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  1. #1
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    Edward Jones Dome Undergoing Extreme Makeover

    Edward Jones Dome Undergoing Extreme Makeover
    Friday, June 12, 2009


    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    The refurbishment of the Edward Jones Dome is still about two months away from completion but much like the future of the team housed in its confines, it’s already brighter.

    Soon after the 2008 season was complete, the Rams brought in 360 architecture to oversee a two-phase refurbishment of the dome as part of the team’s lease agreement with the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission.

    The first phase of that process is under construction and on schedule, with an expected completion date of July 31.

    Upon completion of the numerous projects in the dome, the Rams believe they will have created a better game day experience for all fans, offering everyone the opportunity to enjoy the game regardless of seat location or ticket cost.

    “An NFL game is like a symphony,” Bob Reif, Rams Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales, said. “There are crescendos in a game that are created by great plays, a great defensive play, a great touchdown and then it goes down and it goes back up. Our job is to control the things we can control and enhance the moments created by the action that happens on the field.”

    ALTERING THE ATMOSPHERE

    As the Rams approached the start of the renovations around the dome, they set forth a few intentions for what the vision of the new-look Edward Jones Dome would be.

    At the top of that list was creating a game day environment that would be enjoyable for all fans and could manifest itself into creating a homefield advantage that would help the team win games on Sundays.

    “The overall objective going forward is creating a homefield advantage for the St. Louis Rams which I think we have lacked,” Reif said.

    To that end, the Rams have taken some enormous steps in the renovations and in the personnel aspect to help create precisely the type of atmosphere Reif speaks of.

    The biggest (literally) piece of that puzzle is the addition of a new LED high definition video board in the north end zone that will instantly triple the size of the previous one and rank as the second-largest of its type in the league.

    On the opposite side, a video board with the same technology only a bit smaller is in the process of being added. The south end zone board isn’t as big but is about 20 feet wider than the one it replaces.

    In addition, the LED ribbon boards that circle the stadium will provide fans with more information than before, including statistics, out of town scores and fantasy football updates.

    “We want to create a wow factor for our fans and we believe the best way to do that is through the information systems with all of the new video and LED boards,” Reif said.

    Cosmetic changes that provide a better look to some of those boards will be buoyed by on going alterations to the game day presentation.

    The Rams recently hired award winning gameday producer Scott Brooks as the new director of gameday entertainment. Brooks is well versed in the myriad ways to keep fans involved and excited about the game. The IDEA Conference recently names Brooks' opening as the best overall opening in all of sports for his work with the Washington Capitals.

    Even small details such as limiting the number of announcements and commercials on the video board and replacing them with highlight videos will be a part of the new look Edward Jones Dome.

    All of that will be done with the goal in mind to make sure that the score displayed on the mammoth new video boards at the end of four quarters on Sundays will be in the Rams’ favor.

    “The top priority is creating a homefield advantage that will provide a great fan experience and ultimately help the Rams win every home game,” Jake Bye, Rams Director of Ticket Sales and Premiums Seating, said.

    A SUITE DEAL

    The ongoing changes to the Edward Jones Dome will not be limited to technology and cosmetics. There are plenty of visible and tangible renovations being done that will touch every fan, regardless of the cost of their ticket.

    For fans in search of a premium gameday experience, the addition of a trio of new and expanded areas will provide plenty of all inclusive options.

    At the top of the list is the new Premium Club which is under construction in the south end zone. While it is not yet complete, the framework is in place and when it’s complete it will likely be one of the most sought-after seating areas in the stadium.

    The Clarkson Jewelers Club consists of 280 seats divided into three sections. In the middle of the section is a group of 16 “loge” boxes. In each of those boxes are four leather lounge chairs with two flat panel televisions mounted in the front. For those with seats in those boxes, there will be in-seat drink service to provide the fan with the creature comforts of home while watching the game live in addition to the other amenities available to the rest of the club.

    Flanking the loge boxes on each side are 216 seats that also provide access to all of the amenities in the club. Those amenities include a private elevator from the street level, parking in the closest possible lot to the entrance, a high-end food buffet, drinks and a lounge area that has pool tables, high definition televisions and video games.

    On the north side of the stadium is the Legends Suite, a new 72-seat all inclusive suite that is replacing four of the old luxury suites. Unlike the other suites in the building, the Legends Suite will allow fans to buy seats for the suite instead of paying for one box for the duration of the season.

    “They get all of the experience of the suite but it’s a smaller club,” Reif said.

    Current owners of suites will not be left out in the refurbishments, either. In addition to the Premium Club and Legends Suite, the Rams are adding seats on each end of the field, literally on the field.

    Suite holders will have access to purchase those seats, which are just 9 feet from the back line of the end zone, providing a close up view of the game that can’t be found in any other seat.

    “If they want to take people in their suite, they give them a pass, go down to the field and have their food up in the suite,” Reif said. “It’s kind of like motor sports where you are in a suite, get a pit pass and go down to the pit and you can go back and forth.”

    A NEW FOCUS

    In recent months, the Rams have hosted focus groups to get feedback on the many moving parts of the gameday experience. Aside from some of the normal complaints, Reif said most fans wanted a brighter, more exciting experience.

    Although the changes being made can’t accommodate all of the ones that were suggested, the Rams have taken steps to address the hot button issues that came up frequently in those studies.

    At the top of the list was finding a way to aesthetically brighten up a place that was regularly anything but in recent years. With still more adjustments to be made, that’s one area that has seemingly already been rectified.

    On top of the creation of the Premium Club and the Legends Suite, the renovations will yield two more areas that will be accessible to fans.

    On the second level of the north end zone is the Bud Zone, an area Reif refers to as “St. Louis’ largest sports bar.”

    The Bud Zone will be available to all fans looking for a place to go before and after the game as well as those looking to find a different vantage point to watch the game from along the rail side viewing area.

    Just upstairs from the Bud Zone is the revamped Rams Club, an area available to suite and club seat holders with plenty of big, high definition televisions, bar areas and a buffet.

    The upshot of the creation of both of those areas lies in the walls knocked down to create space for the rail side viewing areas. Those areas created not just an alternative place for fans to watch the game but also an avenue for natural light to travel into the building. Those changes are already apparent.

    “The second objective was to create some natural light and just lighten the facility,” Reif said. “All of our focus groups told us it was a dark, dank experience.”

    The effort to brighten up the dome doesn’t end with the open areas for natural light. Some simple paint jobs have already been done in the upper reaches of the stadium. The section markers used to be yellow numbers painted on a blue backdrop. That has been changed to feature a white backdrop with blue and yellow numbers painted on top.

    Other minor tweaks that will stand out cosmetically include the addition of “premium” blue seats that are located between the 40-yard lines on both sides of the field. Those seats are cushioned and a little wider with cup holders for fans in the main bowl area. The marquee outside the dome on Broadway and Washington are also being replaced with LED technology which will also show video to fans outside before the game with a countdown to kickoff included.

    And all of that is just the first phase of a group of changes. The second batch of renovations is expected next year and could include alterations to some of the less visible parts of the stadium and may include the locker room and the press box.

    All told, everything the Rams are doing on the field, in the front office and in the extreme home makeover taking place at the Edward Jones are being done with one common goal in mind.

    “People will want to come if they feel like they are a part of something special, that they feel like they are associated with a winner,” Reif said. “Teams have to show they are invested in winning and that’s what we have to do. That’s why this refurb is so important because we are showing that we are investing not just for the fans but for the players as well.”


  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Edward Jones Dome Undergoing Extreme Makeover

    Awesome!!!!

    Can't wait for the Bash weekend and the game against the Packers.

  3. #3
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    Re: Edward Jones Dome Undergoing Extreme Makeover

    So a more exciting experience translates into the Premium Club, the Legends Suite, the revamped Rams Club, and cushier premium seats? Call me crazy, but I don't think creating more suites does anything to improve the home field advantage. Leather lounge chairs are not going to get people out of their seats.

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    Re: Edward Jones Dome Undergoing Extreme Makeover

    Great news! It's about time the Rams are treated like a legitimate football team.

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    Re: Edward Jones Dome Undergoing Extreme Makeover

    I'm interested to see the changes that have been made and if those changes create a better environment for the fans, but it sounds like most of the upgrades are aimed at people who spend the game on their cell phones, talking business and hobnobbing while the activity on the field serves merely as backround noise. I guess I'll find out in late September.

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    Re: Edward Jones Dome Undergoing Extreme Makeover

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    I'm interested to see the changes that have been made and if those changes create a better environment for the fans, but it sounds like most of the upgrades are aimed at people who spend the game on their cell phones, talking business and hobnobbing while the activity on the field serves merely as backround noise. I guess I'll find out in late September.
    Football fans don't go to the game for cushy amenities. However, people with lots of money who like to be seen at football games do.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Edward Jones Dome Undergoing Extreme Makeover

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    Football fans don't go to the game for cushy amenities. However, people with lots of money who like to be seen at football games do.
    Very true HUb. Too bad the marketing people seem to be making decisions based on the people with money as opposed to the football fans, who ultimately make the real difference in bringing about the stated aim of "creating a homefield advantage that would help the team win games on Sundays."

  8. #8
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    Re: Edward Jones Dome Undergoing Extreme Makeover

    You want fans to be happier at the games? Screw the HD screen, screw the luxury box upgrades, screw the ribbon boards, and make games more affordable to your average joe. How much are these renovations costing? I'd say a conservative estimate would be 50 mil. $50 mil divided by 8 home games divided by 66,000 seats and you have $94.70 per person per game you could find ways to get back in the hands of the fan. How about you cut ticket prices by 15-20%, then do the same for concessions and souvenirs...maybe make some great deals on meal combos for families....maybe make a special where when you buy 4 upper tier seats you get the 5th free, or buy 2 jerseys, get 1 free. These are all things you could do if you put that money to use with the fans truly in mind. When your kid sees Avery make an amazing TD catch and wants a jersey after the game, and you have to decide between buying the jersey and eating for the next week, there is a problem. You want a better home field experience then cater to the average fan, not the rich snob who gets mad when people scream and cheer.
    Last edited by RamFan_Til_I_Die; -06-13-2009 at 12:56 PM.

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    Re: Edward Jones Dome Undergoing Extreme Makeover

    Seems more like a way to enhance the premium members experience in an effort to generate more revenue, as opposed to making it a more fan friendly home-field advantage. Why not knock out some roof panels and replace them with tempered glass type panels to brighten the place up? In addition, package deals on food and souvenirs along with your ticket would enhance the average fan's experience. I guess what we consider being in the top 25% of stadium venues and what ownership considers top notch are two different things..
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    Re: Edward Jones Dome Undergoing Extreme Makeover

    here's what I would like to see in the makeover SOME DAMN WINS, you want me to have a better time at the dome then win some games,sure a recliner is nice but I have that at home,I give them credit for trying but catering to the high price seat holders does nothing to enhance the game for me. I do look forward to seeing the changes but when I leave the game and fly back to N.Y. the only thing I am thinking about is weather the Rams won or loss, not how comfy my seat was.

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    Re: Edward Jones Dome Undergoing Extreme Makeover

    I think we should save the $$$ we're spending on the upgrades and use it to sign Vick! (HAHAHA, everything can be turned into a Vick thread)

    Seriously though, I like it. When I go to games I'm in the cheap seats, and the more bigger screens they can put up to show highlights from the previous play the happier I'll be.

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    Re: Edward Jones Dome Undergoing Extreme Makeover

    Quote Originally Posted by SFCRamFan View Post
    Why not knock out some roof panels and replace them with tempered glass type panels to brighten the place up?
    BINGO!!! I like this idea! And I'll bet it wouldn't cost all that much and-get this!- everyone would benefit, not just the exclusive, premium-type snobs that bring snuff boxes and opera glasses to the games.

    WHAT SAY YE?

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    Re: Edward Jones Dome Undergoing Extreme Makeover

    Quote Originally Posted by RamFan_Til_I_Die View Post
    You want fans to be happier at the games? Screw the HD screen, screw the luxury box upgrades, screw the ribbon boards, and make games more affordable to your average joe. How much are these renovations costing? I'd say a conservative estimate would be 50 mil. $50 mil divided by 8 home games divided by 66,000 seats and you have $94.70 per person per game you could find ways to get back in the hands of the fan. How about you cut ticket prices by 15-20%, then do the same for concessions and souvenirs...maybe make some great deals on meal combos for families....maybe make a special where when you buy 4 upper tier seats you get the 5th free, or buy 2 jerseys, get 1 free. These are all things you could do if you put that money to use with the fans truly in mind. When your kid sees Avery make an amazing TD catch and wants a jersey after the game, and you have to decide between buying the jersey and eating for the next week, there is a problem. You want a better home field experience then cater to the average fan, not the rich snob who gets mad when people scream and cheer.
    +1.
    great post my friend.

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    Re: Edward Jones Dome Undergoing Extreme Makeover

    I've got no problem with the upgrades. The HD screens sound like a major upgrade over the dumpy light boards e have now. Any attempts to make the Ed experience less like watching a game in a warehouse is an improvement. I think it's great that they hired a new person in charge of game day enttertainment, with a focus on less commercials. Anyone that's been to a game in the past 5 years has noticeed how quickly the wind is let out of the sails after a touchdown when it's immediately followed by an ad for Woods Basement Systems instead of a replay of said touchdown.
    :1:

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    Re: Edward Jones Dome Undergoing Extreme Makeover

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Banks View Post
    I've got no problem with the upgrades. The HD screens sound like a major upgrade over the dumpy light boards e have now. Any attempts to make the Ed experience less like watching a game in a warehouse is an improvement. I think it's great that they hired a new person in charge of game day enttertainment, with a focus on less commercials. Anyone that's been to a game in the past 5 years has noticeed how quickly the wind is let out of the sails after a touchdown when it's immediately followed by an ad for Woods Basement Systems instead of a replay of said touchdown.
    You mean the drums didn't get fans fired up?
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