Ways to Improve The Fan Experience at NFL Stadiums

Fans

The NFL may soon be forced to navigate unchartered waters – filling NFL stadiums.

As costs for tickets continue to climb; concessions carry gaudy profits; parking fees spiral upward; traffic bottlenecks after games challenge one’s sanity; queuing into the stadium is borderline ridiculous; and bathroom lines force you to miss big chunks of the game, fans are beginning to question the value to live games.

Is the juice worth the squeeze?

Meanwhile watching games at home not only represents dramatic savings, the viewing experience is infinitely better with the advent of HDTV and NFL Redzone.

No lines, no traffic, better food, cheaper food, beer – ditto, the list goes on…

If there’s a game tailor made for television it’s football.

Add it all up and then mix in the inconveniences that stem from unruly fans who do exactly what PA Announcer Bruce Cunningham implores everyone not to do before each game and the argument for staying at home grows even more compelling.

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So what will the NFL do to enhance the fan experience at games?

Here are a few suggestions and we welcome yours.

  • Give away a free coke and hot dog to each ticket holder who enters the stadium 1 hour or more prior to kickoff
  • Equip each row of seats with phone chargers every 4 seats
  • Boost the cell signals so that text messaging isn’t all jammed up
  • Install a free Mac Daddy Wi-Fi network that isn’t password protected
  • Place TV’s in the bathrooms to reduce the discomfort of those unpleasant trips
  • Allow free access via smart phones to the TV broadcast of the games and NFL Redzone

There, problems solved!

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About Tony Lombardi

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. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin...more

40 Raves on “Ways to Improve The Fan Experience at NFL Stadiums

  1. CrabbyPatty on said:

    No better place to be than The Bank on game day! But I do agree with you on many of these points. Bottom line though, high prices. I’ve never really had much problem with unruly fans, they’re usually taken care of pretty quickly. The bathroom lines aren’t normally too long, but they could stand to install a few more commodes, I did miss a punt returned for a touchdown last season. All in all, when going to a game the best thing you can do is prepare for the inconveniences. Tailgate if you can, get your fill of food and beer, and make use of the porta-potties!! Carpool with others you know are attending and split parking. Oh, and bring money. Lots of money!

    • Mark on said:

      It seems that the NFL is cracking down on the tailgating experience. To me tailgating is just as much a part of the game-day experience, perhaps more now for reasons that you stated, as the game itself.

      Generally speaking, all teams, facilitate tailgating.

      Also, lighten up on what can be brought into the stadium.

      Just my two cents and reasons why I go less now.

  2. Tucker: M&T Sec 527 on said:

    Interesting idea to incentivize early arrivall via a concession voucher of some sort. You can tell when when they’re giving something away @ OPACY to the “first 10,000 fans 15 and over” liines are shorter closer to game time. Then again, the reason some folks arrive late is they are tanking up at a tailgate. I noticed that tailgating culture received a pass on your suggested changes list. Isn’t it a source of a lot of the issues like long lines (entry & restroom) and public intoxication. Why do the Ravens encourage tailgating and its attendant over-indulgences by opening the lots so early? Is it the natural cycle of PSL ownership/ season ticket purchase for [relatively] younger participants to discomfort the [relatively] older partipants by over-consumption of alcohol and related elimination functions, standing up on Visiiting teams’ 3rd downs, cheering and all the things that [relatively] older fans used to do until they got sick of the hassles and costs involved and started watching the games at home?

    • JustaslowZ06 on said:

      I’m guessing your of the older generation, one that would remember the Colts and the outdoor insane asylum. So not sure why you’re against tailgating and standing up on 3rd down. But please if that’s how you feel than stay home. The rest of us 70k+ will pick up the slack lol.

  3. john m on said:

    with hotel/food costs for the weekend, maybe soften the blow on ticket prices. I understand supply and demand, but I could take a family of four to a Browns game for the cost of one decent Ravens seat. Quit selling all the seats to ticket-master etc., and let fans buy directly without the mark up!

    • Anonymous on said:

      Browns tickets are cheap because the team is awful! If they made the playoffs on a consistent basis as the Ravens do, trust me, their ticket prices would be the same as ours. I have family in Cleveland and have been to the stadium. The lower ticket prices also reflect the poor and lackluster condition of the stadium. I would never pay higher prices for Browns tickets as the overall experience stinks!

    • Mike M on said:

      All but about 4,000 tickets for the Ravens go to season ticket holders, so there’s only 4,000 tickets sold on a per-game basis, and these go quickly. As to the season tickets, there’s always a waiting line for those who want to buy. Based on results to date, the Ravens are not overpriced (don’t spread that around!); but I understand the point of the article – we COULD have a problem in the future.

  4. JustaslowZ06 on said:

    But to the original article. Just having cell coverage to begin with would be nice. Inside the Bank I’ve never gotten any kind of reception. Add some TVs in the bathrooms. Better and bigger TVs by the concessions. And stop treating smokers like second class citizens.

  5. Rob on said:

    Interesting article as this topic is a hot button for me. First all of the article’s suggestions are really lame and not going to solve anything from the list of negatives about going to games from the onset of the piece. Where the real solutions are going to come from are simply the impact live games has on the wallet. They touted the official review feed on the stadium screens, what they didn’t tell you is it will be a third of the screen with the two sides being ads. The ravens installed the LED ring in the stadium bowl, what you really see is 95% advertisement and 5% Raven oriented programing (that red Verizon ad is still burned into my retinas).

    The NFL and the Ravens, which they will never do is stop charging so much for EVERYHTING! I am also a proponent of reducing preseason and expanding regular season. I hate paying full price for preseason when it is blatantly not the same product. As much as I enjoy all that there is on tap at home with Sunday Ticket, Red Zone Channel, and everything else; I still would rather be watching the Ravens live than anywhere else. I think I manage to go for a cheap as you can: PSL owner, so I pay only face value. Best friend lives walking distance, so no pay for parking. Plenty of tailgaters I know all around…eat and drink as much as possible before entering stadium. Don’t buy anything inside. Enjoy the game, leave.

  6. Mista T on said:

    Sorry Tony, but:

    – Equip each row of seats with phone chargers every 4 seats
    – Boost the cell signals so that text messaging isn’t all jammed up
    – Install a free Mac Daddy Wi-Fi network that isn’t password protected
    – Allow free access via smart phones to the TV broadcast of the games and NFL Redzone

    No, no, no! Implementing these suggestions would be tossing good money after bad. Leave the electronic toys at home! You are there to watch the Ravens play. If your phone battery runs down, bring a spare. Don’t text message during games — you’ll miss the action and just wait until the game is over. Wi-fi? NFL Redzone? for what? The Ravens game is in front of you.

    There are finite funds for stadium investment. They should be used to provide Ravens fans a more comfortable gameday experience, such as:

    – escalators to the upper deck!!! long overdue
    – TVs over urinals to mitigate having to miss the action while standing behind the endless pisser ahead
    – better concessions (despite our crabcake reputation, food at our stadium’s is worst in the NFL)
    – upgrade tailgate lots (running water sinks, flush toilets, trees for shade, grass plots)
    – teach City cops how to control traffic and one-way out all lanes away from stadium
    – improve street system to provide quicker access to freeways
    – ban all non-stadium traffic from stadium cinity before & after games
    – heated areas on concourses to warm up genearl admission seat fans during sub-freezing games

      • Mike M on said:

        BUt why spend MONEY (which the fans pay for) for something like a cell phone charger? Better cell phone repeaters I can sea, but chargers? A WASTE.

        • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

          If they provide access to NFL RedZone and the game broadcast via your cell, chances are it will need to be recharged…hence the suggestion. For me they go hand-in-hand.

  7. BmoreB on said:

    I for one am looking forward to the lap dances provided by the Ravens cheerleaders. If that doesn’t bring more fans to the stadium, nothing will.

  8. RayTheGreat52 on said:

    Better cell coverage? I’m there to actually watch the game. You need to really question if going to a game is even the best thing for you to do if 4 out of 6 of your suggestions are about bettering your cellphone usage.

    • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

      If you don’t think that league highlights, replays and stats, all instantly accessible by a solid wi-fi connection are important to fans today, then you are probably still wondering why your rabbit ear antennae no longer work.

  9. Stuck in KC on said:

    Something that hasn’t been touched on. Upgraded security both in and around the stadiums. A Steelers fan should be able to come to BMore and watch the game in peace without threats of violence just as a Ravens fan should be able to hit up Heinz field and do the same. Heckling is a part of it, no biggy there, but the violence is a whole new level nowadays. THAT is one of the TRUE reasons people are opting to skip the live experience.

    • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

      Great point! I turned down a pretty attractive trip to Cleveland (I know, oxymoron right?) that include HOF and Rock&Roll HOF because I didn’t want to worry about potential confrontations with unruly Browns fans. These are the same fans that tackled an 8 year old Jets fans who wore his colors.

      • Rob on said:

        I went to a Ravens game in Cleveland a fews years back, the game in the rain when Rice and McGahee rushed for 200. I was by myself and walked around like I owned the place. Cleveland fans are harmless and they know it. You made a poor decision.

      • paula on said:

        Cleveland and Philly worse stadiums for other fans. I was hit in the head multiple times in Cleveland – I am a 58 yr old 5′ women – I had to get a cop to get the guy to stop hitting me. I was not even bad mouthing the Browns – just cheering my team. In Philly I wore a Ray Lewis jersey, so i got harassed constantly and the women behind me were threatening to kick me in the head. It was horrible.

    • gregg on said:

      I agree with the complaints by fans from other teams. You have a right to cheer for their team without threat of bodily harm. I attended a game at the Meadowlands once to see the Ravens play the Jets. Sure the fans gave us the raspberry before and during the game . After we won we shook hands. Nice people! Anyone who is drunk and disorderly should be thrown out and expelled from returning.

  10. gregg on said:

    Though I am over 60 and do not use my cell phone for anything but calls, I can see your points regarding cellular coverage since I take my grand children to one game a year with my daughter and her husband. Maintaining contact amongst 70K people is critical. We have tailgated for over 10 years and we love it. However lately the lots such as lot O have been removed from access because of casino parking requirements. Losing the parking spots I think was poorly planned by the city since there was no contingency for the lost spots. The gameday experience around M&T is great However I think of the little guys-the street vendors who were affected. I can walk an extra block from where I use to tailgate at lot O but many fans have been left out and are scrambling still to find spots. I think the tailgating situation should be re-examined pronto.

  11. JWS on said:

    F no oubt many taems very soon will not get sold out crowds.ans that are Raven fans do not get your over all message to the future of fan attendence at many NFL games. Yes the Ravens and several all have waiting list and will continue to seell out all games. But league wide of 32 teams marketing experts say at least 15 teams will not in 5 years!This control freak commissioner wants to blacout home games which likely is tied to his deal wit direct TV to sell their NFL season long package to see all games for a price. It has noting to do with wifi or fan improvements it has to do with prices and this current ecommy.

  12. Fran the Fan on said:

    Tony, here’s a suggestion that I’ve been harping on for years…

    OPACY-type, real-time SCOREBOARD(s) that displays all the scores of the all NFL games simultaneously. You know, like a MLB stadium, like all the MLB stadiums do. The way the Ravens display (or not) the scores of other NFL games is cheaply done and often not in sync with the current score. Take down the annoying Verizon advertisements on either side of the smart vision screens and put some real scoreboards in there. Or…..run them along the LED ring instead of more mindless Verizon advertising. The Ravens have sunk a reported $70 million into concession and gate improvements, some of which have dubious value, i.e., the large TV screens that face toward the gates and outside the stadium. Now THAT was a touch of brilliance.

    Another gripe….the pregame ceremonies and half-time “activities” need a serious make-over. After well over a decade of watching and listening to pregame ceremonies that have grown old and tiresome, I now rarely hit my seat until just before the National Anthem. Keep it patriotic by all means, but let’s change it up by using some new music and, while we’re at it, have different singers for the anthem over the course of the season.

    And, has everybody noticed how the bowl empties like a flushing toilet at halftime? Why sit in your seat when there’s nothing to watch? Sorry, I’m not a big fan of the Marching Ravens. Often I can’t tell what they’re playing and, when I do, I find it to be musically lame. And I’m annoyed that they get lower bowl seating GRATIS. The high school passing contest is nice for the participants, but adds no real value to the fan. Here’s a hardly novel idea: Get some college bands in to play halftime. The Colts did it for years at old Memorial.

    Other comments on this blog have worthy ideas such as escalators and TVs in the bathrooms and they are great. Speaking of the bathroom lines, here’s a hint to reduce the congestion in the men’s restrooms. Dump the urinals and install troughs.

    I’m sure that Ravens fans are not alone in their complaints. How would you like to attend a game in a cesspool (literally at times) like the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum? The problem is, the NFL is an Oligarchy pure and simple, who’s monopolistic business practices are protected by Congress. No meaningful changes will be made to the fan experience until the owners get hit where it hurts. In their wallets.

  13. Real Fan Dan on said:

    Just a small thing that costs no money ;-)

    Give us a break here and there from the near constant music so the Fans can do their own cheers.
    15-30 seconds of no music after the Band plays the Fight Song after scores, and the R-A-V-E-N-S cheer will go around the Stadium, much like the C-O-L-T-S cheer did in Memorial.

  14. Otis on said:

    Upgraded Security for fans of other teams? Everyone knows you don’t wear your jersey in the opponents stadium! You are responsible for your own risks, as a Ravens fan I would never wear my jersey in the opponents stadium!

  15. Tikkiman34 on said:

    For the most part attending a Ravens game is a great experience. However, all it takes to ruin the experience is to have someone who is hammered sitting in front/behind you. For the most part the ushers are pretty good at handling it. And if they can’t the police are pretty quick to get involved. One suggestion forget the coupon for a free coke how about stop treating the fans like criminals, (pat downs before you go in, metal detectors scans, and a silly plastic bag policy) and let them bring some food and drinks in there (OOOPS-NFL profit alert warning has just been set off).

  16. Eddie on said:

    I’m serious, GET RID OF GOODELL!! He’s the one who started all of this charge more sh-t , and get less then what you pay for

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