Detroit — With tarps surrounding the stadium and distant hum of circular saws and pounding hammers in the background, the Detroit Lions gave a first glimpse of the $100 million in renovations coming to Ford Field this offseason.
In front a small audience of approximately 250 corporate sponsors, suite and season-ticket holders, team president Rod Wood took part in a panel discussion laying out the grand plans for the 15-year old stadium.
The crown jewel of the project is the much-anticipated upgrades to the team’s digital scoreboards. The undersized and outdated end zone scoreboards are being replaced by a pair of high-definition displays, measuring over 6,000-square foot each.
The boards, produced by Daktronics, will be 152 feet in length. For comparison, the renowned scoreboard at Dallas’ AT&T Stadium is 160-feet long. The Ford Field displays are significantly shorter than those in Dallas, limited by the stadium’s structure.
Flanking the main displays will be four additional video boards, measuring 13-feet by 59-feet. Combined, the continuous display is 270 feet and will be 330 percent larger than the previous models.
As for definition, the previous displays had 20 mm between the pixels. That distance will be decreased to 13 on the new board. Daktronics also manufactured the Comerica Park scoreboard, installed in 2012. That display has 15 mm between pixels.
To go along with the upgraded visuals, Meyer Sound will complete the installation of an advanced sound system that began last season. When finished, it will feature eight clusters holding a combined 182 speakers.
Ford Field will also be undergoing extensive renovations. The Lions consulted with Rossetti, the original architectural firm for the stadium, seeking opportunities to enhance and modernize the facility. A total of 210,000 square feet, from large social areas to suites, will be renovated.
Wood said there will not be a single square foot of premium space in the stadium that won’t be upgraded. The team president also said owner Martha Ford has been heavily involved in the process, down to selecting patterns and fabrics for some of the suite upgrades.
A few of the suites are being removed and replaced by new seating options. One area will be replaced by new, smaller suites that will seat eight to 10 fans. The second area will be replaced by a club called “The Lounge,” which will pay homage to Detroit’s underground music scene. The standing-room option will be a first-come, first-serve area located on the fifth floor.
On the main concourse, the Corner Lounge is being repacked as the Corner Bar, with décor that will pay tribute to Briggs Stadium, the former home of the Tigers and Lions. The centerpiece of the bar will be a multi-screen video wall and LED scoreboard, framed by vintage lockers and scoreboard.
Wood said many other stadiums have undergone similar updates, spread out over three or four years, but said it was important for the Lions to get them done a single offseason. The venue will be closed to other events to facilitate the project.
The team drew inspiration for its changes from a number of other stadiums around the league, including Minnesota, Houston and the future home of the Los Angeles teams.
These Ford Field renovations come of the heels of extensive upgrades in 2016. Outside, LED lighting was added to Ford Field’s roof. Indoors, the lighting was upgraded, the end zones painted blue and the franchise added cheerleaders. The team also plans to unveil upgraded WiFi at the start of next season.
To see more on the Ford Field upgrades, click here