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Official Review by Dave Cottenie, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Following the 2013 season, the Pittsburgh Power are in a precarious position. They were hoping to solidify their existence in the Arena Football League and make them a team who would be a part of the league for the long haul. Unfortunately a mediocre year on the field has resulted in a drop in attendance, leaving onlookers to question if the Power will be a long-term resident in the Pittsburgh sports scene. The Power have followed in Pittsburgh tradition since their inception in 2011, donning the black and gold, and have links to Pittsburgh football royalty in Power owner, and Steelers legend Lynn Swan. This has not yet translated into the success on and off the field that Pittsburgh residents are used to. What does the future holds for the Power? Is it going to be Power-ful … or a Power Outage?
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There are plenty of great food options at the Consol Energy Center, however with the lower attendance figures that the Power are bringing in, there are numerous food stands that are not open. There are some major food chains that have stands that are open including Pizza Hut and Dunkin Donuts. Bud Light and Labatts Blue are your beer options for $8.25. On the east side of the arena you will find a bar open that has a wider variety of beer and liquor.
A bit of a unique feature of the Consol Energy Center is that you will not find Pepsi or Coke here. The soda of choice is RC Cola. Overall the menu is what is to be expected. The Power have promotions that offer $1 hot dogs and sodas, which is great for food, and even better for the return on investment.
The Consol Energy Center is a beautiful building and most definitely the home of the Pittsburgh Penguins. There is very little in the way of décor that allows the average fan to enjoy the Power as residents of the Consol Energy Center. There is a large video board above the field which is state of the art and crystal clear. There are also full double ribbon panels around the balconies.
Where the Power make up is in the game day experience. Throughout the game there is high energy music. The Power also curtain off the upper level of the Consol Energy Center to make the experience more intimate. The Sparks cheer team and kids cheer team entertain the crowd during the breaks. On the date of my most recent visit, the Power offered free t-shirts to all fans and the national anthem was performed by a sax player in one of the best renditions I have heard. At every Arena Football game, the fans get to keep the ball if it goes into the stands and free programs are a staple.
The immediate neighborhood around the Consol Energy Center is very hilly. The Center is located in downtown Pittsburgh, north of the north shore and near Duquesne University. If you are out and about before or after the game, make sure that you have sufficient energy and stamina to make it up and down the hills. You may consider the Red Ring or Tailgaters Bar as options for pre or post game dining or drinks.
The fans that show up for Power games are hearty and are into the AFL action. However, there are numerous empty seats even with the upper deck curtained off. In the 2013 season, the Power averaged fewer than 6,000 fans per game, which has them in the bottom quarter in the league for attendance. To have a more sustainable future, they probably need to bring that number up above 7,000.
The rivers, tunnels, bridges, and hills found in downtown Pittsburgh can make getting to the arena a bit of a challenge. The Consol Energy Center is located close to I-579 and there is ample parking around for approximately $15. The smaller crowds make moving around the arena easy and the washroom facilities are above reproach.
The opportunity for a great evening of football action for a low price is a distinct possibility. Many tickets can be found under $20 and all offer fantastic sightlines, especially since all are in the lower bowl. Parking is a bit expensive, but on $1 hot dog and soda day, my family ate for under $10!
The action and promotions for Arena Football are fantastic and offer a great opportunity for fans to be a part of the game.
An extra point for the Power following Pittsburgh tradition of sporting the black and gold.
An extra point for the budding rivalry the Power have with the Cleveland Gladiators. It's not quite Steelers-Browns, but it's on its way.
An extra point for Pittsburgh being the home of the first ever Arena Football game.
Arena Football offers great action to the fan at a low price. Since reforming in 2010, the AFL has struggled to return to the place they were before shutting down. The Pittsburgh Power are at that crux where the future is pretty cloudy. Whether Pittsburgh is looking at a Power-Outage, only time will tell. Hopefully, they can find more success on the field, which will bring more success off the field.
Member Review by profan9
On June 17, 1987 in front of over 12,000 fans at the Pittsburgh Civic Arena, the very first official Arena Football game took place with the Pittsburgh Gladiators claiming victory. Twenty-four years later, much has changed. The Gladiators have moved on to Tampa Bay, to become a cornerstone of the AFL and possibly its most successful franchise. The AFL has declared bankruptcy, gone away and returned. The Pittsburgh Civic Arena has gone dark and given way to the Consol Energy Center. Arena Football has returned to the city where it began, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, home of the Pittsburgh Power.
The Power is the latest expansion team in the latest incarnation of the Arena Football League. The Power include in their ownership group, Pittsburgh Steeler legend, Lynn Swan. It is this connection to the Pittsburgh sports scene, especially the Steelers, which aid the Power in cracking through the dense Pittsburgh sports market.
46 18th Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
1420 Centre Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
1015 Forbes Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
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