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In 2011, the Baltimore Ravens were looking for an unofficial anthem to fire up the crowd during key points of the game. After receiving hundreds of selections, the players narrowed the list down to a final five for the Ravens fans to choose from; ultimately, the fans selected The White Stripes classic “Seven Nation Army” as their anthem. Ever since, it’s been impossible to attend a Baltimore sporting event without hearing the popular hook during games.
M&T Bank Stadium (capacity 71,008) opened in 1998, and was the direct result of Art Modell and the original Cleveland Browns moving to Baltimore following the 1995 season. While the team name, colors, and history have remained in Cleveland, the organization has done an incredible job of creating their own niche and history. Since their move to Baltimore, the Ravens have won four AFC North Divisional titles (2003, '06, '11, '12) and two Super Bowl championships (2000 & 2012), making them one of the most successful teams in the last 20 seasons. The devoted Ravens fans have reciprocated the love affair with their team by selling out every home game since its inception in 1996.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
While thousands of NFL fans tailgate hours before and after the game, there are plenty more who arrive at the game hungry and thirsty, and those coming to M&T Bank Stadium will find a reasonable selection of items to choose from. As you enter the stadium, one of the first things you'll notice is a variety of concession stands designed to fill your appetite. The concession areas are lined throughout the lower and upper concourse of the stadium, with large signs overhead showing what type of cuisine the stand sells. Some of the primary stands include Kickoff Classics (feature items include hot dogs, popcorn, nachos, and pretzels), Goal Line Grill (feature items include burgers, fries, hot dogs, and chicken tenders), and Chesapeake Market (feature items include pit beef, crab cakes, pit turkey). There are a couple of Subway stands located on the lower concourse, giving fans of deli sandwiches an option during the game. Drink options at the primary concession stands include Coca-Cola soft drinks (Coke, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Sprite), Snapple, Dasani bottled water, hot chocolate, and coffee.
Beverage items inside the stadium are plentiful, and chances are you will find exactly what you're looking for. At concession stands Budweiser and Miller products are readily available; you will also be able to find Coors, Coors Light, and Yuengling, and O'Doul's non- alcoholic beers at selected stands. There are several kiosks in addition to the permanent concession stands that will have a larger variety of beers available, including Samuel Adams.
In addition to the concession stands and kiosks, there are a couple of bars inside the stadium, giving adult fans who aren't tailgating the opportunity to enjoy a drink or two in a comfortable setting (not to mention it's more comfortable during those winter months!). Located on the lower concourse near Section 134, the Bud Light Party Zone is ideal for those fans looking for a relaxed social setting during the game. In addition to bar seating and table areas, there are a few televisions showing the Ravens and other NFL games, which is nice for out of town fans or fantasy football fans. Budweiser products, spirits, and soft drinks are available here. The Bud Light Party Zone is available for private parties 2 ˝ hours before kickoff, and is open to the public 30 minutes before kickoff.
The Bacardi Zone is located on the lower concourse near Section 128. This has less seating area than the Bud Light Party Zone but does have a more contemporary look, plus it has room to fit up to 60 fans comfortably. Bacardi products, domestic beers, and soft drinks are available here; there are also three televisions showcasing the Ravens game and other NFL games. The Bacardi Zone is available for private parties 2 ˝ hours before kickoff and is open to the public 30 minutes before kickoff.
The Talon Pub is located on the lower concourse near Section 148, and is the most relaxed of the three bars. This area has a stand-up bar setting and offers Guinness beer, Crown Royal products, Tanqueray products, and soft drinks. Similar to the other two bars, the Talon Pub has televisions available for NFL viewing, and is available to the public 30 minutes prior to kickoff.
Tailgating is still the NFL way, but those who aren't able to do so will have little problem enjoying the food and drinks that M&T Bank Stadium offers.
The atmosphere at college & professional football games in unrivaled in American sports, and the experience at a Ravens game does not disappoint. Tailgating is as much a part of the experience as the actual sporting event, and the team does everything it can to create a festive environment prior to the game. The parking lots are filled hours before the game with a sea of purple jerseys, flags, buses, and cornhole boards. The wonderful smell of grilled food fills the air, and music of all types is played throughout the lots. If tailgating is what you like to do before a game, you'll have no problem fitting in with this crowd.
In order to create an experience similar to the Orioles and Eutaw Street, the Baltimore Ravens have created Ravenswalk, an entertainment experience that is perfect for fans of all ages and/or who aren't doing the pregame tailgate (although many tailgaters make a point to stop by, as well). Located on the north side of the stadium, Ravenswalk has a number of interactive booths, games, and exhibits designed to get the fan ready for the game. Want to see the local pregame show live? Try to win free merchandise? Take your shot at the football toss? Meet the official mascots Rise & Conquer? Or maybe listen to some local music and get pumped prior to the game? Maybe take some pictures with the Johnny Unitas statue outside the north entrance? Ravenswalk has it available. Plus, there are a number of food and drink kiosks located throughout the walk, making it an affordable option to fill up before entering the stadium (food and drink costs are roughly half of what you would pay once inside M&T Stadium). This experience has been well-received by the fan base, as thousands of people fill the walkway hours before the start of the game. As an extra tip, wear purple -- you'll fit in perfectly.
The atmosphere inside the stadium is just as electric. As you enter the seating bowl, you'll get a feel for the longstanding Baltimore football history, both with the Colts and Ravens. Virtually all 71,000 seats are purple, a rarity in American sports leagues. The Ring of Honor showcases some of the great Ravens players since 1996, along with the Golden Arm, Johnny Unitas, and the Baltimore Colts. The championship history (AFC North, AFC, Super Bowl) lines the areas above the Ring of Honor. The two Super Bowl championship flags are attached to the east and west ends of the stadium. Two giant scoreboards known as RavensVision are also located on the east and west ends of the stadium; the design of these boards includes Roman style columns and 3-D images of raven heads, and the boards offer full-game views of the action on the field. Auxillary scoreboards along the sidelines provide the score and game details. One drawback is that it is difficult to follow other games from the seating bowl. It would be nice if they could have a running tally of the other games going on.
There are the standard crowd pleasers, such as the cheerleading squad (Ravens Cheerleading Squad) and the team mascot (Poe, named after famed Baltimorean Edgar Allan Poe). Baltimore's Marching Ravens are an entirely different story, and part of the local history. The Baltimore's Marching Colts began playing during games and special events in 1947; they became an important part of the team and its experience. Although the Colts left town for Indianapolis during the middle of the night, the Marching Colts continued playing on, and when the Ravens moved to town in 1996, they changed their name to the Marching Ravens. Before the game and during the game, you will see them play for the appreciative crowd, and during the remainder of the game they will take their seats in the east end zone. This is just another fascinating part of the Baltimore football experience, which is among the best in all of organized football.
M&T Bank Stadium is located in downtown Baltimore, so if you're coming in from out of town, there are a number of hotels located within a short walking distance. The Inner Harbor is a popular tourist destination and would be a short walk from the hotels, but if you're looking to go here before or after a game, I would recommend taking a cab, as it's roughly one mile away. There are a few eating and drinking establishments between the hotels and M&T Bank Stadium; most of them are sandwich locations, such as Jimmy John's, Quizno's, or Subway. Pickles Pub, Pratt Street Ale House, and Kona Grill are some places that sports fans like to fill on gameday, and if you are looking for crab cakes, try Phillips Seafood.
Fans looking to get a taste of Baltimore sports history should also take time to visit the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Sports Legends Museum. Located adjacent to Oriole Park at Camden Yards, this museum offers exhibits on not only the Baltimore Ravens and Orioles, but the former Baltimore Colts and teams tied to Maryland history. Whether you're a fan of other sports or not, this is a good facility to get you primed for football.
Losing a professional sports team is never easy, and losing an iconic professional sports team can last for decades. The Baltimore Colts leaving town is the football equivalent of losing the Brooklyn Dodgers, so when the opportunity arose for them to have their own team again (ironically at the expense of the iconic Cleveland Browns), the fans answered enthusiastically. Since their first game in 1996, every Baltimore Ravens home game has been a sellout, and there appears to be no end in sight to this streak. As you attend a game at M&T Bank Stadium, you'll be awestruck at the sea of purple throughout the day. Honestly, I cannot remember a team or its fan base that had so many home jerseys in the seats -- you'd think the Ravens Team Store had sold every remaining one. The Lewis and Reed jerseys of the past have now been replaced with Flacco, Rice, and Ngata jerseys, but the passion remains the same.
Even better, the fans are respectful of fans wearing opposing colors. This isn't always the case around the league, unfortunately, but the organization does a good job in keeping everyone in check. They are knowledgeable, passionate football fans. Given their recent success and history, it makes sense, as there really isn't a lot to be upset about when you've recently brought home a world championship.
Because of its downtown location, fans looking to tailgate and/or drive to the game can arrive via I-395, I-95, I-83, US-40 and MD-295. On a typical Sunday morning, the earlier you arrive, the easier it will be to access a decent parking spot for the game. Traffic following the game will take a little while to get to the freeways, but once you've passed this hurdle, it should be easy to get to your final destination.
If you're not driving to the game, the other primary mode of access is the MTA Light Rail. From points north and south of downtown Baltimore, you can take the train to the Hamburg Street Station, which will drop you off steps away from M&T Bank Stadium. For more information on the light rail service, visit this link.
The cost to see an NFL football game increases every year, making it more difficult for the average fan or family to attend multiple games. That said, the return on investment at a football game is well above average. The Ravenswalk experience is free of charge and is family-friendly. You'll have an opportunity to win free merchandise and take part in interactive games. At each game, the team hands out free game programs, allowing you to keep up with the roster, schedule, and game events. The seating at M&T Bank Stadium is excellent, and as the saying goes, there isn't a bad seat in the house. No matter where you end up sitting, you'll have a solid view of the action, plus with the RavensVision scoreboards you'll be able to get detailed views of every play.
True, it may be tough to have season tickets, but for the price of admission, you'll be guaranteed a great time.
Well-run organizations start from the top down, and the success of this franchise isn't confined to the players on the field. The gameday staff are located throughout the stadium, whether it's at Ravenswalk, the ticket booths, guest services, or in the lower and upper concourse. They're easy to spot (purple business shirts with purple ties), and will help out with any questions or concerns you may experience before, during, or after the game. The Ravens fan base is fun and enthusiastic, but not rude and disrespectful. Go to the game with peace of mind that you're going to have a great time, regardless of what team you want to win.
NFL football is a special experience, and when ranking the places to go, Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium should be in the discussion of 'must visit' experiences. The Ravens have done an outstanding job with their franchise, and your gameday experience will be a memorable one.
Remember that super hot girl from high school that everyone was in love with? You know the one. Always had the huge crowd around her locker, and she was a nice person to boot. Remember her little sister? Remember thinking she might eventually get to be like her big sister, only she never quite measured up? Oh, she was alright, I guess, but standing next to her sister, boy, not even close.
In Baltimore, Oriole Park is the hot girl. M&T Bank Stadium is the little sister. It would be better off in another part of the city, or, even better, in another city to avoid the comparisons.
My one experience here was not exactly typical. I was here shortly after 9/11 and during the 1st quarter, news broke that we were bombing the Taliban in Afghanistan. Midshipmen from Annapolis carried a huge flag onto the field at halftime and the halftime show consisted of a televised speech from President Bush. The whole crowd was chanting "USA! USA!" It was surreal. Even before all that happened, we found the fans were very friendly and the prices were a little more reasonable the in Philly. Parking was a little tough but not terrible. The Inner Harbor is great.
I went to a game here in December 2010. It was absolutely freezing but everyone was still very into the game. The PA always tried to keep fans involved and I remember them making great use of the video board since it's hard to see everything down on the field, live.
As I walked to the stadium that day I could see there was a lot of pre-game stuff going on outside before the game started. Radio stations were there, there were a bunch of tents, and I think there was even a marching band somewhere. For note, this was a 1PM game. Looking back at the stats for the game I went to, it was a sellout. I could definitely tell; it was LOUD.
The city of Baltimore could seem intimidating but I think there's definitely a lot to do if you know the right places to go. I've been to the American Visionary Art Museum and it's less than 2 miles away from M&T; beautiful place. Inner Harbor is great too, and I hear a lot about the nightlife at Fells Point.
Again, I don't know what's changed in the last two years, but I had a lot of fun at M&T. If you just want to watch football, there are plenty of college games around Maryland that could spare you the traffic and parking that goes with Baltimore on gamedays, but if you want some good professional football, M&T Bank, where the Ravens went 9-0 last year including playoffs, is a good place to go.
There are no bells and whistles here, and the main review is quite accurate except on Extras. The Ravenswalk that joins Camden Yards and this place is dotted with concessions and sponsored stalls and is worth a few minutes. The Johnny Unitas statue is a must see, and the club level (not accessible to all sadly) contains a lot of trivia about football in Baltimore.
Fans are spoiled after a second Super Bowl but they show up in numbers and cheer loudly the whole game. Getting there is easy on light rail and the concourses are more than wide enough for the crowd.
Great place to watch a game with few distractions, other than the marching band, which remains unique in the NFL.
520 Washington Boulevard
Baltimore, MD 21230
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