.”