• Lloyd Brown

Ford Field - Detroit Lions

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.86

Ford Field 2000 Brush St Detroit, MI 48226

Detroit Lions website Ford Field website

Year Opened: 2002 Capacity: 65,000


The Lions Den

The Detroit Lions are one of the oldest franchises in the NFL, as they were founded in 1930 and moved to Detroit in 1934. Over the years they have won four NFL championships (1935, 1952, 1953, 1957), but are one of only four teams in the NFL to never appear in the Super Bowl since its inception.

Ford Field has served as the Lions den since 2002, when it moved from the Pontiac Silverdome back to downtown Detroit. This was done at the same time as the opening of neighboring Comerica Park, as the teams sought to revitalize the city that was so impacted economically by the decline of the US auto industry. In 2017 they were joined by Little Caesars Arena, home of the Pistons and the Red Wings, which lies just across I-75 from its sister sports venues. This marks the first time in 43 years that all of Detroit’s major league franchises are located inside of the city limits. Ford Field’s naming rights belong to the Ford Motor Company and the Lions have been owned by the Ford Family since 1962.

The home of the Lions has a capacity of 65,000 in its normal football configuration, but can be expanded to 70,000, as was the case when it hosted Super Bowl XL in 2006. The stadium is also equipped with 129 suites, some of which can be rented on a game-by-game basis.

Food & Beverage 4

In keeping with the stadium’s mission of revitalizing downtown Detroit, Ford Field uses mostly locally owned companies for its concession’s vendors. These include Slows to Go, Taste of Greektown, Billy Sims BBQ, Michigan Craft Beer, Pretzel Hastings and Hopcat. One of the more unique stands is The Cooler, a convenience store type setup, which sells the more generic items included in the Lions Silver Savings program, which is part of the NFL’s move to family friendly pricing for concessions. This includes items such as Pepsi brand sodas ($2), hot dogs ($2) and domestic beers ($3).

Other than the Silver Savings items at The Cooler, food selection at Ford Field comes in at above the NFL in cost. Among the higher priced items are hot dogs ($6.50), grilled chicken sandwiches ($8), pork sandwiches ($15), French fries ($6.25) and popcorn ($8.25).

Atmosphere 4

Fans will almost feel like they are at an outdoor venue as Ford Field is one of the most naturally lit domed stadiums in the NFL. This is accomplished using skylights and large glass windows in the corners of the rectangular stadium. They are positioned so that they never project sunlight directly on the playing field.

Another unique element at Ford Field is the repurposing of an existing building for the stadium’s suites. The former Hudson’s warehouse space hosts a majority of the stadium’s luxury suites, while also serving as a functioning office building on weekdays. It also includes a large atrium and concourse filled with sit down restaurants, as well as a food court.

The electronics package within Ford Field is excellent, as the sound system, video boards and ribbon boards were all upgraded in 2017. The field features two 27’ X 96’ video boards (one in each end zone) which provide HD clear images on replays and other game-related information.

Neighborhood 4

Ford Field is in the new District Detroit, a sports, arts and entertainment district encompassing fifty square blocks of Downtown Detroit between the Midtown District and I-75. The purpose of District Detroit is to reinvigorate downtown Detroit by creating jobs for locals to build out what was a downtrodden area, while creating permanent jobs in the restaurants, arts and sports facilities located within its boundaries.

Ford Field, Comerica Park and Little Caesars Arena form the sports core of the district. The Fox Theatre and the Fillmore Detroit draw arts patrons to concerts and plays in the area. There are a wide number of restaurants within the District Detroit area, including the Hockeytown, Fishbone and the many fine establishments in the Greektown neighborhood. There are numerous lodging choices within the district, with the Greektown Hotel and Casino being the largest and closest to Ford Field.

District Detroit is still an evolving neighborhood, with new nightspots, restaurants and entertainment options being added all the time. Getting around District Detroit is made easy by the Detroit People Mover, an aerial train that circles the area every few minutes

Fans 3

The Pride of the Lions are its fans, as they have loyally supported the team through thick and thin. They have seen their team in the glory years of the 1950’s and the Barry Sanders era, and also experienced the 0-16 2008 season followed by a 2-14 2009 season. Matthew Stafford continues as one of the best QB’s in the NFL, providing a ray of hope for current fans. The team is unique, in that it has its own fight song, “Gridiron Heroes,” that is sung before each game and after a Lions score. They are led in their cheers by Roary, the Lions mascot, with support from the Lions drumline. The noise they generate is amplified by being in an indoor structure

Pride Plaza serves as the gathering point for pre-game tailgating. This area features food trucks, musical entertainment, interactive games, appearances by the Lions cheerleaders and autograph sessions with former Lions players. The plaza opens 2.5 hours before kickoff.

While in the stadium, make sure to take in the impressive names that are members of the Ring of Honor listed on the fascia of the upper level. They include Bobby Lane, Doak Walker and Dick LeBeau from the distant past, along with more recent additions such as Barry Sanders.

Access 4

Ford Field is located just off I-75 at the ramp. Traffic can be heavy on this expressway even on non-game days… so plan to arrive early!

Two methods of public transit are available to avoid the traffic and hassle of finding and paying for parking at Ford’s Field. The Q-Line light rail system will drop you off within two blocks of the stadium. The elevated monorail system known as the People Mover (www.peoplemover.com) makes a loop through Downtown Detroit and services Ford Field through its Grand Circus South and Broadway Stations.

Once at the stadium, there are eight main entrances to Fords Field. The stadium has wide concourses which are easy to navigate. On game days there are fifty permanent concession stands and seventy-five portable concessions locations, so you should not encounter too long a wait for your food. Ford Field also has 105 restrooms to serve your personal needs in a quick fashion.

Return on Investment 3

Tickets to a Lions game usually can be found for $60 and up on the secondary market. However, prices trend much higher for the Thanksgiving Day game or games featuring an NFC North opponent. Food prices, except for the Blitz Silver Savings items, are higher than average for an NFL venue.

Parking for non season ticket holders is available in several surface lots and parking decks for adjoining buildings in downtown Detroit. Game day parking fees generally fall within the $20 – $30 range. It is strongly advised that you locate and pre-pay for your parking via the ParkWhiz app, as spaces are limited. Using either the People Mover or Q-Line public transportation systems will cut that cost to $5 for countless trips within a 24-hour period.

Extras 5

One of the longest and most cherished traditions in the NFL is the annual Thanksgiving Day game held at Ford Field.

Ford Field has served as an emergency home field for other NFL teams on two occasions. In 2010 it hosted the Minnesota Vikings after the collapse of the Humphrey Metrodome roof following a heavy snow. In 2014, the Buffalo Bills used the stadium when the roads to New Era Stadium were closed after an especially heavy lake effect snowstorm.

Ford Field has also hosted a wide variety of non-NFL games. It serves as the host facility for both the MAC Championship Game and the Quick Lane Bowl at the college football level. In college basketball it hosted an NCAA Basketball Regional in 2008 and the Final Four in 2009. Ford Field is also the only football stadium to host a Frozen Four competition, as the hockey finals were held there in 2010. Many concerts are held at the stadium as well.

One extra goes to preserving some of Detroit’s heritage by repurposing of a former warehouse for use as luxury suites and functional office space.

Another extra goes to the Lions long heritage in the NFL. The singing of “Gridiron Heroes” and the impressive membership on the Ring of Honor are constant reminders of the Lions glorious past and offers hope for the future.

Final Thoughts

Detroit and its football team have gone through some tough times in recent years. However, things are changing in the Motor City for the better, and with a few more players to support Matthew Stafford on the Lions offense, the football fortunes can also improve. Regardless, Ford Field and the Lions are an integral part of the city of Detroit. A sports journey to Detroit is not complete without taking in a Lions game.

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