Phase One of the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium was unveiled recently at the 2016 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Week celebration held in Canton, Ohio.
Over three days, the venue was transformed from a sold-out “Concert for Legends” featuring Tim McGraw (August 5) to the stage for the Enshrinement Ceremony for the Class of 2016 – Edward J. DeBartolo, Jr., Tony Dungy, Brett Favre, Kevin Greene, Marvin Harrison, Orlando Pace, Ken Stabler and Dick Stanfel (August 6) to the field for the 2016 NFL/Hall of Fame Game between the Green Bay Packers and the Indianapolis Colts.
The game was ultimately called off, however, due to concerns over the state of the field.
The transformation took place over 72 hours helped by the first-time design strategy incorporated into the stadium by the HKS Sports & Entertainment Group and their clients, Industrial Realty Group, LLC and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Key design aspects included:
First-of-Its-Kind Stage: A permanent stage — embedded into the stadium’s seating bowl and located at midfield.
Typically, a stadium utilises temporary stage locations at the end zones or in the center of the field. This unique design allows people to be closer to the stage and have opportunities for interactive experiences.
Walkable Connections: The new Stadium is designed to provide a direct, convenient connection to the original Pro Football Hall of Fame, built in 1963. In the past, because of a steep difference in grade, patrons, Gold Jacket members, performers and VIPs had to walk around or be driven from the Hall of Fame to the stadium. Today, they can walk from one to the other.
Visual Connections: HKS lowered the playing field 12 feet to allow for a visual connection to the Hall of Fame. Before that, views of the iconic building were hidden from fans in the stadium behind the stands. Completion of phase-one construction of the stadium provides a literal, functional and visual connection.
Great care also was taken in designing a new stadium that maintained the history and tradition of the original 1938 stadium, respecting history while infusing the latest in stadium design.
Once the 2016 Enshrinement Weekend had ended, demolition began on the rest of the existing stadium.
The new, fully completed venue will open to the public during the 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement.
The next phase will include premium environments with suites, clubs and club seats; the latest in technology integration; roof terraces; fan concourses and amenities; and NFL standards throughout.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of what is to come. HKS, Inc. is designing and creating an expanded destination environment for the Hall of Fame Village. With the historic Hall as its nucleus and a new stadium to accommodate additional sports and entertainment events, the master plan envisions the site as a national destination and a regional asset that provides local connectivity to the Canton community.
Hall of Fame Village includes eight main components:
- Hall of Fame Museum
- Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium
- Four-Star Hotel & Conference Center
- Legends Landing (Assisted and independent living facility)
- National Football & Youth Sports Complex
- The Center for EXCELLENCE & Performance Center
- Main Street Hall of Fame (Retail, restaurants, office and residential)
- Hall of Fame Experience (immersive virtual reality)