So, Philadelphia: Are you guys just not really interested in watching lacrosse? Goodness, an announced attendance of just 3,792 for the MLL championship. Like Connor said, we’ll get into that later; this is about being there, and what you may have missed from your couch.
I’m inclined to guess the league won’t be heading back to Philadelphia in the near future, which is really too bad, because PPL Park is a well-designed new stadium that features a remarkable view of the Delaware River, perfect for a day with such incredibly nice weather as Sunday. It’s only 30 minutes away from Philadelphia and extremely close to the interstate, which is a tremendously underrated feature for a stadium. Nobody likes driving through strange neighborhoods for an hour to find a stadium, and that goes at least double when you’re trying to drive home in the evening.
If you’ve been to a large-scale NCAA event, you know what you’re getting outside the venue, and the same applied for the MLL championship: Cascade showing off their lids, a trailer with Warrior gear to check out, you name it. Grab some stickers from a stringing company, take some rips on the radar gun, even have your picture taken in a new Jaguar (granted, that booth is a little less common than the others); the fans always enjoy checking out the vendors.
Another underrated stadium experience, and another area in which PPL succeeded, is the music played over the PA system, post-goal, like a player’s personal theme music. While Led Zeppelin managed to find a spot in the rotation, it was traditionally some extremely braggadocious rap verse that played out perfectly in light of the ridiculous goal we’d just witnessed. Post-goal music is certainly nothing new, but selection and variety are key, and the PPL crew spiced it up nicely. Let this be a lesson to you, other stadiums: We don’t need to hear “Hip Hop Hooray” 18 times a night. Nobody does.
During a TV timeout, two kids participated in a two-point contest. His team was down two goals in the fourth quarter, but Charlotte defenseman Brett Schmidt still put his hands out and made sure to dap the kids up as they ran off the field. After the game, Schmidt, Mike Sawyer and some of their fellow Hounds stuck around on the field to sign autographs for fans. Just a reminder, not only was this taking place five minutes after they lost the championship game, but right in the midst of the Chesapeake celebration. While the Bayhawks were hoisting the cup and taking pictures, some of the Hounds were twenty feet away, making sure everyone got an autograph. Nicely done.
Great conditions, a good-looking, reasonably located venue and an effort to make sure each fan went home happy added up to a perfect game experience for me, but there were some things I didn’t do (wait in line for a hot dog, ask for help finding my seat, etc) that could definitely sour your day if they didn’t go smoothly. If you attended the game and had a less-than-positive experience, be sure to share that in the Community as well; I’m sure the league would appreciate the feedback. As for me, I’d consider the MLL championship gameday experience a success, and look forward to attending the event in 2014. Hopefully you’ll be there as well.