Officials with the Buffalo Bills led a tour showcasing the progress of renovations taking place at Ralph Wilson Stadium Thursday. The upgrades are contributing to a boost in season ticket sales.
The renovations at the stadium aim to make the fan experience more enjoyable. The upgrades include16 new bathrooms, new walk-in retail stores and more natural light entering the building from outside. The concession stands will now be easier to navigate, pushing foot traffic around people inline. Director of Construction Management Joe Frandina says the concessions also include recessed LED lighting and local cuisine such as Duff’s, LaNova and Tim Hortins.
“We’ve added more points of sale. We went to an average of five to an average of eight. So, the whole idea is to get people through the lines as quick as possible and back into their seats. We’ve also added credit card sales and beer only lines so that we’re not crowding any particular line at one time,” said Frandina.
Chief Marketing Officer Marc Honan says another feature is two monumental staircases that allow fans better access to the concession concourse. The staircases are located on opposite ends of the building.
“We knocked out the stadium wall, broke into the foundation and created stairs up to the next level. Before, with the switchback staircase it wasn’t that easy to navigate. Whenever we had concession offerings and wanted to give people other options up onto this outdoor tier no one was interested, because it was not easy to get to. Now, it elevates some of the traffic in the concourses by having some outdoor concessions here fans will actually take advantage of them during the game, because it’s not as hard to get to and it’s quicker,” said Honan.
The renovations to Ralph Wilson Stadium are 65% complete. The new amenities also include a larger scoreboard in the west end zone, as well as two new scoreboards on the east end that will display out of town, RedZone, and fantasy football scores.
Director of Construction Management Joe Frandina says they’ve also added radiant heated seats to the club level on the south side of the stadium.
“In an effort to bring the stadium up to code as part of the Americans with Disabilities Act we took out some of the dugout sweets in the east end zone and the west end zone and we added wheelchair platforms,” said Frandina.
In the 300 level, fans now have more access to outdoor concessions and restrooms. Chief Marketing Officer Marc Honan says the stadium wall was extended in the 300 level concourse to cut down on wind. But, he says the most prized renovation is being called the Buffalo Bills new front door, the new Bills store located right outside the stadium.
“The defining architecture you can see here and the elaborate space we’re going from a 200 sq ft retail store to this new front door of about 8,000 sq ft. It’s going to allow us 1. To give our fans more offerings, new apparel, more bills offerings and 2. There will be a bit of our history in there. So, there will be hall of fame and wall of fame exhibits. You’ll see hours from 10 a.m. until 9p.m. so fans will have an opportunity to come in and shop for their favorite Bills gear,” said Honan.
Honan says the entire stadium will be painted black and white to accent the new architecture. He adds that more than 44,000 season tickets have sold so far this year, the most since 2010. The upgrades are expected to be completed by early August before the start of the pre-season.