On Wednesday night, in front of a crowd of about 250 select suite holders and other VIPs, the Detroit Lions revealed some of their plans for the Ford Field renovations expected to be ready for the 2017 season.
Chief among those plans is a brand new video board. Expected to measure 39.5 feet high and 152 feet wide, it’s more than double the size of the previous video board according to the team’s press release. Kirk Phillips, the lead designer for the many of the renovations, said the size of the board will have them competing with the Dallas Cowboys’ iconic jumbotron, which measures 160 feet in width—though the height of Dallas’ scoreboard dwarfs the new Lions video board: AT&T Stadium is home to a screen that measures 72 feet high.
“[The Lions] were 26th in size of the video screen,” Phillips said. After the changes? “They’re going to be comfortably in the top 10.”
That’s a huge jump for the Lions, and according to team president Rod Wood, the breathtaking new displays will be “virtually triple” the size of the boards from last year.
Flanking both end zone video boards will be four additional screens that will both work with the main video screen and provide supplemental information like statistics, live video, replays and other graphics.
Additionally, Ford Field’s iconic columns will now feature video displays to provide additional information, statistics and graphics.
The updates to the video board are just one aspect of several big changes coming to the Lions stadium this offseason in what the team is dubbing “The New Ford Field.” These renovations are the first major changes to the stadium since Ford Field opened in 2002.
Another big focus of the renovations is giving the premium-level stadium seating a more modern, lounge-like look.
Rod Wood on changes to premium seating: "There is not a square foot of premium space in the building that is not being completely redone."— Pride Of Detroit (@PrideOfDetroit) February 16, 2017
Additionally, the Lions will be overhauling their audio equipment, introducing several new food and drink options for premium level seating and new design choices across the entire stadium.
This is a massive undertaking for Ford Field and the Detroit Lions: they haven’t made significant changes like this to the stadium in nearly 15 years. Typically, these type of upgrades are completed over the course of a few years. As Dan Miller—the play-by-play voice of the Lions—pointed out, both Baltimore and Carolina’s stadiums recently underwent very similar renovations that took two to three years to see through to completion. The Lions have an eight month window for construction before August’s preseason games.
“It’s a tight time frame,” Wood said. “Every day counts.”
The news of these renovations come on the heels of prices to season ticket holders seeing an increase. The cost of a Lions ticket went up 2.8 percent on average, which should help pay for the renovations. Wood estimated the bottom line for the stadium’s renovations to cost $100 million.