Watching DC’s football team play their division rival in a picturesque suite setting at FedExField really put how sweet the stadium is in perspective. There’s an endless amount of mouth-watering food to choose from, local brews that hit close to home such as Port City Optimal Wit and Devils Backbone’s #ATTR – the brewing company’s exclusive golden ale made just for the Redskins – and seriously good views no matter where you’re seated. Whether you go to Redskins games all the time or you’re looking forward to your first game-day experience at FedExField, get ready to be blown away by the impressive 2019-2020 season offerings that the Washington Redskins home stadium has to offer.
The custom upgrades to FedExField are largely based on fan feedback, from heightened tailgate experiences to exclusive access to once hidden parts of the stadium. How does the home of the Redskins cater to DC’s fan base all the way in Landover, MD? To improve, at the end of each season, the Redskins organization holds a series of focus groups to hear about attendee experiences, which point them in the right direction for what exactly fans want. On Tap got an exclusive deep-dive tour of FedExField from Chris Bloyer, senior vice president of operations and guest experience for the Washington Redskins, who proudly went in-depth on exciting offerings for fans in the new season.
OT: Let’s talk about Redskins Gold, the new season ticket member club. What exclusive access does this offer fans during their game-day experience?
Chris Bloyer: Redskins Gold, our new comprehensive membership program, was designed to give our fans unprecedented experiences, amenities and benefits all year long. As a member, you will receive exclusive access from the minute you enter FedExField to the time you leave the game, including member-only entrances and concession lines, upgraded parking, preferred concession and shop pricing, as well as priority access to events, tickets and rewards throughout the year.
OT: What about the burgundy and gold themed Safeway RedZone Tailgating Lot. Is that new? How do you think it’s elevated the tailgating experience for fans so far?
CB: The RedZone Tailgating Lot is not new, but Safeway became the presenting sponsor in November 2018 as part of their exclusive grocery store partnership with the Redskins. The cool thing about the lot is that it opens one hour before all of the other lots and features a private entrance and exit, extra-large parking spaces for tailgating, live music, games, alumni and cheerleader appearances and more. It’s become a very popular amenity for fans who want to make a day of it and start celebrating at FedExField early.
OT: When listening to fans requests, how do you decide what experiences and additions to include every season?
CB: We try to address as many requests as we can, while also making sure it’s an investment that will impact a large percentage of fans. For some requests, we are able to action quickly. For example, there was a lot of interest from fans to attend training camp in Richmond this year as a group without driving, so we set up a free bus trip for Gold Members. We received great feedback from fans about that experience and it certainly added to the excitement as we entered the season. Other requests can take a bit longer to implement and we are continuously matching against some of our longer-term priorities.
OT: What are the Redskins providing for their fans’ game-day experiences that separates them from other stadiums in the NFL?
CB: Our incredible fan base will always be at the heart of what makes a Washington Redskins game special. This year in particular, we have given the fans new communal spaces to celebrate their favorite team together at the field, a wider variety of food and beverage options to commemorate the occasion, a greater selection of fan gear to show their team pride and a broader range of ticket options to ensure the experience is available to a range of people. It’s a combination of all these things that makes the experience special.
OT: What 2019-2020 addition to the game-day experience are you most excited about and proud of?
CB: The addition of more communal spaces. From the expansion and improvements to the Bud Light Party Pavilion, the Merrill Touchdown Club or the Ciroc Lounge in the West Loge, fans are really enjoying the opportunity to meet friends, listen to live entertainment and experience great moments they can share long after the end of the game.
OT: What prompted the idea to renovate the East Pavilion?
CB: The idea for this renovation ultimately came from last year’s successful West Pavilion renovation. With the east side, we made it four times larger with live entertainment during pregame and halftime, featuring the Washington area’s largest open-air, live sporting venue/stadium bar so that fans can enjoy the action on the field while immersed in a social environment. We hope it’s a place for fans to interact with one another and experience a camaraderie around their shared love of football and the Redskins. The space has been popular with fans so far this season and we expect that to continue.
OT: It’s incredible that FedExField has all these new food offerings such as Guy Fieri’s Chicken Guy. What are some other new in-stadium places that you think fans will be truly excited about?
CB: We are very excited to offer a variety of new food vendors this year. Guy Fieri’s Chicken Guy has certainly been a fan favorite and fans love the exclusive access, as this is only the second location in the U.S. and the first outside of Florida. The 49ers will become the second stadium to offer this fantastic and delicious food concept. Another big hit has been Paisano’s Pizza on the main concourse. Additionally, we’ve added Territory Foods, P.F. Changs, Firehouse Subs and have expanded our healthy food options. We’ve also continued the expansion of our craft brew options and for a second season; the Redskins’ own #ATTR Ale from Virginia’s Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company. It’s the first beer in team history brewed just for the Redskins and our fans really enjoy it.
OT: What’s your favorite aspect of managing the operations and coordinating guest experience for the Redskins?
CB: The opportunity to help our fans enjoy their time with us. From the ushers to the police to the concessions stands, our staff is largely comprised of Redskins fans who, like me, have some of their fondest memories while attending Redskins games. It’s our responsibility and privilege to do everything we can to ensure our fans get the great experience they deserve.
Enjoy all the new upgrades at the next Redskins home game on Sunday, October 6 at 1 p.m. against the New England Patriots. Tickets start at $110. Read more about FedExField and the Washington Redskins at www.redskins.com.
FedExField: 1600 Fedex Way, Landover, MD; www.redskins.com