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MassMutual Center

Springfield, MA

Home of the Springfield Falcons

3.0

3.7

MassMutual Center (map it)
1277 Main St
Springfield, MA 01103


Springfield Falcons website

MassMutual Center website

Year Opened: 1972

Capacity: 6,866

There are no tickets available at this time.

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MassMutual Center, Home of the Springfield Falcons

The MassMutual Center, built in 1972 as the Springfield Civic Center and remodeled in 2005, is located in downtown Springfield, Massachusetts. Attached to the arena is a convention center, which is the largest in western Massachusetts. The arena has been home to several hockey franchises in the AHL, and even hosted the Hartford Whalers for part of the 1978 season when a roof collapse at the Hartford Civic Center forced the Whalers to search for a temporary home.

The MassMutual Center is made up of 31 sections separated by a central walkway. The lower bowl consists of seven rows of wide stadium seats, with the upper bowl containing up to 14 rows of seating. There is a premium seating area above the upper level which can be rented out for corporate or private events.

3.0

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    2

The menu at the MassMutual Center is disappointing, to say the least. Stands offering hot dogs ($4 for regular, $5 for foot-long) and nachos ($6.50) are numerous, but the menu does not stray far from these two basic items. For the especially hungry hockey fan, a "ten-ton" plate of nachos is available for $12, but I did not observe anyone at the game taking advantage of this offer.

Concession stands offer pretzels and popcorn (the kids' size popcorn in a cardboard Zamboni is a neat touch), and Pepsi products ($4 small, $5 large) are sold throughout the arena. The seemingly ever-present Dippin' Dots ice cream is available for sale. The stand is located just by a beautiful picture of a mouth-watering hamburger. Want a hamburger? You can't find one at this stand. For hockey fans watching their waistlines, there is a portable salad bar selling salads for $7.

Those wanting a more varied menu, such as the aforementioned hamburger, can check out the two lounges located just off the main concourse. The Breakaway lounge offers a full bar, seating, and several television sets to check out other sporting events being played elsewhere. Also located off the concourse is the Center Grille, offering an expanded menu, such as burgers and chicken tenders. There are television sets here as well for those fans wanting to keep up with other local teams' action.

There is no permanent team store at the MassMutual Center, but a decent variety of Falcons merchandise is available at a stand outside of section 29. In the past, the Falcons were one of the only local arenas where you could buy out-of town AHL and NHL pucks, but they have been replaced by a large selection of 20th anniversary Falcons items for the 2013-2014 campaign.

Atmosphere    4

The atmosphere on opening night is always more charged than on other nights, and opening night in Springfield in Oct, 2013 was no exception. The arena was full of families out to enjoy another season of watching their local heroes take the ice. The ice crew keeps the energy up during play stoppages, throwing countless t-shirts into the stands. Keep your eyes open for the playing of Surfin' Bird before every Falcons power play, accompanied by a majority of fans recreating the dance made famous by Peter Griffin of Family Guy fame (what, you were expecting something from The Simpsons?). Helping Screech, the Falcons' mascot, pump up the fans on this night was Pat the Patriot, enjoying an off week in Foxboro by taking in a hockey game.

Neighborhood    2

For many years, Springfield's downtown had a nasty reputation, and was not a place you wanted to be at night. If you did have a reason to be at the Civic Center, you were in and out without any side trips. The city is trying hard to change that perception, and the downtown area around the MassMutual Center has improved by leaps and bounds over the past several years. While the area around the arena doesn't compare to other New England minor league cities like Providence, Hartford, or Portland, it's not the ghost town it used to be.

Springfield's biggest attraction is located just a mile away from the MassMutual Center, across Route 91. The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame is open year round, and has more than enough basketball memorabilia on site to satisfy even the most rabid hoops fan.

Those interested in more literary pursuits should visit the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, located a short walk from the MassMutual Center. While there you can see bronze statues of the Cat in the Hat, Horton the elephant, and many other favorites.

Downtown Springfield isn't big on fine dining locations, and pickings are slim in the immediate vicinity of the MassMutual Center. JT's Sports Pub, a block away from the arena, is a popular gathering spot for Falcons fans before and after the game. Several fine hotels are located within walking distance of the arena, so finding a place to stay after the game shouldn't be an issue.

Fans    4

It can be tough for the Falcons to draw a large crowd on most nights, as the city of Springfield is surrounded on three sides by other American League hockey teams. Albany is just an hour and a half to the west, Hartford is a half hour to the south, and Worcester is an hour to the east. Add to that the fact that being affiliated with the Columbus Blue Jackets doesn't exactly pack the people in the seats in this Bruins-crazy area, and it can be easy to see why Springfield consistently ranks in the lower third of the American Hockey League in attendance every year.

I had the pleasure of attending the 2013-2014 season opener for the Falcons, and the crowd was in excess of 5,000. Club ownership has expressed hope that the Falcons' strong 2012-2013 season, coupled with a stable affiliation with the Blue Jackets, will allow the Falcons to approach their goal of 4,000 fans per game and put to bed frequent relocation rumors. On this night fans were out in force, loud, and supportive of their home team. Time will tell how well that support can be maintained.

Access    4

The city of Springfield dubs itself as "the crossroads of New England", and they may just be right. Located at the intersections of interstates 91 and 90, Springfield is only a 90 minutes' drive west of Boston, a half hour north of Hartford, and 90 minutes east of Albany. New York City is a mere 2 and one half hour drive away. Bradley International Airport is located only 18 miles away across the Connecticut state line and is served by all major airlines. The headquarters of Peter Pan Buses is nearby, as well as Springfield's Amtrak station.

There is a parking garage directly across the street from the entrance to the MassMutual Center, as well as a few surface lots. There is also plenty of free on-street parking in the vicinity for the frugal hockey fan.

The MassMutual Center features many handicapped seating areas, and several spacious bathrooms for an arena of its size. Lines to the restrooms are not an issue, except during intermissions at crowded games. The same cannot be said, however, for the concourse. While it is light years better than it was prior to the renovation, the concourse can be very difficult to navigate during intermissions.

Return on Investment    3

American Hockey League tickets are not the bargain they once were, and the Falcons offer tickets that range in price from $20 (end zone) to $25 (center ice sections). These prices place the Falcons on the lower end of the spectrum for New England teams. Factor in inexpensive parking ($7 in the garage right across the street from the MassMutual Center entrance), and you can afford to bring the family to a game without taking out a second mortgage on the house. Food prices may run a little higher, but they are not out of line with other arenas in the area.

Extras    2

Springfield has been a member of the American Hockey League since its founding days, and has fielded teams under several different names (Indians, Kings, and Falcons) throughout the league's history. The city is proud of its long hockey history, and efforts are made to remind fans of the history that has been made here. Plaques honoring Springfield hockey's hall of famers are mounted on the inner concourse wall, and Championship banners honoring Springfield teams dating back to the Indians and Kings hang from the rafters.

Final Thoughts

The market for minor league hockey is a tough one in New England, as there are seven AHL teams in the region. As a smaller city, Springfield must struggle to compete with the bigger boys in Hartford, Worcester, and Providence. Luckily, they have an arena that not only competes with some of these arenas, but is superior to them in many ways. Recent success on the ice has brought momentum to marketing efforts and added interest in the fanbase. Hopefully the front office can capitalize on this momentum and keep hockey thriving in one of the American League's traditional markets.

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Crowd Reviews

Is It Springfield's Time?

Total Score: 3.71

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 3
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 4

The Springfield Falcons of the AHL play their home games at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts. The MassMutual Center is a public building under the direction of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority and is run by the private facilities firm Global Spectrum. Built in 1972 as the original Springfield Civic Center, the arena underwent a massive renovation and addition of convention facilities in the late 1990's. The upgrades were completed in 2005 and the naming rights were sold to MassMutual Life Insurance for $5 million.

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Local Food & Drink

JT’s Sports Pub  (map it!)

1373 Main St

Springfield, MA 01030

(413) 733-5714

http://www.jtssportspub.com/

Local Entertainment

Basketball Hall of Fame  (map it!)

1000 Hall Fame Ave

Springfield, MA 01105

(413) 781-6500

http://www.hoophall.com/

Six Flags New England  (map it!)

1623 Main St

Agawam, MA 01001

(413) 786-9300

https://www2.sixflags.com/newengland

Lodging

Springfield Marriott  (map it!)

2 Boland Way

Springfield, MA 01115

(413) 781-7111

http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/bdlma-springfield-marriott/

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