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  • Writer's pictureDavid Welch

Silverbacks Park – Atlanta Hustle



Photos by David Welch, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.43

Silverbacks Park 3200 Silverbacks Way Atlanta, GA 30340

Year Opened: 2004 Capacity: 5,000

 

You Gotta Hustle

Silverbacks Park has hosted various professional sports teams over the years, including men’s and women’s soccer, rugby, and its current resident, the Atlanta Hustle of the Ultimate Frisbee Association (UFA). The Hustle joined the league, then known as the American Ultimate Disc League, as part of its expansion leading into the 2015 season. What started with just eight teams has grown into a league with 24 teams across two countries, including 22 in the United States and two in Canada, located in Montreal and Toronto.

 

Food & Beverage   5

Silverbacks Park takes a unique approach to concessions – besides a small stand on the upper walkway that serves bottled and canned beverages and snacks, there are no traditional concession stands. Instead, Willie B’s Bar and Grill, at the north end of the stadium, offers a full menu including burgers, grilled hot dogs, wings, chicken tenders, tacos, salads, and more.


Willie B’s also features a full-service bar with 14 beers on tap, including the Athens-based Creature Comforts’ flagship beer, Tropicalia. For those not interested in beer, there are options like Truly hard seltzer, Twisted Tea, and prosecco on tap. Canned beers, including White Claw, Angry Orchard, and Long Drink, are also available. Non-alcoholic options include Coca-Cola products, various energy drinks, Jarritos Mexican soda, and coconut water.


Be aware that menu prices do not include tax and gratuity, which are added when you pay for the order.

 

Atmosphere   4

Silverbacks Park does not have much of a traditional main entry point – the gates adjacent to the primary parking area are a bit non-descript, but the stairway from a secondary parking lot on the south side of the stadium offers a better view of the playing area and the stadium.


Silverback Park is like any other ultimate frisbee field, similar in size to a football field, with an 80-yard long playing area and two 20-yard long end zones. Basic scoreboards are hung at each end of the field to show game time and score, but the one at the north end occasionally doesn’t work, and the times shown on the boards also do not appear to be synchronized.


Ultimate is a game of constant movement with little to no breaks in the action, leaving limited time for fan interaction games or activities. However, breaks between quarters are very fan friendly. Kids are often brought to the sideline at midfield to compete in contests after the 1st and 3rd quarters. Though there is not a lot of time between scores, the team does take time to squeeze in some recognition of groups who are in attendance at the match that night.


In addition to the entertaining nature of the game, the in-game DJ Hank plays popular music throughout the match that you can easily catch yourself dancing in your seat to. Leading commentary throughout the game, and calling out scoring plays, is in-game host TJ Baker – Baker and DJ Hank are also known to sprint down the sidelines with a Hustle flag to celebrate scores, creating a fun game experience.


All tickets are general admission seating, which includes most of the nearside seating area, except for midfield, which is reserved for season ticket holders. Seating is limited to only one side of the field.

 

Neighborhood   2

Silverbacks Park is in unincorporated Atlanta, pinned in by the flyover ramps of I-285. The area is a mix of residential neighborhoods, office parks, and strip malls. While food options immediately nearby are mostly chain restaurants, Buford Highway, known in Atlanta for its concentration of highly regarded international restaurants, is not far away.


The area surrounding Silverbacks Park does not offer all that much in the way of recreational points of interest, but with the accessibility of I-85 that leads to downtown Atlanta, a nearly endless number of options is just about a 15-mile drive away. Closer to the frisbee venue is downtown Tucker, with several locally owned shops and restaurants, as well as the Tucker Brewing Company. A bit further out, Stone Mountain Park offers various activities, including a 36-hole golf course, miniature golf, and hiking trails around and up the world's largest piece of exposed granite. Visitors can also take a cable car to the top.


Though the immediate vicinity does not offer many options, there are definitely a handful within a reasonable drive.

 

Fans   4

The Hustle have a loyal following, largely comprised of Atlanta's ultimate frisbee community.  Many fans are either wearing Hustle shirts or jerseys, or are clad in gear from their high school or college frisbee clubs.


Attendance typically ranges from the high hundreds to nearly one thousand fans per game, and they come ready to support the Hustle. Fans are also engaged, often responding to the in-game host’s call-and-response chants and cheers during play.



Overall, Hustle fans are supportive of their hometown team and appreciate the efforts of the visitors; they do a great job embodying the sportsmanship that ultimate frisbee is built around.

 

Access   3

Silverbacks Park is situated at the junction of one of the busiest interstate intersections in the country, known as “Spaghetti Junction”, notorious among locals for severe traffic delays during evening rush hour. The Hustle have taken Atlanta’s traffic into consideration when scheduling start times, however, aiming to minimize rush hour challenges for fans – Friday night matches do not start until 8 pm, and on Saturdays the first pull is at 7:30 pm.


The northeast line terminus of Atlanta’s subway system, MARTA, is about three miles from Silverbacks Park, so if using the subway to access the stadium, rideshare is probably the best option to get to the venue, as the surrounding area has limited sidewalks.


The first parking area inside the gates fills quickly, as it serves both Silverbacks Park and the adjacent rec league soccer fields. A larger lot accessible via a service road along the stadium's western side leads to stairs down to the southern entrance of the facility.


The concourse, elevated above field level, encircles most of the seating bowl. Visitors with mobility challenges might find it difficult to access the upper concourse if they enter through the north gates, or if they go from the walkway to ground level after coming through the south end of the stadium.

 

Return on Investment   3

Ticket prices start at $20 when purchased online, rising to $25 for walk-up purchases. This might be a touch high, especially when combined with a $5 parking fee. However, each ticket includes a drink voucher for a beer, seltzer, soft drink, or bottled water, which adds some value.


At Willie B’s, food prices are comparable to those found at a typical bar and grill. Customers should be aware that an 18% gratuity is automatically added to the bill – this is noted on both sides of the menu but can be easily overlooked.

 

Extras   3

Trophies won by previous teams that have called Silverbacks Park home are displayed behind the bar at Willie B’s.


At halftime, fans are invited onto the field to toss their frisbees around, and after the match they can come back to the field to take photos and chat with Hustle team members, and again throw their frisbees.



The Hustle do a lot to grow the game of ultimate frisbee in the Atlanta area. During the summer months, the team hosts their own futures camps and supports local ultimate frisbee camps run by neighboring communities. These efforts helps foster passion for both the game and the team.

 

Final Thoughts

With players nicknamed “The Waiter”, “The Watchtower”, and “The Machine”, the festive atmosphere of ultimate frisbee is just the tip of the iceberg here. The entire experience at Silverbacks Park is highly entertaining, from the action on the field to the lively environment surrounding the match.


Despite not being at the forefront of professional sports, ultimate frisbee is a highly engaging and entertaining experience. The game is fast-paced and high-scoring, with scoring plays possible from any position on the field at any time. Players display lightning-fast speed, impressive vertical leaps, and a willingness to lay out completely horizontal to make plays, adding to the excitement. The combination of the players' impressive physical skills and the fun atmosphere at Atlanta Hustle matches ensures that even newcomers will enjoy an evening at Silverbacks Park.

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