Senior Vice President of Operations Jason Miller can only imagine the look on the faces of Eagles fans when they walk into Lincoln Financial Field for the preseason home opener on August 21 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Lincoln Financial Field looks vastly different than it did when the 2013 season came to a close. As the Eagles' offseason began, Miller and his crew went to work as the second phase of the $125 million Stadium Revitalization Project kicked off.
"Personally, when I walk around and look at things, I'm in awe," Miller said as he gave a tour of the stadium to the media on Wednesday. "For someone who is walking in here seven months after the last game of the season and they see how different everything is, it's very exciting."
The first phase of the Stadium Revitalization Project was completed prior to the start of the 2013 season. Last year, the Eagles installed WiFi, expanded the Pro Shop, enlarged the entrance gates and added graphics throughout the stadium. That was simply the appetizer. By mid-July, the Eagles will transform the gameday experience by placing nearly 1,600 more seats in the stadium. The Eagles and Panasonic have teamed up to install the highest-definition LED video boards in the entire NFL. In all, 9,400 square feet of video and ribbon boards will make the in-game experience almost as visually stunning as the action on the field.
"They're really in-your-face," Miller said of the video boards. "We spent a lot of time with Jeffrey (Lurie) and Don (Smolenski) just looking at all of the different video boards out there. This is the highest HD board that's out there. This is a 10mm HD board. Most HD boards are 13 mm. Jeffrey really wants what is best for the fans. We believe that this is going to be best for the fans. You add that little bit of a wow factor and that adds a punch."
Miller said that the scope of the second phase of the project is about three times the size of last year's undertaking. In addition to the seats and the video boards, a bridge is being built to connect the East and West sides of the stadium and the club levels are being renovated. There are 200 construction workers on site for the first of two shifts each day and up to 50 workers for the second shift.
"That has been very challenging because you need to start from the bottom up," Miller said. "When they built the stadium 12 years ago, they didn't add extra structural steel to handle that extra weight that we're building on top of it.”
Fortunately, Miller oversees a talented team that has kept the project on course despite one of the snowiest winters in Philadelphia history.
"We really have a great team all the way across. There are great supervisors all over the place, great managers all over the place,” Miller said. “It's a massive effort and it's really exciting and fun to see it come to shape."
In the end, the improvements should add to the Eagles' homefield advantage which will help the team so that the fans go home happy on gamedays.
"You add nearly 1,600 people. That's going to automatically make it louder," Miller said. "Now, you have a little more enclosure. That should also make a difference."