The Eagles have released the details of the $125 million revitalization project already underway at Lincoln Financial Field.
The 10-year-old stadium is undergoing a significant make-over in an effort to enhance the fans’ gameday experience.
“We have had discussions with season-ticket holders over the past couple of seasons to find out what was important to them,” said team president Don Smolenski. “We listened and developed a plan of action. The revitalization of Lincoln Financial Field that will take place over the next two years is a direct result of those conversations.”
Some of the changes will be much more noticeable than others. They include:
HD Video Boards
New high-definition video boards in both end zones along with an upgraded sound system. The boards will have the ability to expand in size (over the advertisements) to accentuate a big moment. LED ribbon-board displays will be placed along each side of the stadium to make it easier to get real-time stats and scores.
Seating Bowl Expansion
An additional 1,600 seats will be added (an estimated 800 in the Southwest corner, 600 in the Northeast corner and 200 in the Northwest corner).
The extra seats will further close in the stadium, which in theory should help keep more of the noise in.
“We’ve been very happy with the sound,” said Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, “but we never want to sacrifice. We want to keep the sound in – that’s big.”
Two bridges will be built in the Southwest corner that will allow fans in the upper concourse to get from the home to the visiting side of the stadium easier. And a new escalator will be built on the west side.
Showcasing Eagles History
There will be images of the best players and moments displayed throughout the lower and upper concourses, as well as the club and suite levels.
Change At the Gates
The three main gate entrances will be expanded so that fans can get into the stadium more quickly. At the Verizon Wireless entrance, you’ll see that the gate is actually being moved to the bottom of the steps.
An integrated Wi-Fi system will be installed that will feature 600 access points that are expected to accommodate 40,000 simultaneous users. Access to Wi-Fi will be free of charge.
Suite And Club Level Enhancements
All of the suites will be refurbished, and will feature personally selected images of the best players and moments in Eagles history. A food market will be installed in each club lounge. And the Touchdown Club will move inside and housed in a 5,000 square-foot space.
The retired numbers will be displayed in the stadium bowl. On the opposite side, banners reflecting team accomplishments (conference and division titles, etc.).
The historical imagery, entrance gate expansion, Wi-Fi system, concession-stand upgrades, Touchdown Club and suite renovations and pro-shop expansions are to be completed for the upcoming season, according to the team.
The video boards, bridges and club-level enhancements won’t be in place until next season.
Why all the changes? Teams are competing with the couch, essentially.
Watching the games at home in HD with quick access to your fantasy scores and the Red Zone channel is good living. The quality of the home-viewing experience “requires teams to be very vigilant about investing in their relatively new stadiums,” said Lurie. “You can let it play out until you are really sort of behind the 8-ball as a stadium; why not take it and be ahead of the curve? That’s what this is all about.”
No public funds are being used for this renovation, according to the team. The money will come from the Eagles, and the NFL will be providing financing support. This project is completely separate from the green initiative (solar panels, etc.) going on at the Linc.
Lurie stated earlier this offseason that he will push for Philadelphia to host a Super Bowl if New York is a success next year. While the renovations aren’t being done specifically with the Super Bowl in mind, the Eagles’ owner knows it can’t hurt their chances.
“When you are bidding for a Super Bowl the committee looks very closely at your stadium, your city, what you can host. Philadelphia would be a great place,” he said.
Leading up to this project the Eagles explored the idea of a retractable roof (and even asked if it was possible to put on a temporary roof if they were to host the Super Bowl). Ultimately they deemed that to be too large of an undertaking.
“And do our fans really want to have a permanent roof? I don’t think so,” said Lurie. “We’ve always surveyed our fans, when we built the stadium, do you they to have a domed stadium? And it was very obvious of course not in Philadelphia.”
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