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Santander Arena

Reading, PA

Home of the Reading Royals

3.7

3.7

Santander Arena (map it)
700 Penn St
Reading, PA 19602


Reading Royals website

Santander Arena website

Year Opened: 2001

Capacity: 7,083

There are no tickets available at this time.

Reviews

Local Information

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The Royal Treatment

Reading, Pennsylvania is the county seat of Berks County and has a population of 87,893. That makes it the fifth-largest city in the state. According to the 2010 census, Reading has the highest share of citizens living in poverty in the nation. Unfortunately the city is experiencing hard times, but sporting events like the Reading Royals and the nearby Reading Fightin' Phils games at FirstEnergy Stadium make the city a destination for sports fans.

The area was the home of author John Updike and LPGA golfer Betsy King. And nearby Wyomissing was the childhood home of Taylor Swift before her move to Nashville, Tennessee and major stardom.

At one time, outlets were a major tourist industry in the area. The VF Outlets in West Reading still gets a decent bit of tourism traffic.

The Reading Royals started in 2001 after the dormant Columbus Chill franchise moved in after being replaced by the Blue Jackets in the Ohio capital city. The Royals won their first Kelly Cup Championship in 2013.

The team is currently affiliated with the Philadelphia Flyers after previous affiliations with the Kings, Bruins, Capitals and Maple Leafs (partial affiliation).

The Santander Arena sits on the site of the historic Astor Theater. The art deco-style theater was built in 1928. The 2,478-seat venue operated until 1975, then was demolished in 1998 to clear space for the Sovereign Center arena . It sat vacant for over two decades and was in no shape for repair.

Santander Arena was formerly known as the Sovereign Center. The Pennsylvania Roar (MISL), Reading Rockets (PLL), Reading Express (IFL) and Reading Railers have called the arena home. The ASI Panthers indoor football team currently play in the arena. Interestingly enough was the time that the New York Majesty of the Lingerie Football League used the Santander Arena as their home venue. One has to wonder why the team name was used.

Besides the 7,083 seats, the arena has 701 club seats and 20 luxury suites.

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

The Santander Arena has a pretty amazing variety of food. Besides the permanent food stands, there's a dizzying array of temporary stands crowding the concourse. Penn State Stickies, Cabana Stand, Royal Ice, Coffee Stand and Pauline's Soups add to the variety.

Soda is generally $3 and $4 around the arena. Beer varieties and prices are all over the map.

A good value at the general food stands is the cheeseburger basket at $8.50. I would also suggest checking out the Xfinity Sky Lounge on the top level and seeing what their daily specials are. For around $10, you can usually find a good food deal that accompanies a good view of the game.

A couple of other favorites are the Philly pretzel twists ($4) and the local brewery outpost of Stoudts Pub.

You will not likely go hungry at a Royals game. And with the low price points, your wallet will enjoy the effect.

Atmosphere    4

There is one level of dark blue seats that surrounds the rink. They are nicely sloped and give everyone a great view of the action on the ice.

A new scoreboard sits over the ice and offers all the entertainment value as seen at larger venues. It is state-of-the-art and enhances the game.

There is an older video board on the north end wall that is used for advertising and game info, but the video is a lower quality than that of the main board.

The arena is designed with a fairly low roofline. It makes the arena a bit dark, which actually draws the eye even more towards the on-ice action. The whole venue smacks of an older design, which is not a negative. Anytime you can offer a classic game experience, while still offering modern amenities, that is a good thing.

Neighborhood    1

Frankly, the downtown neighborhood is not the greatest. Jimmy Kramer's Peanut Bar and the Ugly Oyster Bar are a couple of great places within walking distance. It is also fun to stay at the historic Abraham Lincoln Hotel, which is where famous band leader John Philip Sousa died..

The Reading Pagoda is the city's signature attraction. Located on Mount Penn, just five minutes east of downtown, the Pagoda is a landmark building worth checking out.

Wander over to West Reading and check out the Chatty Monks Brewing Company (610 Penn Ave, West Reading, PA). They offer some great local brews and great food options in a small friendly environment. It is just down the street from the VF Outlet Mall.

Fans    4

The Reading fans seem very knowledgeable, and in typical Eastern Pennsylvania style, can be quite adamant in their support. The only real issue is that the economy has not been kind to the area, and sometimes the fans don't quite fill the arena to capacity for all games.

Access    4

Reading is located near I-78, I-176 and I-76. Other major routes are Route 61 or US-222. With the Santander Arena located downtown, you will have to navigate some typical urban streets, many that are one-way in direction, to get to the arena.

Parking in nearby lots and garages is $5. I would not suggest on-street parking, as the neighborhood is not always the best.

Return on Investment    4

Tickets are a pretty good price, and can vary from $12 to $28, depending on seating location. Be on the lookout for package deals, where a family of four can attend, get food and a drink for a good value of $56.

Extras    4

Go in via the main entrance off of Penn Avenue and check out the Astor Theater chandelier and ornate gates, which were installed to sense a bit of history.

The hat trick case on the concourse displays the large amount of hats that have been thrown onto the ice surface during those scoring opportunities.

Two other great informational walls are in display. The first is a 10-year history wall depicting the many great events of the arena's brief history. And the second is the Reading Hall of Fame display. Both are worth checking out.

Final Thoughts

Hockey does well in the towns of Pennsylvania. Reading is no exception, as Santander Arena and the Reading Royals offer a great place to watch a game, with many food options, at a great value.

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Crowd Reviews

Sovereign Rule

Total Score: 3.57

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 2
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 3

The Reading Royals are the ECHL affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Royals play In the Sovereign Center, a 7,100 seat arena built in 2001. The arena was quite nice and made for an enjoyable experience.

Royal Party

Total Score: 3.71

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 2
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 4

This team is owned by the same people who own the Reading Phillies and they are following the same playbook. Going to a game at the Sovereign Center is like going to a huge party, a LOUD party. The kids love it and the prices are great. I'm not a hockey fan but either are most of the people there. Just a bunch of people having a good time and screaming their heads off.

Reading Rocks!

Total Score: 3.86

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

One of the best minor league experiences I've been to. Great selection of food, good sightlines. Neighborhood is kind of sketchy after dark.

Reading Rocks!

Total Score: 3.86

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

One of the best minor league experiences I've been to. Great selection of food, good sightlines. Neighborhood is kind of sketchy after dark.

The Royal Treatment

Total Score: 3.43

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 3
  • Neighborhood: 2
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 3

Pennsylvania may be known as a state crazy for football, but there is another sport that garners much attention. Along with the very popular Flyers and Penguins, local minor-league teams feature some passionate fans and fun places to play. Whether it's perennial AHL attendance leaders Hershey, all-time AHL sellout streak holders Wilkes-Barre or one of the OHL’s loudest buildings in Erie; the state’s teams offer a great arena experience. That includes the Santander Arena, home of the ECHL’s Reading Royals. Both the arena and team were born in 2001, and you can see by looking at the logo and team colors what the parent club was at the time (LA Kings). Now affiliated with Washington, the city is still looking for its first Kelly Cup. Though attendance is not high, fans are passionate and they create a great atmosphere to watch some hockey.

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Local Food & Drink

Kramer's Peanut Bar  (map it!)

332 Penn St

Reading, PA 19602

(610) 376-8500

http://peanutbar.com/

Speckled Hen Cottage Pub & Alehouse  (map it!)

30 S 4th St

Reading, PA 19602

(610) 685-8511

http://www.speckledhenpub.com/

Chatty Monks Brewing Company  (map it!)

610 Penn Ave

West Reading, PA 19611

(484) 818-0176

http://www.chattymonks.com

Local Entertainment

Lodging

Homewood Suites by Hilton Reading  (map it!)

2801 Papermill Road

Reading, PA 19610

(610) 736-3100

http://homewoodsuites3.hilton.com/en/hotels/pennsylvania/homewood-suites-by-hilton-reading-RDGPAHW/index.html

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