Expectations were high for us as we made the trek to Baltimore to see our Buffalo Bills play the Ravens and
see this companion facility to Oriole Park at Camden Yards for the first time. But we were not prepared for
this - a totally spectacular football venue, easily amongst the absolute best in the NFL. And on our return visit
in 2004 just confirmed our initial impressions, that Baltimore continues to rank among the elite in the NFL

M&T Bank Stadium opened for the 1998 season, and the promise of this publicly financed facility was the
primary reason why Art Modell took his franchise away from Cleveland and its wretched stadium and here
into Baltimore.

Getting to the venue
The stadium is on the fringes of downtown and  accessible by expressways and public transit. Numerous
private lots surround the stadium, and plenty of people come down to tailgate, thus creating a festive outside
atmosphere. Quite a few of the nearby lots are reserved for permit holders, but surface lots and ramps are
plentiful throughout the Inner Harbor area in downtown Baltimore. Prepare to shell out at least $15 and as
much as $35 to park. Another great way to get down here is to park and ride the light rail system or MARC
trains which takes you right to the doors of the stadium.

Outside the venue
Connecting the stadium and the adjacent ballpark is a brick paved walk of fame decorated with banners on
the poles of Ravens players and Orioles greats. Here one can find entertainers, the marching band warming
up, radio stations passing out promotional items, and a complete carnival atmosphere. Absolutely
awesome. Besides tailgating, plenty of fans come down early to hang out and enjoy the atmosphere. Salted
pretzels, jumbo sized, seems to be the food staple sold outside the venue.

The exterior of the stadium sports a brick and glass facade and is surrounded by a spacious outdoor plaza
aptly named the Johnny Unitas Plaza.

The concourses
Concourses are very roomy and the lower concourse is decorated by over sized backlit advertising panels.
On our first visit, we had club seats and we were overwhelmed with the opulence and roominess of the
entire club level - carpeted, with numerous restaurants, bars, lounge areas with television monitors, and total
comfort and luxury. Escalators take club seat holders to the 200 level, but the upper level is served only by
ramps and stairs. Plenty of room to easily navigate the building.

The bowl
Absolutely stunning! The seats are all colored in Ravens purple,with the club seats a matching gray, and
dominating each end zone is a Smartvision video board, among the largest we have seen in the NFL. Unlike
some stadiums which position these boards high above the seating bowl, here in Baltimore the video
boards hang at club level, thus providing a closer viewing experience. Surrounding the club level balcony is a
smart combination of digital LED boards, synchronized ad panels and dot matrix boards all working in
unison. The Ravens do a great job with video clips, highlight reels and special effects to keep the fans
entertained.

Concessions
Good food selection. On the club level the crab cakes were really great! Daiquiri bars weren't bad either!
Concession items include Papa Johns Pizza, steak hoagies, various brands of Esskay hot dogs and brats,
and dessert carts including some sort of mini pumpkin pies. Food items are on the pricey side though,
prepare to shell out some bucks.

Banners/retired numbers
Since our first visit, the Ravens have added a "Ring of Honor" to celebrate their history. Owner Art Modell,
Earnest Byner and Michael McCreary are the first honorees. Most significantly, the Ravens also reserve a
place of honor for "Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts", celebrating the retired numbers of the city's first
NFL franchise. The Ravens also list their 2000 World Championship along with their division titles.

Touchdowns, extra points, fumbles...

Touchdown... Before the game, the team outlines their fan courtesy policies on the video board and implore
fans to behave and everyone to have a good time. The crowd joins in shouting the last phrase "Don't Be A
Jerk!". We wore visiting Bills colors and were treated well and welcomed by all who we encountered. Very
nice!

Extra point... The Baltimore Marching Band, the in house band for the team entertains outside before the
game and during the game as well. This tradition goes back to Colts days at Memorial Stadium.

Touchdown... with music of chains clanging, the "Chain Gang" sitting in one lower corner leads the cheer of
"move those chains" each time the Ravens get a first down.

Extra point. We saw our Bills play here on both of our visits,and our guys turned in wretched performances
each time, but with different results. On the first trip our Bills pulled it out 13-10 despite a horrible day by
Doug Flutie, and we went home happy. Fast forward to 2004 and Drew Bledsoe yucks it up with 5 turnovers,
and this time the Ravens prevail 20-6, but we go home... happy??? Hey, it's Baltimore... Inner Harbor, great
downtown, great sports venues, always a nice trip here!!

Summary
Newer venues have opened in the NFL since this one, but M&T Bank Stadium still stands head and
shoulders above its peers. Spectacular architecture fitting in with the Camden Yards district, a great
downtown location, a world class American city with a pulse and an energetic beat, and fans who love their
football and who have consistently sold out Ravens games since this franchise hit town. If we're lucky
enough to score some tickets, we will be glad to come back anytime!

SCORING:
Architecture: 7
Food and team store 6
Scoreboard and electronics 9
Ushers 5
Fan support 6
Location and neighborhood 9
Banners and history 7
In game entertainment 8
Concourses/fan comfort 8
Bonus: Tailgate scene 3,  Inner Harbor 1, Colts Banner 1, "Don't Be A Jerk" video 1
Total 71
M&T Bank Stadium
#14



M&T Bank
Stadium



Baltimore,
Maryland   October
31, 1999



Buffalo Bills at
Baltimore
Ravens



return
visit



October 24,
2004



Buffalo
Bills
at
Baltimore
Ravens



(Formerly
named PSI Net
Stadium and
Ravens
Stadium)