HARRISON, N.J. – The Red Bulls announced Monday plans to introduce a safe-standing supporters section for the South Ward for next season. Safe standing is part of an on-going, multi-year initiative to refresh Red Bull Arena.
Details for additional upgrades to improve the in-stadium experience for 2020 will be announced as plans are finalized.
The project will be completed by Trex Commercial Products, the company that designed and manufactured the safe standing section at LAFC’s Banc of California Stadium.
“When we looked at where we wanted to upgrade our arena, we quickly came to the conclusion that safe standing for our supporters had to be a top priority,” Red Bulls general manager Marc de Grandpre said. “As an organization we strive to create the best in-stadium experience for our fans. Giving the South Ward a proper Supporters Section will provide a better, safer gameday experience, and we know the passion and commitment from ESC and Viking Army will continue to make Red Bull Arena one of the best home-field advantages in MLS.”
Safe standing will be implemented across the South Ward, the home of Empire Supporters Club and Viking Army, in sections 133, 101 and 102. RBA will become the third venue in North America to implement a safe standing with rail seating system, following LAFC and the LS Galaxy.
Safe standing with rail seating is designed to allow fans to safely and comfortably stand shoulder-to-shoulder for an entire match. The system designed by Trex also includes the option to unlock individual fold-down contoured seats, transforming the sections back to regular seating for international matches and other events at RBA.
The railings also will offer cupholders at every seat. Work has begun to remove the existing seats from the South Ward.
“Safe standing is the culmination of a long term project which began years ago for us,” said Bernon Fernandez, board member of Empire Supporters Club. “We believe this will enhance the experience for everyone at RBA, not just the supporters. We appreciate the efforts by the Red Bulls front office, The Harrison Fire Department and everyone else involved in making this a reality. We are excited about these changes and look forward to a new season in 101.”
The South Ward’s Red Seat, which originally marked the first goal scored in the arena, was dedicated to the memory of long-time ESC member Mike Vallo, who passed away in 2015. The Red Seat will be given to the Vallo family. A spot in the new safe standing 101 that commemorates Vallo will be unveiled when the safe standing project is completed.
“We at the Viking Army are excited with the announcement of safe standing seating, as we have been wanting this for years,” said Ralph “Chupi” Garcia, Viking Army board member. “We know it will bring added fun into the South Ward and step up our level of support a few notches.”
An open standing area also will be created immediately behind the South Ward, to allow space for supporters to meet and congregate while still maintaining a view of the action on the field.
Additional information for individual Red Members in sections 133, 101 and 102 will be communicated directly from the club, while members of Empire Supporters Club and Viking Army will receive additional details from group leadership.