DCU Center – Massachusetts Pirates
Photos by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29
DCU Center 50 Foster St Worcester, MA 01608
Year Opened: 1982
DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts is a dated facility, but the staff does a lot to make the experience fun for the fans. In addition to hosting the Massachusetts Pirates of the Indoor Football League (IFL), DCU Center also hosts the Worcester Railers of minor league hockey’s ECHL. The facility opened in 1982 and holds 14,800 fans – however, the upper level is curtained off during Pirates games due to the lower attendance at those games.
Food & Beverage 4
Not all the concession stands at DCU Center are open during Pirates games, but there are plenty of options available, and there are also several bars in the facility, some of which have views of the field (there is a bar behind each end zone with seating that looks out onto the field).
You can find all the traditional fare at Massachusetts Pirates games – hot dogs, burgers, pizza, chicken sandwiches, cotton candy, chips, pretzels, nachos, popcorn, and packaged candy, although you will have to check different stands to find all these items, as none of the stands sell them all. While there is no food item that stands out as unique, really, the drink selection is very wide, with plenty of beer, wine, and mixed drink choices, plus alcohol seltzers, bottled water, tea, coffee, and soda. In fact, the drink selection is probably larger than the food selection.
Prices are a little hit and miss in terms of cost – hot dogs are $5, for example, which seems reasonable, but burgers and chicken sandwiches are $10 each, which seems on the high side. Regardless, you should be able to find something within your budget if you look around.
As I mentioned above, the facility is a little dated, but the seats are all chairbacks and have padding, which is a nice touch. The seats are also all very close to the field, so you have a good view of the action.
The staff has the traditional fan contests, as well as the ubiquitous dance team and mascot. They also bring in local flag football teams (young kids) to scrimmage at halftime. The field itself is a bold blue in the Pirates colors, similar to a well-known FBS stadium you may have heard of.
There are no pyrotechnics when the team comes onto the field, but the inflatable tunnel is really cool – it looks like a wooden sailing ship with a pirate (complete with hook hand) piloting it. They also have inflatable play areas for the kiddos in the lobby, and a massive team gear section.
A few blocks from DCU Center there are numerous eateries, including mostly Asian and fast food restaurants, as well as a couple of hotels (Hilton, Holiday Inn, AC, and Homewood Suites). There is also a huge hospital on the east side of the arena.
Worcester is about 45 minutes west of Boston, so if you want, you can easily go into the big city if you are looking for more to do (there are lots of historical sites in Boston as you probably know, but also the traffic is pretty heavy).
There are not too many fans at Massachusetts Pirates games, but they are into the game and many of them show up in Pirates gear, or the gear of other local teams.
There is very little traffic around DCU Center during Massachusetts Pirates games, so getting in and out is easy, and you can literally park right across the street for $10 in the parking deck – I don’t always like parking decks at sometimes they take forever to get out of, but in this case I was able to get out in minutes, and the walk was very short to the arena.
There are plenty of bathrooms inside, the concessions lines are not long at all, and there is plenty of room to move around the concourse. You can’t really see the field from the concourse as there are black curtains hung at every entrance, but on the plus side there are plenty of tables and seating areas scattered around the concourse, so you don’t have to eat your food at your seat.
Return on Investment 4
Including Ticketmaster fees, tickets to Massachusetts Pirates games are less than $25 each, which is pretty normal as far as professional sports go nowadays. Parking and concessions are also reasonable, so I would say this is a good return on investment. Note also they only have digital programs (just scan the QR code from the posters on the walls all over the arena) – on the plus side this makes them free, but it also leaves you without a physical souvenir. In full disclosure I did not get one of the programs, so I don’t know if they are downloadable such that you can keep a copy, or if they only last as long as the game.
The dance team actually does a costume change during the game, which is very unique; I have not seen it at any other indoor football game, or any other sporting event for that matter. The facility also looks great from the outside with its huge bay windows, which gives fans great views from the inside.