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Talen Energy Stadium

Chester, PA

Home of the Philadelphia Union

3.7

3.5

Talen Energy Stadium (map it)
1 Stadium Dr
Chester, PA 19013


Philadelphia Union website

Talen Energy Stadium website

Year Opened: 2010

Capacity: 18,500

There are no tickets available at this time.

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Sons of Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Union competes in Major League Soccer (MLS) as a member of the Eastern Conference of the league. They began in 2010 as an expansion team. Earlier attempts to bring the MLS to the area failed at Trenton, New Jersey and at Rowan University (also in New Jersey). The MLS is soccer's highest level in both the United States and Canada

Talen Energy Stadium opened in 2010 after commitments of $30 million from Delaware County and $47 million from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Until 2016 it was called PPL Park.

Besides soccer, there have been two “Battle of the Blue” football games played here between the University of Delaware and Villanova. The stadium has also hosted two quarterfinal matches in the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship, the Major League Lacrosse's Championship known as the Steinfeld Cup, the 2015 ACC Lacrosse Championship and for the last two years the NCAA Division I and Division III Women's Lacrosse Championship. The 2013 College Cup was held at Talen Energy Stadium and the tournament will return to the venue in 2016.

Talen Energy Stadium hosted its first rugby union international on November 9, 2013, when the Māori All Blacks squared off against the United States. That match was won by the visiting New Zealand Māori All Blacks 29-19. The stadium is also home to various concerts and other events.

Chester, PA is a city of 33,972 located in Delaware County. Located southwest of Philadelphia towards Wilmington, Delaware. It is situated on the Delaware River. Widener University is also located in Chester.

3.7

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    5

Talen Energy Stadium has a pretty incredible variety of food options. The concourse has a large variety of almost every food type. This is the Philadelphia area so cheesesteaks are always prevalent. I noticed at least four different kinds being offered at around $10. The chicken cheesesteak is a personal favorite.

Chickie's and Pete's also has a couple of locations inside the stadium. The staple here is their Crab Fries. You must try them at least once. They also offer a pretty good chicken cutlet sandwich, available plain or in buffalo style, for $9.75.

There are a few other unique options around the concourse. "The Striker" is a sandwich that features Pork Roll (a south New Jersey favorite) and Cheese, while another stand has a brie and apple grilled sandwich. The Barbeque stand features Pulled Pork ($10) and Brisket ($10) options. You will not go hungry here, although the prices are pretty high.

Another cool option is the soft Philly style pretzels in the shape of a U for Union. These are a good value at $4.50. Turkey Hill Ice Cream can be found around at a few stands.

Beer can be bought for $7.50 and up. Local options such as Victory and Dogfish Head are more expensive, but sure taste better than the standard beer options.

Atmosphere    4

The tailgate scene in the parking lot is pretty strong. It looks like the parking lot of Lincoln Financial Field, or some other football stadium. There are many more people out there than I expected. The various supporter groups each have strong showings.

Once inside the stadium you will find a U-shaped set of three grandstands, with an additional smaller stand at the riverside. This is called the "River End" and is where the team's supporter groups sit during the game. That area can get pretty rowdy and lively.

I like that it seems like a European stadium in that the team name is spelled out in the East stand seats.

The main complaint is that there is only one scoreboard, located in the north end and is hard to see for many fans.

Neighborhood    1

The neighborhood is terrible. Chester is a downtrodden community that is not showing much life. The area around the stadium is safe on game days but you will not want to venture too far away. There is no reason to do so as there are no local establishments worth going to.. Keep to the local parking lots and areas where there are fans.

Harrah's Casino is right down Delaware Avenue from the stadium. If you are the gambling type this may be worth a visit. They offer gaming, as well as OTB and live harness racing. The track was built over top part of the river, so it is worth checking out.

There is a nice entrance plaza, where kids can expect to play some interactive games and participate in various vendor giveaways.

There are additional plans calling for a riverwalk amidst other entertainment, retail, and residential projects in the area. None of these are currently close to opening.

Fans    5

The most famous of the Union fans are the Sons of Ben supporter group. They were founded in January of 2007, way before the team was actually in existence. The group is a registered nonprofit, with more than 5,000 members; they also used to manage the Philadelphia Independence supporters group Daughters of Betsy.

There are other supporter groups that crowd the River's End part of the stadium. So check out the Tammany Saints, IllegitimateS, The Bridge Crew and the Corner Creeps. When the rival New York Red Bulls are in town, expect these groups to be very loud. They all provide a great match-time atmosphere.

The rest of the fans are also good. The stadium is loud and knows and understands the sport very well.

Access    3

The stadium can be pretty easy to get to. It is not far from I-95 via Route 322 towards New Jersey. If you cross the Commodore Barry Bridge from Pennsylvania you have gone too far.

Delaware Avenue is the main street right by the stadium and runs north all the way to the Philadelphia International Airport.

Parking is pretty expensive at $20, but is fairly plentiful. There are also shuttles to the SEPTA Chester Transportation Center for the regional train, but I don't really think it is a popular option. There is also an Uber and Lyft specific lot located near to the stadium.

Access getting out, after the games is much more difficult. There will be lots of cars slowly trying to get back onto Route 322 West. Expect delays as no one sticks around the area after the game.

Return on Investment    4

The parking is $20 so that drives down the return on investment. But the tickets are generally average by MLS standards. $25 to $50 will get you a seat, while the sideline seats that go from $40 are the best values.

Extras    4

The dramatic view of the Commodore Barry Bridge makes this stadium stand out. It provides a cool atmosphere for watching the matches.

While marveling at the bridge, you can also admire the River's End seating area. That lively set of groups stands and cheers the whole match. If you can handle the constant drumming and chanting you are good to go.

Tailgating is quite good at the stadium. I did not expect to see that level of support for American soccer.

You should also wander around the concourse and look at the various soccer memorabilia presented. The team is really trying to be a member of the local soccer community. While in this area you should also stop by the well stocked Union fan store to see the many ways you can support the team by wearing their merchandise.

Final Thoughts

Talen Energy Stadium is a well design soccer stadium located on a beautiful setting along the Delaware River. The only bad thing is that the neighboring areas of the city of Chester are not a idyllic as the setting.

Makes me want to buy a ticket! Glad to see that the Philadelphia Fans are supporting the Union, eve

Makes me want to buy a ticket! Glad to see that the Philadelphia Fans are supporting the Union, even if we have to drive out to Chester.

by RRyan | Aug 25, 2010 06:00 AM

Yeah, the neighborhood really leaves something to be desired, but come early and tailgate. Or come e

Yeah, the neighborhood really leaves something to be desired, but come early and tailgate. Or come early and eat yourself silly inside. It really is amazing.

by gtcrawley | Aug 26, 2010 06:28 AM

Wow!

The stadium looked beautiful on TV, but I am definitely surprised by the quality of the food and how the Sons of Ben helped enhance the atmosphere for the rest of the stadium! Thanks for posting these MLS stadium reviews, it helps me narrow down where you can find the cheapest beer prices!

by hoosh | May 05, 2011 04:49 PM

Amenities map?

Does anyone know where I can find an amenities map for PPL Park? I'm really looking forward to the food described in the review, but where in the stadium is it?

by Joakes | Oct 25, 2013 08:52 PM

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Crowd Reviews

Perfect Union

Total Score: 4.29

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 1
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

PPL Park is the home of Major League Soccer's Philadelphia Union. It is a brand new stadium for a brand new team, and my expectations were high going in. Taylor Twellman of the New England Revolution on Twitter recently called it the best stadium in MLS.

He was not wrong.

The Union

Total Score: 3.86

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 1
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 4

There are not many fan bases that can say they helped bring a professional team to town, but in Philadelphia the passion for an MLS franchise, spearheaded by supporters “Sons of Ben”, was instrumental in securing a team. The 2013 campaign is the club’s fourth season, and the Philadelphia Union have established themselves nicely in the city’s otherwise busy sports scene. While the location of the stadium outside of Philly remains the biggest downfall of the experience, the rest of PPL Park is just about perfect. From the passionate fans to the aesthetically pleasing design and amazing view, this soccer-specific stadium remains as one of the best in MLS.

Best skyline view

Total Score: 3.57

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 1
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 3

Best skyline view of the dozen or so MLS stadiums I've seen in person, and probably #1 overall. The view on the official review is near where I usually sit around section 113 in the corner. I've taken SEPTA and the shuttle on my roughly half dozen visits over the past couple of years and they provided quality motorcoaches each time. The trains operate once an hour but the timing works for games that begin and end on the hour but tight for games ending at :30. Yes the parking is $20 at the official lots as I saw the signs, in comparison the PATH garage near Red Bull Arena is only $10. Noisy passionate River End crowd adds to the atmosphere.

Sons of Philadelphia

Total Score: 3.71

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 1
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 4

I remember going to Detroit Tigers games as a kid with my father and watching with apprehension as the old Corktown ghetto enveloped us on the way to the stadium. The relief of finally reaching Tiger Stadium, a gleaming beacon in the middle of blight, was always palpable even in the innocence of youth.

Corktown wasn’t always a ghetto, but the neighborhood suffered tremendously in the race riots of the 1940’s and 1960’s and gradually turned into one. These days, all of the ghetto ballparks are gone, with new stadium developments in all four of the North American major sports either taking place in revitalized downtown areas or areas marked for gentrification, or out in the suburbs surrounded by safe, calming parking lots and highways.

But then there’s Major League Soccer. The redheaded stepchild of North American sport builds their stadia where they can find a land deal or a community willing to subsidize their construction, and I couldn’t help but remember my childhood experiences of driving to Tiger Stadium as we pulled off the newly-constructed highway off ramp into the blighted neighborhood of Chester, Pennsylvania and down to the riverfront, where Talen Energy Stadium stands as a gleaming beacon in a sea of urban decay.

Rain Rain, and More Rain

Total Score: 2.00

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 2
  • Neighborhood: 0
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 2
  • RoI: 2
  • Extras: 1

Went to a game in a torrential rainstorm, which affected the crowd somewhat. The stadium is not equipped to handle this sort of weather and there wasn't a dry spot in the place. Fans were forced to leave umbrellas outside in a strange rule, not that they would have made a difference but why not allow them in and instruct fans not to use them. The drainage system was incredible though, and the play on the field did not suffer greatly from the rain. Actual attendance was less than half what was announced, but you can't blame many fans for staying home, though you have to cut the score. I'm sure this is a great place when the sun is shining, but on this night, it was not and the team did nothing to reward those fans who did show up.

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Local Food & Drink

Ob’s Jamaican Restaurant  (map it!)

1000 W 2nd St

Chester, PA 19013

(610) 874-4530

http://www.yelp.com/biz/obs-jamaican-restaurant-chester

China Wok  (map it!)

2520 W 3rd St

Chester, PA 19013

(610) 859-8737

https://www.facebook.com/pages/China-Wok/108349142563000

Local Entertainment

Lodging

Best Western Widener Hotel & Suites  (map it!)

1450 Providence Ave

Chester, PA 19013

(610) 872-8100

http://www.bwwidenerhotel.com/

South Bridge Bed and Breakfast  (map it!)

2628 South St

Philadelphia, PA 19146

(215) 219-2682

http://www.bedandbreakfast.com/pa-philadelphia-southbridgebedandbreakfast-page.html

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