What's new in the Sunderland AFC Fan Zone this season?

People enjoying the SAFC Fan Zone last season.
People enjoying the SAFC Fan Zone last season.
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The Sunderland AFC Fan Zone will be making a return when the new season kicks off - but with a few new features.

The Fan Zone has proved to be hugely popular addition to matchdays at the Stadium of Light, with thousands of supporters taking advantage of the area, both pre and post-match.

People enjoying the SAFC Fan Zone last season.

People enjoying the SAFC Fan Zone last season.

Located on the south east corner of the stadium site, it opens three hours prior to kick off and re-opens again at the end of the game, allowing fans to continue to enjoy the matchday experience with fellow supporters for a little longer.

The Black Cats take on Middlesbrough in the opening home game of the season, at 1.30pm on Sunday, August 21. The Fan Zone is open at 10.30am on the day and a range of entertainment is on offer for Sunderland fans, including live music from local band Para Alta. The five-piece outfit, who hail from Hartlepool, are due to release their first single in early 2017.

As well as live music, fans will be able to enjoy match highlights and classic games on a giant screen, along with a range of interactive games and activities, competitions, face painting for young fans and on-stage entertainment, featuring a Q&A with club legend Kevin Ball.

Added to the packed programme of entertainment, there is a great range of food and drink options, with the introduction of several new ranges and special offers for the season ahead. Highlights include a special for the Middlesbrough game of parmo chicken and chips, along with a selection of gourmet burgers, pies and wraps. There are also vegetarian options and children’s menu choices available.

People enjoying the SAFC Fan Zone last season.

People enjoying the SAFC Fan Zone last season.

The stadium concourses will also feature a range of new products such as a Bovril Chicken Wrap along with old favourites such as the famous chicken balti pie - turnstiles open from noon ahead of Sunday’s game for fans wishing to try out the new products.

Season card holders can use their SAFC Rewards vouchers both in the concourse bars and in the Fan Zone. Offers for the 2016-17 season include two-for-one on pies, pie and a pint for £4, a free portion of chips with any burger.

Full details and offers are included in the Rewards booklet, sent out recently with Legion of Light magazine. Fans can also visit www.safcrewards.com for all the latest exclusive offers. There are also a number of early arrival offers on food and drink in the Fan Zone at each game.

To access the Fan Zone, fans simply need to show their 2016-17 season card or a valid match ticket. The Fan Zone will not be open to away fans for the Middlesbrough game.

People enjoying the SAFC Fan Zone last season.

People enjoying the SAFC Fan Zone last season.