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Official Review by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The Chicago Eagles are members of the Champions Indoor Football League and play their home games at the UIC Pavilion in downtown Chicago. The multi-purpose facility was constructed in 1982 and offers seating for 9,500 spectators, a perfectly sized venue for the indoor version of the popular American sport.
The Eagles were originally set to begin their inaugural season in 2015 as the Southshore Gary Dawgs, but were delayed a year when one of its co-owners backed out. Originally called the Illiana Eagles, the team wisely opted for the Chicago moniker before their first season in 2016. The CIF was founded in 2014 and consists of 14 members offering a brand of indoor football similar to that of the Indoor and American Indoor Football Leagues.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The UIC Pavilion has a fantastic selection of menu items for all home games. There are two main concession stands that divvy up some flavorful local fare. There is one stand that offers hot wings, pizza puffs, coconut shrimp, funnel cakes, and root beer floats. An unusual assortment of flavors at a sporting event, but definitely tasty. The hot wings come with a variety of sauces and a serving of six wings and fries are only $8. A local favorite, pizza puffs, are also only $8. The other concession stand serves the usual fare of sports cuisine including hot dogs ($4), hamburgers ($5), pretzels ($4.50), nachos ($5), and pizza ($6.50). There are the Chicago classics that include Italian beef ($8), Polish sausage ($5.50), and brats ($5.50).
Pepsi products are offered in 24 and 32 ounce cups that range from $4.50-$5.50. Fresh fruit smoothies are also available between $6.50-$9.50. If you are looking for adult beverages, enjoy vodka, rum, and whiskey for around $10.
The Eagles do an admirable job keeping fans active during the game. Popular music is played between possessions, dance team members toss t-shirts, and PA announcers give away prizes to participants from the stands or on the field. All of these promotions provide a lot of interaction between the fans and the game. However, many enjoy the football on the turf with more than a few hard hits against the padded sidelines.
"Those are those wooo hits," explained Eagles head coach Tim Arvanitis. "When the crowd makes that sound, we have a lot of high impact activity."
One of the benefits of watching indoor football at the pavilion is being up close and personal to the players, even when they are barreling towards your seat on a run or a hit. Also, any football thrown into the stands is a lucky souvenir to take home, a common practice among the various indoor leagues.
The seating area is divided into an upper and lower section that forms a horseshoe shape with a giant black curtain and LED scoreboard situated in the open space. Most of the seats are in proximity and abundant giving the customer many possible vantage points. The home and away players can be found in the lower ends of the seats, while one coach is allowed on the field at a time behind plays.
The Eagles do not employ an official mascot, but do have a dance team that performs during quarters and halftime. They can also be seen throwing out prizes and shirts to fans in the stands and interacting with spectators in their seats.
The team sells a few merchandise items in the main lobby.
The UIC Pavilion is located in downtown Chicago near a few great bars, restaurants, and microbreweries. The original Al's Beef is within a few blocks of the arena and offers one of the tastier versions of the Italian beef sandwich. Haymarket Pub & Brewery is down the street on Randolph featuring a full service kitchen. The Bar 10 Doors offers 16 draughts, chicken wings, tacos, and panini sandwiches. The official hang out after the game for fans and players is the Wise Owl Drinkery & Cookhouse located a block north of the arena. The sports bar offers an eclectic assortment of cocktails and scratch made food.
If you need a place to spend the night, the Chicago Marriott and the Strategic Hotel are within reasonable distance from the facility. If you are in town with a dog, there is even the Pooch Hotel nearby while you are at the game.
The small crowd on hand provides a reasonable supportive soundtrack during the game. Throughout the contest a collection of fans of all age groups can be seen supporting the home team through chants, cheers, and dances. It's an admirable job for a collection of people who appear impressed at what they are watching, making their presence felt despite the small turnout.
It is rather very simple getting around the facility. The games are never full and one has the benefit of moving around with ease to and from their seats. The main lobby is open, providing customers a chance to watch the game while they are away from their seats. Signs are marked neatly for restrooms, exits, and seating sections in the main lobby.
The average price of a ticket at the box office is $28 ranging from as low as $17 to as high as $41. All of the upper deck seats are priced at $17, while the bottom section is broken into four price points that range from $22-$41. You have your options on what you want to pay. Parking in the two lots adjacent to the building will cost $15.
The crowd was small during my visit, but they did their best to cheer on the team during the game. Many stayed until the final seconds and seemed to be enjoying themselves.The Eagles also did a great job of involving many who were in attendance.
The UIC Pavilion provides an impressive array of food that is not only tasty, but also inexpensive.
The design of the arena provides a concourse that is almost fully wrapped, providing wide-open views to the field from the main concourse.
The game of indoor football is fun to watch and more enjoyable when there is activity throughout the game. The Chicago Eagles provide many aspects of in game promotions that are common in various leagues around the country. There is a niche market for the game in a big city like Chicago and hopefully the team makes the pavilion home for many years.
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1079 W Taylor St
Chicago, IL 60607
737 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60661
1259 W Taylor St
Chicago, IL 60607
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625 S Ashland Ave
Chicago, IL 60607