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Official Review by Matt Fiedler, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers call Webster Bank Arena home. The Sound Tigers have played here since 2001. The arena is located right off of I-95 and is visible from the highway. It is located right next to The Ballpark at Harbor Yard. The arena also is the home of the Fairfield Stags basketball team. The arena is located in Bridgeport, which has a reputation as a rough area. However, there are more developments springing up that will hopefully revive the area. The arena offers some great views of the harbor and the surrounding area. It is accessible by train and has ample parking available.
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".
Webster Bank Arena has all the standard fare and much more. For a fan looking for basic stadium fare, you can find it here at Webster Bank Arena. There are pretzels, popcorn, peanuts and nachos. You can also find hot dogs, candy, and fountain drinks. There is cotton candy, hamburgers, and Italian ice as well. There is a stand that sells hand carved sandwiches that come with a bag of chips. You can choose from turkey or roast beef, and I would highly recommend trying one.
There is also a wide variety of alcoholic beverages to consume. Limerick Pub is an area where fans can grab a bite to eat, grab a drink, or simply watch a game on their many televisions. It is a great spot to get some food and has a wide variety of beer and other alcoholic beverages. You will find Pepsi beverages at Webster Bank Arena.
The arena is aesthetically a very nice place. The scoreboard is very big and also very clear. It is a clean arena and the staff do what they can to get the crowd going. The mascot of the Sound Tigers is Storm and he roams around the stands and tries to get the crowd pumped up. There was a chuck-a-puck contest the day I attended and that seemed to go over well with the crowd. The PA announcer does a good job of being energetic and trying to pump up the crowd. Overall though, the place does not seem to have a lot of energy or excitement.
The city of Bridgeport has a history of being a very rough area. It isn't a great place to be walking around at night. It is located right next to The Ballpark at Harbor Yard, the home of the Bridgeport Bluefish of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. There are some things to do around the arena, but not too many. However, there is a new area near the stadium that is being developed. A short ride from Webster Bank Arena will bring you to the new Bass Pro Shop. Also in this new area is a Chipotle and a Starbucks. Although I would not recommend walking around the city of Bridgeport at night, there are at least a few things to do in the immediate vicinity. Bridgeport has a few good places to eat, and if you are willing to drive a bit, New Haven has excellent food.
The Sound Tigers have been down in recent years, but this year (2015-2016) they are experiencing a resurgence. The team is putting out a quality product, but still ranks in the bottom 5 in attendance. The Sound Tigers are averaging 3,433 fans per game. The announced attendance for the game I attended was 3,322 but there appeared to be far fewer fans than that. Some of this can be attributed to the game being played on a Sunday during football season. The fans that were at the game were nothing special. They cheer when something good happens, but other than that they are relatively silent. The fans are very respectful and I did not see any problems. The fans were simply not that into the game and it made the game feel very boring.
Webster Bank Arena is very easy to get to. Whether you are driving or taking public transportation, it is very easy to locate. The arena is located right off of I-95. It is visible from the highway and also has a large parking garage right next to it. Parking at the garage costs $10. There is also a train station located right near the arena. You can take Amtrak and arrive within walking distance of the arena. The area around the arena is pretty safe especially on game days, so parking on the street is a decent option. The arena has a concourse that is wide and easy to navigate. The bathrooms are very clean and there are many of them so congestion is not an issue. It is a breeze to walk around and take in Webster Bank Arena.
The prices at Webster Bank Arena will make you feel like you are at an NHL game at times. There are many food options and they are tasty, but they don't come cheap. Tickets for an upcoming game are $45 on Ticket Monster. There are AHL teams that provide much better value. When you add up parking, tickets, and food, you may have to shell out a fair amount to attend a Bridgeport Sound Tigers game. The seats all provide a good view, but the prices are just very steep for minor league hockey.
One star goes to the Limerick Pub. This pub is a great idea that gives the fans a place to eat, watch a game, and have a cold beverage. More AHL arenas should think about borrowing this concept.
A second star goes to the cleanliness of the arena. The arena is very well kept and is very easy to navigate. The staff does a great job at keeping the arena looking clean and neat.
A final star goes to the large HD video board. It is crystal clear and has all the relevant information about the game. Also included in this star is the merchandise stand where you can purchase Bridgeport Sound Tigers gear.
Webster Bank Arena is a very nice place. It is clean, easy to navigate, and has some creative concepts. Limerick Pub is a standout concept that I believe more arenas should use. However, the prices and atmosphere are really lacking. It makes me wonder what this arena would be like if more people showed up to the games. It is a nice place to watch some quality hockey, but it isn't worth going out of your way to visit.
Member Review by Prince
Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard is the home of the New York Islanders' American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. For the 2010-11 season, they're celebrating their 10th anniversary in Connecticut's largest city.
The arena is conveniently located right off Interstate 95, exit 27. In addition, you can take the Metro North railroad, New Haven line. Furthermore, if you're coming from Long Island you can take the Ferry from Port Jefferson to get there. These alternate options leave you within a short walk of the arena.
This is an ideal place to take a family for a day or night out. They offer a more affordable entertainment value compared to attending a major league event such as going to see the Islanders play at the Nassau Coliseum.
As for the Islanders, many players have played and developed their skills right here in Bridgeport. For example, current Islanders like Trent Hunter, Bruno Gervais, Blake Comeau, Frans Nielsen, Rob Schemp, Jeese Joensuu and Trevor Gillies have played for the Tigers.
Member Review by shamus170 on Feb 23, 2013
Since 2001, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers have been the anchor tenant in Webster Bank Arena, a busy facility in downtown Bridgeport. The AHL franchise is affiliated with the team that sits right across from them on the Long Island Sound, the New York Islanders. Both franchises have the same owner, and the Tigers have seen many future Islanders come up through the ranks. However, like their NHL partner, playoff hockey has not lasted long into the spring as the Sound Tigers have been eliminated in the first round of the AHL playoffs their last five appearances. Though Bridgeport is not a destination city, the mid-sized arena is a high-quality facility, and a recent addition above center ice has made the Sound Tigers’ home a place to check out.
Member Review by megminard on Mar 16, 2013
I attended a game here earlier this month. I did take the ferry ride over from Port Jefferson. A walk-on ferry ride there and back plus a game day ticket is $30.
The game I attended was a minor league Rangers vs Islanders game as the affiliates for both teams were playing. Always a good time.
Downtown Bridgeport is only 1/2 mile from the arena (I did not get an opportunity to visit the downtown area but it sounds like there are a lot of restaurants).
There were lots of giveaways at the game I attended. A program is handed out upon entering. Be sure to pick up a roster sheet at a fan table.
The temperature in the arena was comfortable; not too cold.
Member Review by puckmanri on Oct 18, 2013
Webster Bank Arena, formerly known as the Arena at Harbor Yard, has been the home of the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers since opening in 2001. Located right off of Interstate 95, the arena is located near Bridgeport’s busy waterfront. The arena has a horseshoe design, with 20 sections consisting of up to 24 rows. There are 33 luxury boxes scattered throughout the arena on two levels above the seating bowl, and a new video board dwarfs the ice below. At the far end of the rink are three rows of bar style seating, with a bank of windows behind them. During the day you can see trains passing directly behind the arena, as well as ferries coming and going to and from Long Island.
There is no entry lobby to the Webster Bank Arena, and the box offices are located on the outside of the arena. After a quick security scan, you enter the doors and are deposited directly onto the main concourse. Unfortunately, the design of the concourse does not allow for a circular trip around the rink, so those wishing to navigate the concourse have to do so in a piecemeal manner. Entryways into the seating area empty out into the bottom of the seating bowl, so fans need to climb up to get to their seats. Fans who have not been to this arena for a few years will find their gaze drawn immediately to the new video board, which has to be among the largest in all of minor league hockey. This arena is new, clean, modern, and attractive. But still, something is missing in Bridgeport…
Member Review by ryan291 on Oct 11, 2014
I always enjoy myself when I attend Sound Tigers games. However, I always leave though with a sour taste when I realize how much money I spent for a minor league game.
If you want a nice center ice seat you're looking at $34 plus $3 fees. Add in the outrageous $10 for parking and you're already at $47+ just to get in.....for the minors. The food has a nice selection considering the smaller size of the arena, however, again, it is very pricey.
I compared prices to a nearby AHL team, the Albany Devils, for comparison. Their ticket prices MAX OUT at $27. That's about the same cost as the CHEAPEST Sound Tigers ticket. Parking there is also only $6, essentially half the cost for the Sound Tigers. I would consider those prices to be a very fair price that I would be more than happy to spend and leave feeling like I didn't get ripped off.
The Sound Tigers only fill up roughly half of the arena, if that, for most games. They NEED to lower their prices a bit in order to get more attendance, especially since they aren't exactly a playoff team to where the ticket demand would be there regardless. They would make a killing on concessions if they were to get higher attendance on a regular basis. Personally, I would go probably twice as many times per season as I go now if this were to happen.
At the end of the night after food and everything I usually end up spending roughly $65 or so. That is INSANE for a single person to attend a minor league hockey game. The minors are supposed to be more of a working class attraction. They would be games that you could go to every weekend after work to have a good time. At those prices and especially in these economic times, that can't happen.
When I am there though, I do thoroughly have a good time. It is a fun atmosphere, it's just a shame at what it costs.
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