I have a novel idea for the re-use of the Civic Arena. Have the Pittsburgh Penguins play there.
I apologize for not succumbing to the Penguins forcing the “there is not a bad seat in the new Consol Energy Center” down my throat, but I waited until I actually saw a game there to make sure my assumption was true. You can dress the place up all you want, but when it comes down to the most important aspect of the place, the actual watching of a hockey game, the place gets a huge FAIL in my opinion.
The CEC is for the most part divided up into three sections, the lower bowl, the super boxes and the upper bowl. The upper bowl fans account for about 1/3 of the fans in the CEC, they work hard for every dollar they make and spend what little they have to see their favorite team. The upper bowl fans are the ones that got the shaft.
The view from the upper bowl is not just a little bit further, but actually way further from the action than anywhere I’ve sat in the Civic Arena. How could this happen in a newly constructed facility you ask? The super boxes. We’ve all heard over the years that the Civic Arena did not have enough super boxes which did not allow the team to bring in enough revenue. They have the super boxes now and because of their placement the people in the upper sections suffer. This would be like if someone high up in the Pens organization took out the office workers kitchen and replaced it with his own personal bathroom. Ahem.
The upper bowl is also extremely steep. I saw people under 25 years of age needing assistance to navigate the steps. Less than a minute into last night’s game a man 6 seats to the right of me did a face first header and cracked his jaw off the seat two rows in front of him. The steepness and the cramped ness of the seats will be a deadly combination when the weekend games roll around and heavy alcoholic consumption is taking place. Because there is absolutely no place to set your beverage when you cheer and you will be standing right on top of the person in front of you, many beverages will be spilt and many fights will ensue.
The rest of the problems were hopefully just because of opening night jitters. The Smokehouse ran out of brisket before the first period ended and the cheese on the nachos was served ice cold. The lines to the concession stands ran all the way to the stands forcing everyone including people in wheel chairs to have to try to navigate through the lines which caused another log jam.
The Brewhouse, a novel idea, serves hard alcohol which you are not allowed to take back to your seat, Len the security guard oversees that. This means that as the period starts you either chug your drink or dump it before you exit the area. According to Len you can take your drink back to your seat at entertainment events like concerts but not sporting events. This has left him in a total conundrum about what his role will be if and when Professional Wrestling comes to town.
The bathroom lines and beer lines were small to none existent, the ability to find a place to eat with a great view of the city in between periods was fantastic but I’m a diehard Pittsburgh Penguin hockey fan. I will be going to the CEC to watch the hockey games. If I wanted better food selection, shorter lines and ease of facility use without caring about the product, I would go to a Pirate game.
There are probably more great seats in the new CEC than there were at the Civic Arena, but there are far more bad seats than the Arena ever had also. I suspect that the people who find themselves watching play by play on the Jumbo Tron more than they watch it live will eventually take their season ticket money and by an huge HD TV.
Check out StadiumJourney.com’s reviews of the new Consol Energy Center: www.stadiumjourney.com/stadiums/consol-energy-center-s123/
*Sorry I needed to get that rant out of my head… enough about the new place, we will be starting our third season of our Pittsburgh Penguins hockey coverage here in the next day or two. As usual here at PenguinPoop, we will call a spade a spade and pull no punches.
*Let’s Go Pens