PPL Park

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PPL Park
PPL Park logo.jpg
PPL Park Interior from the River End 2010.10.02 (cropped).jpg
View of the interior of PPL Park, from the Sons of Ben supporters section, the River End in 2010
Location 1 Stadium Drive
Chester, PA 19013-1940
Coordinates 39°49′56″N 75°22′44″W / 39.83222°N 75.37889°W / 39.83222; -75.37889Coordinates: 39°49′56″N 75°22′44″W / 39.83222°N 75.37889°W / 39.83222; -75.37889
Public transit Chester Transportation Center
Owner Delaware County
Operator Keystone Sports and Entertainment, LLC.
Capacity 18,500 (Soccer)
26,000 (Concerts)[1]
Field size 120 × 75 yards
Surface Grass
Construction
Broke ground 1 December 2008
Opened 27 June 2010[6]
Construction cost $120 million[2]
($130 million in 2014 dollars[3])
Architect Rossetti Architects
Project manager ICON Venue Group
Structural engineer Pennoni Associates Inc.[4]
General contractor T.N. Ward Company[5]
Tenants
Philadelphia Union (MLS) (2010–present)

PPL Park is an American soccer-specific stadium located in Chester, Pennsylvania, that is home to the Philadelphia Union, a Major League Soccer club.[7] The project is the result of combined commitments of $30 million from Delaware County and $47 million from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. PPL EnergyPlus, a subsidiary of PPL, is the stadium's sponsor company.

The stadium is located on Chester's waterfront along the Delaware River, at the Commodore Barry Bridge's southwestern corner. PPL Park[8] was designed to be a catalyst for economic development on the waterfront, with additional plans calling for a riverwalk amidst other entertainment, retail, and residential projects. The stadium was constructed by T.N. Ward Company, which is based in Ardmore, Pennsylvania.[9]

Construction[edit]

Major League Soccer (MLS) had been interested in entering the Philadelphia market for several years, with many promises of a team by Commissioner Don Garber, as evidenced by his statement, "It's not a matter of if but when Philadelphia gets a team."[10] Initially, Major League Soccer was interested in a site in the borough of Bristol, Pennsylvania, about 23 miles (37 km) north of Center City, Philadelphia.[11] Those plans never came to fruition. Later, Rowan University provided details for a soccer stadium near its campus in Glassboro, New Jersey. However, funding from the state of New Jersey fell through in 2006.

In late 2006, a group of investors led by Rob Buccini, co-founder of the Buccini/Pollin Group; Jay Sugarman, chief executive of iStar Financial; and James Nevels, a former chairman of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission, initiated the planning for a soccer-specific stadium in the city of Chester after the funding for the Rowan project failed to pass the New Jersey legislature. After many months of negotiations, Delaware County politicians announced their approval of funding for the stadium in October 2007.[12] Delaware County owns the land and the stadium itself, while the team owns the naming rights based on their approval of a 30-year lease. The newly formed Delaware County Sports Authority pays the county's share of $30 million through taxes from the Harrah's Chester harness racing track and casino. An additional $80 million was donated by private investors.

On January 31, 2008, Governor Ed Rendell and Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, unveiled a combined soccer stadium and economic revitalization package for the city of Chester.[13] $25 million was allocated to the construction of PPL Park, with an additional $7 million towards a two-phase project composed of 186 townhouses, 25 apartments, 335,000 square feet (31,100 m2) of office space, a 200,000-square-foot (19,000 m2) convention center, more than 20,000 square feet (1,900 m2) of retail space, and a parking structure to house 1,350 cars. In phase two, another 200 apartments will be built, along with 100,000 square feet (9,300 m2) of office space and 22,000 square feet (2,000 m2) of retail space.[14]

Soccer[edit]

Construction delays led to the Philadelphia Union's decision to play their inaugural home game at Lincoln Financial Field instead of PPL Park.[15] Their first match at the stadium was played on June 27, 2010, when they defeated Seattle Sounders FC by a score of 3–1. Sébastien Le Toux scored the Union's first goal at PPL Park on a penalty kick. However, Pat Noonan of Sounders FC scored the first goal in the venue's history.

PPL Park was the site of the 2012 MLS All Star match against the European champions Chelsea F.C. The largest attendance overall at PPL Park was on July 25, 2012, for the 2012 MLS All-Star Game when the MLS All-Stars hosted Chelsea FC in front of 19,236 fans. The game was a 3 - 2 victory for the MLS All-Stars.[16]

Due to consistently high attendance and ticket sales, the Philadelphia Union has expressed interest in expanding the capacity of the stadium as early as 2014. The planned expansion would occur in three phases, initially to 20,000, then to 27,000, and finally to approximately 30,000.[17]

Other sports[edit]

Rugby Union[edit]

Māori All Blacks performing their haka prior to their match against the United States in 2013.

PPL Park has hosted the Collegiate Rugby Championship every June since 2011.[18][19] The Collegiate Rugby Championship is the highest profile college rugby competition in the United States, and is broadcast live on NBC every year. Over 17,800 fans came out to PPL Park to watch the 2011 tournament.[20]

PPL Park hosted its first rugby union international on November 9, 2013, when the Māori All Blacks squared off against the United States. A sold out crowd of 18,500 witnessed a hard-fought 19–29 loss to the visiting New Zealand Māori All Blacks.[21]

College football[edit]

The first college football game played at PPL Park was the Battle of the Blue on November 19, 2011, in which Delaware beat Villanova to earn the trophy for the first time.[22] These same two teams met again on November 23, 2013, with Villanova beating Delaware 35-34.

Lacrosse[edit]

PPL Park hosted two quarterfinal matches in the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship.[23] On August 25, 2013, PPL Park hosted the Major League Lacrosse's Championship known as the Steinfeld Cup. In this game, the Chesapeake Bayhawks defeated the Charlotte Hounds 10-9 in front of 3,892 fans.

Drum & bugle corps[edit]

Given its ability to be used as a football field, PPL Park has recently been used as an annual site for the Drum Corps International Summer Competition Tour.[24]

Other soccer uses[edit]

The United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, and the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, announced that their annual men's soccer rivalry will be held in PPL Park for 2012 and 2013. The 2012 meeting marked just the third time in the 75-year history of the soccer rivalry that the schools met at a neutral location, and was the first regular-season neutral site meeting, with the previous two occurring in the NCAA tournament. Philadelphia is the traditional home of the classic football rivalry and is halfway between the two schools.[25] 3,672 turned out for the first Philadelphia matchup.[26]

After the effects of Hurricane Sandy, the 2012 Big East Men's Soccer Tournament was moved to PPL from Red Bull Arena.[27] PPL will serve as host again in 2013 for the restructured conference's tournament.[28]

Features[edit]

When the initial architectural drawings were revealed, PPL Park was to have been an oval-shaped stadium with a cantilevered roof covering all seating areas – not unlike most European football grounds. After consulting with the nascent club's supporters, the Union's ownership group, Keystone Sports & Entertainment, re-designed a specific entrance of PPL Park for the Sons of Ben supporters group in recognition of their loyalty.[29] This entrance leads into a 2,000-seat section reserved specifically for the group known as The River End.[30] Additional features include thirty luxury suites, a full-service restaurant and club above the Chester End, a built-in concert stage in The River End (which has yet to be used), and cantilevered roofs running above the Main and Bridge Stands. Even with the inclusion of these features, approximately sixty percent of the venue's spectators will be able to view the Commodore Barry Bridge and the Delaware River from their seats. PPL Park's façade is made up of brick and natural stone, a continuity of traditional Philadelphia architecture.[1]

View of the interior of PPL Park, from the southwest corner of the Main Stand facing the Bridge Stand and the Commodore Barry Bridge in 2010. To the left is the Chester End and the right The River End, which is separate from the rest of PPL Park.

Sponsors[edit]

On February 25, 2010, the Philadelphia Union announced that the Allentown, Pennsylvania-based PPL Corporation purchased the naming rights to its home venue for $20 million over 11 years. As part of the deal, PPL EnergyPlus provides the stadium with sustainable energy derived from other sources in Pennsylvania.[31]

The Panasonic Corporation provides broadcast and television production systems, large-screen LED displays, security systems, and point-of-sale systems.[32]

Awards[edit]

In September 2010, Mid-Atlantic Construction Magazine named PPL Park the "Sports/Recreation Project of the Year." The company grants the award to premier construction projects in the Mid-Atlantic region.[33]

On February 25, 2011, the Delaware County Planning Commission awarded PPL Park the 2010 William H. Bates Memorial Award.[34] Since 1980, the honor is presented annually to real-estate developers that improved a Delaware County property.

Concessions[edit]

PPL Park features many of the foods commonly sold at American sports venues, and also offers traditional Philadelphia food items such cheesesteaks, hoagies, and soft pretzels (shaped like the Union's primary logo). Several foods are provided by local companies such as Turkey Hill,[35] Herr's Snacks[36] and Seasons Pizza,[37] while beers from local breweries such as Victory and Dogfish Head are also available.[38]

Transportation[edit]

Like the South Philadelphia Sports Complex, PPL Park is located near Interstate 95. It is approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) from the Chester Transportation Center SEPTA station, where shuttle service is provided from four hours prior to kickoff and from full-time until the park is empty. The Philadelphia International Airport is 5 miles (8.0 km) from PPL Park.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "About PPL Park". philadelphiaunion.com. Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Soccer's Union to Kick Off a Deal with PPL". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved February 24, 2010. [dead link]
  3. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  4. ^ "Pennoni Associates Inc. - Markets - Civic & Community". Pennoni.com. Retrieved 2011-11-20. 
  5. ^ "TN Ward Company - General Contractor serving the greater Philadelphia region". Tnward.com. 2010-11-02. Retrieved 2011-11-20. 
  6. ^ "Inaugural Season Schedule Unveiled". PhiladelphiaUnion.com. Retrieved February 3, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Delaware County Approves Funding for MLS Stadium". Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on October 25, 2007. Retrieved October 24, 2007. 
  8. ^ "Have you spread the word?". Philadelphia Union. Retrieved August 21, 2009. 
  9. ^ Gammage, Jeff (September 8, 2008). "Much Rides on Stadium Builder". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved September 8, 2008. [dead link]
  10. ^ Narducci, Marc (January 18, 2006). "Philly's in Play for an MLS Team". Philadelphia Inquirer. p. D01. Retrieved October 24, 2007. [dead link]
  11. ^ "MLS fishing along the Delaware". Philly Burbs. Retrieved October 24, 2007. 
  12. ^ "Delaware County's Field of Dreams". The Delaware County Daily Times. Retrieved October 24, 2007. [dead link]
  13. ^ "Rendell and Pileggi unveil new economic and stadium deal". DelcoTimes.com. Retrieved January 31, 2008. [dead link]
  14. ^ "Major hurdle cleared for Philly expansion". Major League Soccer. Retrieved January 31, 2008. 
  15. ^ Gammage, Jeff (September 23, 2009). "Linc to Host First Phila. Union Soccer Game". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved September 23, 2009. 
  16. ^ "Recap: EJ's injury-time goal lifts All-Stars past Chelsea". 
  17. ^ Sakiewicz, Nick (2011-06-07). "Phila. Union Envisages Expanding Stadium for MLS Games". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2011-11-20. 
  18. ^ Philadelphia Union Communications (2010-11-09). "PPL Park to Host USA Sevens Collegiate Rugby Championship". Philadelphia Union. Retrieved 2011-11-20. 
  19. ^ https://twitter.com/#!/WellsFargoCtr/status/77473570170744832
  20. ^ Collegiate Rugby Championship
  21. ^ Shannon, Kris (November 10, 2013). "NZ Maori escape against Eagles". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved November 10, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Delaware Finally Gets Battle of the Blue Victory, Downs Villanova 26-16 to Keep Playoff Hopes Alive". BlueHens.com. University of Delaware. 2001-11-16. Retrieved 2011-11-20. 
  23. ^ "Drexel Athletics Partners With the Philadelphia Sports Congress, the City of Philadelphia, PPL Park and the Philadelphia Eagles to Host the 2012 NCAA Lacrosse Quarterfinals and 2013 Men’s Lacrosse Championships". Philadelphia Sports Congress. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  24. ^ http://yea.showare.com/eventperformances.asp?evt=4
  25. ^ "Navy-Army Men's Soccer Game to be Played at PPL Park". Navy Sports. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  26. ^ http://www.navysports.com/sports/m-soccer/stats/2012-2013/navy09.html
  27. ^ http://www.philadelphiaunion.com/news/2012/11/big-east-mens-soccer-championships-moved-chester
  28. ^ http://www.bigeast.org/ot/big-east-champ-schedule-13.html
  29. ^ "Meet the Owners Chat: Nick Sakiewicz". Sons of Ben. May 22, 2008. Retrieved September 8, 2008. [dead link]
  30. ^ MLSPhilly2010 Staff (August 5, 2008). "MLSPhilly2010 Hires Rossetti and ICON to Design $115 Million, 18,500 Multi-Purpose Stadium". Major League Soccer. Retrieved September 8, 2008. [dead link]
  31. ^ Jasner, Andy (February 25, 2010). "PPL Buys Naming-Rights". Philadelphia Union. Retrieved February 26, 2010. 
  32. ^ The stadium is unique in that no American flag is flown visible to the spectators or participants inside the facility.storeId=11301&catalogId=13251&itemId=328235&modelNo=Content02092009100106637&surfModel=Content02092009100106637 "Stadium to be "Powered by Panasonic"". Panasonic Corporation of North America. Retrieved August 22, 2009. 
  33. ^ "PPL Park Wins Construction Award". Philadelphia Union. Retrieved February 28, 2011. 
  34. ^ "PPL Park Receives William H. Bates Memorial Award". Philadelphia Union. Retrieved February 28, 2011. 
  35. ^ "Turkey Hill is the newest sponsor of Major League Soccer's Philadelphia Union!". Turkey Hill. Retrieved December 13, 2010. 
  36. ^ "Herr's & SCA Partner with Union". Philadelphia Union. Retrieved December 13, 2010. 
  37. ^ "2008-2009: MLS Philadelphia 2010". Philadelphia Union. Retrieved December 13, 2010. 
  38. ^ "Guide to PPL Park, home of the Philadelphia Union". Yahoo Sports. Retrieved December 13, 2010. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Regions Park
BBVA Compass Stadium
Host of the College Cup
2013
2017
Succeeded by
WakeMed Soccer Park
TBD