The M&T Experience Isn’t Quite The Same

Street Talk The M&T Experience Isn’t Quite The Same

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Unrealized expectations can temper crowd enthusiasm. Losing has the same affect. Consistent winning also heightens the expectations of a fan base that in some ways is now spoiled.

Mix them all together and you get the substandard crowd enthusiasm (for Baltimore anyway) that we experienced at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday.

The number of empty seats to start the game was alarming. Maybe that’s why John Harbaugh opted to take the ball when the Ravens won the coin toss. Blame it on the queuing into the stadium.

But that doesn’t excuse the rather large number of empty seats in the upper deck when the game was still undecided late in the fourth quarter.

The M&T Experience just isn’t quite the same. Hopefully that’s a temporary thing. I guess we’ll soon find out.

The change in atmosphere at the bank did not go unnoticed by the members of our message board. In a thread started by first-string member SHORTTRACK, here’s what a few had to say:

Gates were terrible. Agree they don’t have enough metal detectors. Someone said they had some gates closed, which made the crowds at the open gates worse. The Wi-Fi worked fine for me. Not bad at all. I didn’t really notice any differences for the other stuff. The band still [sucks]. ~ esmd

I like the rock band. The lead guitarist jams.

I entered the stadium later then usual. I use the gate one up from D (just past the suite entrance towards the light rail). It was crowded but I got through in 5 minutes. Then I hang a left up the ramp. Works much better than gate D. The crowd was a little slow warming up but they eventually got in full thro however. Too bad the Defense couldn’t rally. ~ Real Fan Dan

All the gates were a nightmare. I ended up standing in line on the South side entrance opposite the statues. They didn’t have metal detectors, just the wands. WTF was that all about??? I got there the same time I had since 1998 and never had an issue.

I like the rock band. They do a great job. Rock You Like A Hurricane was spot on and the lead guitarist nailed it.

They still need escalators. ~ ERey

The other thing that was nuts is that they had the metal detectors, but told us to hold our phones keys and metal objects in our hands as we walked through the detectors. So….what was the point of the detectors?

If you had a Glock in your waistband, they would never have detected it.

If we have to wait all that time to have a secure experience, at least make it secure. Sunday was the worst of both worlds — no security and no convenience. ~ Hammerhead

– Gate D didn’t seem any different to me. And I had my phone and keys in my pocket. Went through no problem. If those are metal detectors and not non-functioning props, they have a problem.

– Where were the fans? Sparse crowd indeed, and for a home opener in beautiful weather…. not good. I was looking at a solid block of seats in the northwest corner – about 100-150 at least – that stayed empty the whole day.

– Only 2 A-10s for a flyover that was 5 seconds too early. Usually there are 4 planes. Guessing the team pays for these so that is interesting. NOTE: As my boat slip sits at the foot of Martin airport, I see these things taking off and landing ALL THE TIME. It’s not like it’s a big deal to fly them to M&T, which as the crow flies is what, 10 miles?

– First time I can remember in a long time that we won the flip and took the ball.

– The Jon Ogden salute was rather lame. He waved to the crowd during an intermission. I think they could have taken much of the halftime re-living our first HoFer’s career. But Noooo…we had to have the stupid, worn out TOYOTA QB CHALLENGE. I am as fed up with that as I am with Fan Duel and Draft kings commercials.

– Year back, if we lost a game like that the fans would be pissed…cussing down the ramp, kicking cans etc. I saw a bunch of calm, orderly people just walk and many were laughing. Times have changed, people. ~ camdenyard

The Ravens strive to improve the fan experience. What best describes your most recent experience at M&T Bank Stadium?

The block of empty seats in the Northwest corner of the stadium are the visiting team’s allotment. They were turned in on Thursday and nobody bought them. Guess those people on the waiting list for PSL’s aren’t too enthused about buying tickets to opening day!

As for the game experience – my thoughts:

1. I always go in the gate caddy corner to the player entrance adjacent to section 120. I’m not sure of the gate number but it was no different at 12:30 than it is for any other 1 PM game Got in a line about 20 deep, 5-7 minutes later was getting the wand treatment and up to my seats by 1240ish.

2. Wi-Fi connected right up but then locked up multiple times in section 209. Finally turned off the WIFI and had nice ATT 4G LTE the rest of the game (which works great)

3. Spinal Tap? LOL! That band is actually pretty good. But I agree they do appear to be a little cheesy.

4. Speaking of cheesy music, WTF was all the weird random music in between plays? I swear in between a couple plays they started playing something that sounded like Chopin in D Minor. Completely out of place and everyone in my section looked at each other and started laughing.

5. Scoreboard – remember when we were going to get constant scores and stats from other games? Supposedly they were going to dedicate part of the scoreboard or ribbon board? Instead we now get something in-game that appears to be Closed Captioning. Brucie comes on the loud speaker and says, “Forsett on the carry, gain of 2.. It’s third down”. And then the same thing Brucie just said appears in a running text line on the bottom of the scoreboard. Just weird. Give us a rolling out of town scoreboard with stats dammit! It’ll save my phone battery from checking my Fan duel lineups every 5 minutes!

6. The A-10’s arrived early and there were only two of them. When they showed the crew at halftime there was like 8 airmen on the sideline? Guess the budget isn’t there for the full squadron!

7. Brucie went a whole game without Farking up a 3rd/4th down call. It’s a miracle. ~RavenBoy2003

(1) I had zero problems getting through the extra Gate D security at 11:10 am.

(2) Underwhelming fireworks and late but limp two-plane flyover. How about some noisemakers such as the F-18s from Pax River (which routinely fly over Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium) instead of the tired old Warthogs?

(3) Joey the Star Spangled Banner singer doesn’t compare with his predecessor. How about rotate singers?

(4) Horrible music! The worst in 18 seasons. No pick-me-up 70s – 80s stuff to rouse the crowd e.g. AC/DC Thunderstruck, We Will Rock You, Rocky & Gladiator themes. No peppy country, either …. only one Johnny Cash song: Folsom Prison instead of Ring of Fire.

(5) After 17 years, they finally had gotten the out-of-town scoreboard right last season. So, just one season later, they obliterated the out-of-town scoreboard with closed captioning. There’s at least 100 yards of ribbon HD boards on each sidewall of the stadium which could have been used for closed captioning, but they instead chose the small piece of real estate under the big video, to take away the scores?

(6) Those unsold Bengals players’ seats were really obvious. Criticize our fans for not pouncing on them (although they are not well-publicized), but: how about the Bengals players, coaches, team officials and their families – they are supposed to be a playoff contender yet don’t travel the 400 miles?

(7) Dan the Fan — another outstanding shirtless display. What a gut! You make me proud. One suggestion (which I’m sure you have heard a few times): take deep breath, and count 1001 – 1002 between each letter when spelling out “R*A*V*E*N*S”.

(9) For part of the 4th Q, the crowd really got into it. But for 3 + 3/4ths of the game, we were pretty meek. Maybe this is a consequence of the $5 million wasted on upgrading the Wi-Fi (instead of escalators). “Fans” playing fantasy on their electronic toys are obviously not into the Ravens game in front of them. ~ Mista T

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and CBS Sports 1300. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, Guinness, Orange Crushes and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi. More from Tony Lombardi

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