The Reading Fightin’ Phils have remained in the city for 50 years in large part because of the strong fan base that continues to support the team each season. With attendance figures that frequently lead the Eastern League, or at least finish in the top three, the franchise clearly knows how to draw in fans.
Stadium Journey has ranked FirstEnergy Stadium in its list of the “Top 100 Stadium Experiences of 2015” at number 69. With a ballpark built in 1952, far older than the majority of the newer stadiums that make the list, the Fightin’ Phils have to work a bit harder to make their “classic” ballpark welcoming and relevant for fans.
As a result, the fan experiences are numerous and varied at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Fightin’s are constantly changing and improving the experience for the fans, making any trip to the ballpark new and exciting.
One of the new additions for the 2016 season is the Grove Dental Photo Booth. Fans and their families have the opportunity to have a picture taken in front of a backdrop featuring Fightin’ Phils’ players J.P. Crawford, Jorge Alfaro, and Roman Quinn. The photos are then emailed to the family, for free, and fans are encouraged to share them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with the tag #GroveDental.
The photo booth expands on a previous fan experience, the BB&T Social Media Vault. Fans are encouraged to share photos on social media throughout the game with #fightins. In the seventh inning, the best photos of the nights are shown on the video board, and the best photo of the night wins a prize. The Grove Dental Photo Booth photos are also included in the Social Media Vault.
The Fightin’s have also added to the fan experience this season by being the first Minor League stadium to test a new “Craft Beer Me” feature. The feature allows fans to order from a list of 50 craft beers in the MiLB Inside the Park app, and the drink will be delivered to their seat within minutes. The feature allows fans to enjoy every moment of the game without having to worry about waiting in line and missing the action.
In addition to the 50 craft beers offered through the app, the ballpark is serving an unprecedented 87 different beers throughout the ballpark to help celebrate the historic 50th season.
The Savage 61 Dugout Suite is another new fan experience added this season. The Dugout Suite allows fans to sit in a dugout just like the players, located along the right field line. In addition to the regular ticket, which includes a pre-game party on the warning track during batting practice, fans can add waitress service, all-you-can-eat, and all-you-can-drink. The luxury suite is very unique, and gives fans a whole new view of the game.
Along with these new experiences, the Fightin’s maintain some of the old activities that fans have always enjoyed. Each game features a dance party in the plaza, perfect for young kids that are getting antsy sitting and watching the game. Also for the younger fans, Phunland provides plenty of games, rides, and prizes.
Fans have the opportunity to view the game from nearly anywhere in the park, including the left-field deck. Fans on the deck win Unique pretzels whenever the left fielder, affectionately called the Deck Head, gets on base. Fans are also encouraged to root for the Red Robin RBI Man who can earn free Red Robin appetizers for the crowd with an RBI. The Moe’s home run inning gives fans an opportunity to win free queso if the Fightin’s hit a home run.
The Fightin’ Phils respect their history, the main concourse is essentially a museum dedicated to baseball in Reading, but in order to maintain the strong fan base the team knows it needs to continue to evolve each season. Thanks to this constant evolution, no two trips to the ballpark are ever exactly the same, and the fans keep coming back for more.