In just two days Steelers Nation will be visiting Heinz Field for the team's Family Fest, highlighted by the first-ever training camp practice there.
There will be some changes fans will notice then, and even more when the team kicks off the preseason against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, Aug. 20.
From the scoreboard, to the field, to a favorite for all – food, the changes will be plentiful and will make for a better overall fan experience on game day.
One of the upgrades is noticeable before even entering Heinz Field, as the Gold 1 Garage at Art Rooney Avenue is completed and open for this season and has roughly 1,000 parking spots.
"It's hundreds of new spaces," said Nick Sero, corporate communications manager for Heinz Field. "It's going to allow fans easier access to the stadium because it's just steps from Gate B and Art Rooney Avenue, where all of the pregame experiences are. It also offers easy access to the highway."
Upon entering Heinz Field some standards are still in place, including the NFL clear bag policy and metal detectors, all in place for the safety and security of fans.
Fan engagement continues to improve at Heinz Field and the key factor in that is improved WiFi. And it's not just for checking out the Steelers App, which is location targeted for game day so fans can enjoy replays while in their seats. It's also for safety as it helps Heinz Field staff and security to monitor any issues.
"Last year we expanded the WiFi it into the clubs and the suites," said Sero. "This year we are furthering upgrading it. It will help with security purposes, for fan safety.
"It will also give the fans a better opportunity to engage with the team, connect with Heinz Field staff right through the app. It's a supplement to the fan engagement upgrades we are doing this year."
There will be changes to the Terrible Towel Wall, with fun new additions this year, and later in the season the Hall of Honor will be revealed in the Great Hall.
Take a look at what will be new at Heinz Field for the 2017 season.
The next step … is football. One look at the field and you can tell football is coming fast. The field looks to be in perfect shape for the Family Fest on Sunday, and ready to handle the upcoming season.
"It's the first time since 2003 that we ripped out everything and re-did it," said Sero. "After the U2 concert they took out the top six inches of the entire surface and replaced it. It has more sand in the texture of it for improved water flow and drainage. After the WPIAL Championship they will re-do the playing surface, bringing in more Kentucky bluegrass from our farm in New Jersey."
From the field, the seats, and all throughout Heinz Field you can see the changes to the scoreboard, which at 5,000 square feet is 45% larger and fully high-definition for the first time. The board offers variable content zones, allowing one large image or multiple zones for a combination of live video, instant replays and statistics.
And what would a new season be, without new food from ARAMark for the fans to enjoy, beginning with the preseason.
"There is not a lot of changeover from year to year in who comes to games at Heinz Field," said Sero. "It's a family atmosphere. We have returning customers and a large number of them. We want to shake up the food offerings so it never gets stale and fits the atmosphere."
Among the food features that will be available thanks to ARAMark beginning with the preseason are:
Steak and Egg Bagel– Shaved sirloin, sharp provolone, egg, arugula and roasted garlic aioli on a plain bagel (Sections 116,130).
Deli Stack- French fries topped with corned beef, horseradish, Dijon cheese sauce and pickles (Section
Signature Nachos- Ancho rubbed smoked brisket with cheese sauce, fresh jalapenos, pico de gallo and sour cream (Multiple sections).
Boski Kielbasa- Spicy Boski kielbasa with caraway sauerkraut (Sections 123, 537, Club levels 209, 233). And as we all know, Pittsburgh loves pierogis and there won't be a shortage of them at the Pittsburgh Pierogi House located at Section 119. It will feature the following:
Traditional- Potato cheese pierogis with sauerkraut, caramelized onions, sour cream and bacon.
Mexican War Streets- Potato cheese pierogis with green chicken chili, pinto beans, salsa verde and cilantro crema.
Bloomfield- Potato cheese pierogis with spicy Italian sausage, mozzarella, vodka sauce and Parmigiano Reggiano.