It’s no secret that since winning Super Bowl 47, the Baltimore Ravens saw a gradual disconnect between the team and the fanbase. This offseason, the Ravens listened to the noise to mend the relationship with fans.
The Baltimore Ravens, as we all know, have missed the playoffs four out of five times since their Super Bowl 47 win in New Orleans. Joe Flacco has not lived up to his big contract, the offense has been boring to watch, and the front office has missed on several early round draft picks, highlighted by Breshad Perriman.
All of these factors led to an alarming amount of empty seats at M&T Bank Stadium in recent seasons. Even when the Ravens hosted the Bengals in week 17, needing a win to make the playoffs, the stadium was half-empty. Over the last few months, the Ravens have made some changes, inside and outside of football, with hopes of bringing more fans back to home games in 2018.
On the field: A glimpse of the future
Easily the biggest story of the Ravens’ offseason was drafting Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson 32nd overall. With Flacco averaging just 5.7 yards-per-attempt last season, the Ravens needed to put some pressure on their longtime quarterback.
It is true that the Ravens’ offense has lacked play-makers in recent seasons, but Flacco’s play does not match his paycheck. With no guaranteed money left on the 33-year-old’s contract after the 2018 season, Jackson could get on the field before we know it. Whenever Jackson does play, he’ll bring a dual-threat quarterback presence that could be 10 times more exciting than anything Flacco can do. Jackson scored 119 touchdowns in college, and might be the game-changing offensive weapon that Ravens fans have been begging for.
Off the field: Wallet-Savers
It’s the little things.
On Thursday, the Ravens introduced a “Flock Friendly Fare” initiative that will reduce prices for 21 gameday menu items. 12oz domestic beers dropped from $8 to $5, water bottles are now $3 rather than $5, and a combo meal consisting of chicken tenders, french fires, and a souvenir soda now costs $12 instead of $19.
The Flock Friendly Fair follows the precedent that the Atlanta Falcons set in 2017. The Falcons’ prices are still lower than what the Ravens are offering, but these prices are not unreasonable, like they previously were. Football fans love to tailgate before games, and there are other options outside M&T Bank Stadium. Good examples are Pickles Pub and the vendors under Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. These new prices make eating at M&T Bank Stadium much more affordable, and $5 beers in 2018 is a great price for alcohol at a professional sporting event. Even though lowering concession prices has no impact on the team, the gesture is very appreciated by The Flock.
The Bottom Line
For the Ravens, winning and winning a lot will pull people back more than anything else. But, considering how long the Ravens went without making an effort to change the current product, the actions they’ve made this spring were a huge step in the right direction. Hopefully the Ravens’ offseason strategies translate into more wins in 2018 with M&T Bank Stadium rocking like it hasn’t in a long time.