Though I’m of no authority to do so, I thought it would be an interesting topic to ask Ravens fans how they would improve M&T Bank Stadium. There are three areas that I would focus my attention on; pre-game entertainment, ushers and food.
I’ve been to quite a few Raven home games and I can tell you how they all are scheduled. The Ravens come out on to the field for warmups while the same music playlist plays over the speakers.
If you haven’t heard Phil Collins “In the Air Tonight” at a Ravens game, then you’ve simply never been there. After warm ups, the Ravens play “Proud to be an American,” while four Veterans carry the flags to mid-field. Then Mischau Miller sings that National Anthem and the Ravens are introduced to U2’s “Where the Streets have no Name.” Occasionally, when they wear black, “Back in Black” becomes their entrance music. While the pre-game routine isn’t bad, it’s just exactly the same every week. I’d love to get to M&T Bank Stadium and hear new music during the warmups or have them run out to a different song. I’m a pretty Patriotic guy, but I don’t need to hear “Proud to be an American” eight home games a year. All I’m asking for is a little variety from the pre-game routine. There’s a lot of options out there, but if you’ve been to one Ravens home game, you’ve seen how they all start.
You could complain about ushers at just about any stadium. You give a guy an inch and he takes a foot, that seems to be mentality of ushers at Ravens home games. Though I’ve only sat on the lower level a hand full of times, I frequently attempt to visit it for pre-game warmups as it’s a good chance to get close to the players. However, the ushers seem to try to take that chance away from fans. There’s nothing more annoying than being one of the 100 fans in the stadium, standing close to field and having an usher ask to see your ticket. It’s not as though I’m trying to steal someone’s seat, just trying to watch the Ravens on the field over an hour before the game. It becomes a game of cat and mouse where if I’m asked to move, I go up the stairs a move a section over. I’d love to see the ushers pay a little more attention to the drunks fighting each other in 524 during a Steelers game than give me crap for standing down by the field while no one is in the stadium.
In contrast, I was pleasantly surprised during my first Capitals’ game at the Verizon Center. My buddy that I went with told me that we should get there early for pre-game warmups. So we had our tickets scanned, walked down to the lower level and were stopped by an usher. I immediately thought he would tell us we couldn’t go down to the glass, but instead he asked “are you here to watch warmups?” Imagine my surprise when an usher was helping a fan rather than pestering him.
Finally, if you’ve ever eaten at M&T Bank Stadium then you know it’s nothing to write home about. If I do get anything, I find myself eating chicken fingers or a pretzel because there really are no particular foods that stand out. The surrounding area to the stadium is full of a great restaurants. Why don’t the Ravens reach out to them and have a few sponsored venues? I’ve seen this idea implemented down 95 at Nats Park and I think it works beautifully. Giving fans more options than your typical “stadium food” makes them not feel so bad for overspending for lunch and it exposes local businesses to 77,000 people a week.
Overall, M&T Bank Stadium is a fun place to enjoy a Ravens game. If I was asked to improve it, I would change up the routine, asked the ushers to tone it down a notch and spice up the food variety.
How would you improve M&T Bank Stadium?