PPL Park: Some Business Thoughts

On Saturday we made our first visit to Major League Soccer’s newest stadium gem.  At 3:30 in the afternoon in Chester, PA, the Philadelphia Union hosted the New England Revolution at PPL Park.  It was our first visit to one of Major League Soccer’s soccer specific stadiums, and the experience was fantastic.

Structurally and aesthically, the stadium looks great.  It’s waterfront location tucked under the Commodore Barry Bridge provides great views (ships heading down the river were visible throughout the match).  The stadium roof was classy and attractive and while it didn’t provide the promised shade, it was a wonderful design element.  The brick edifice was sharp as were the color schemes inside.  The stadium electronics were disappointing; the video screen was small and its images choppy.

The crowd was loud and PPL Park did an outstanding job capturing sound.  The announced crowd figure of over 18k seemed a bit overstated, but we were impressed by the percentage of fans wearing Union jerseys and apparel (the amount of Revolution jerseys scattered around was also impressive).  The absence of in-stadium announcements was a welcome change from other stadiums that we have attended.  Food choices were reasonable and included some local Philly favorites including Chickie’s & Pete’s crab fries.   Lines were long and there some problems moving fans through the concessions .

Highway access was very good with I-95 running right next to the stadium.  We were directed to off site parking and brought to the stadium in a shuttle.  The system worked very well on the way to the game and fairly well after.  However, we got on the first set of busses leaving the stadium after the game was over and it is likely that those who came later had a significant wait.  Those in our group who parked within walking distance were able to get out of their lots fairly quickly, and within 45 minutes of the end of the game we were back in Philly eating dinner.  Those who took the train also had a positive experience.

Overall, we thought the stadium great in almost all respects.  It is a great addition to the roster of MLS stadiums and should be a premiere venue in MLS for years to come.

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  1. […] PPL Park: Some Business Thoughts « Footiebusiness […]

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