New Soldier Field vs. Gillette Stadium

Discussion in 'New England Revolution' started by BigFrank, Nov 15, 2003.

  1. BigFrank

    BigFrank New Member

    Apr 3, 1999
    Dublin, Ireland
    The attendance at last night's game at the new Soldier Field is given as 14,610. That is about the same as at last Sunday's game against the Metros at Gillette Stadium.

    My question is: why did it seem so much louder, with a much livelier atmosphere at Soldier Field?

    I'm sure Fire fans will just say they are that much louder. Granted, it seems like they have a higher percentage of really loud fans.
    But how much of it has to do with the stadium?

    We've discussed how Gillette Stadium has no atmosphere in the thread "Where Have All of the Revolution Fans Gone?"

    Even Patriots fans that fill the place have complained that the new place doesn't hold the noise or carry the atmosphere like the old dump did.

    If you put last night's Fire crowd in Gillette, they'd probably sound no different than a Revos crowd of the same size.

    What is different about Soldier Field? Why does it hold noise (and atmosphere) and Gillette does not?
    Did the seating configuration there have all of the fans on one side?

    The Philadelphia Eagles new stadium is similar to Gillette, except that it has a roof that was designed to hold in the noise as much (or more than) it was to keep the upper tier dry.

    What Gillette gained in creature comforts it lost in atmosphere.
     
  2. Greddy

    Greddy Member

    Jun 24, 2003
    Chicago
    Club:
    FC Barcelona
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think it has to do with how well they mic(sp?) the crowd. I mean, you're watching the game on TV. I don't know how bad your stadium is, but Soldier Field eats sound like you wouldn't believe. On the sides, it gets really loud, but the sound is trapped and your section is the only one that can hear it. On the ends, the sound escapes and the sides can't hear it. The only time the stadium gets really loud is when EVERYONE gets loud. That happened yesterday, but usually doesn't happen. When that happens, it doesn't matter what stadium you're in, the atmosphere will be there.
     
  3. The Magpie

    The Magpie Member

    Nov 19, 1998
    Cambridge, MA
    I think there are several reasons why the atmosphere seemed so lively last night:

    1. SECTION 8 - The Fire supporters section has emerged to be far and away the best in Major League Soccer. There is great effort made to coordinate cheers and chants, they're granted significant lee-way in terms of bringing in flags and banners... and they just flat-out have the numbers to help amplify the sound. It seemed there were a few thousand people in their section last night, a writhing, pulsating sea of red and blue... and it's that sort of display of passion, emotion, and enthusiasm that was able to stimulate the remaining fans in the stadium - they led by example and others followed suit.

    For purposes of comparison, in New England, numbers in the The Fort (our supporters section) have been dwindling for years. Years of frustration at the team and front office have resulted in many, many fans no longer coming to matches, with membership in groups such as Rev Army and the Midnight Riders roughly half what they were at their peak. On top of that, no matter the accommodations made by the club this season to allow for greater displays of support similar to that in Chicago or elsewhere, there still remained many people in the section who refused to stand, refused to chant... just passively taking in the game.

    Sooooooo much of me was watching the game last night, wanting to be in a section like Chicago's supporters last night. I'd love to see a sea of blue and white in The Fort, perhaps something such as this:

    [​IMG]

    ... but we're a long way from getting there. It helps that Chicago has a G.M. in Peter Wilt who not only understands the nature of supporters but also sees the benefits of having them. However, in understanding and appreciating the fan dynamic in Foxboro... I doubt we'll ever see something similar; it's too much of a risk.

    2. STADIUM DESIGN - Well for one thing, un-like Gillette Stadium there are no open ends that allow sound to escape. At Soldier Field the sound can reflect around the stadium as it's much more enclosed.

    [​IMG]

    Can you imagine what the atmosphere will be like once the Fire get their own SSS with a more reasonable capacity and a roof?

    3. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION - Imagine being able to take the T to the Revs home stadium. Imagine if it were in closer proximity to downtown Boston. Imagine that it would be close, enough and cheap enough that some of the 250,000 college students in the area could make it to games... imagine that it would be close enough and cheap enough that larger concentrations of ethnic fans could make it to the stadium.

    As Big Frank said, "What Gillette gained in creature comforts it lost in atmosphere."

    There has to be some way to change that.

    The Magpie
     
  4. jmeissen0

    jmeissen0 New Member

    Mar 31, 2001
    page 1078
    to be honest... new soldier field doesn't seem to keep the sound well... it's been quite the frustration
     
  5. JMMUSA8

    JMMUSA8 New Member

    Nov 3, 2001
    Webster
    Club:
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    not as much as gillette. Gillette is the worst stadium in America when it comes to holding the atmosphere. Tear it down and start over Bobby.
     
  6. norfcath

    norfcath New Member

    Aug 17, 2000
    Philadelphia
    Why couldn't you guys draw more than 15,000 for such an important game? Please, don't give me the weather; fans of American football come out in zero degree conditions.
     
  7. dncm

    dncm Member+

    Apr 22, 2003
    Boston
    Quick question: I can't remember was it Chi/NE or SJ/KC - where the end zones on both sides were empty? Did that have anything to do with both SJ and Chi have roughly the same #'s, but sounding that much more louder.

    I know the Fort loves to be behind the goal, but maybe all that great sound they generate is getting sucked up and out of the lighthouse.

    Would people be oppossed to not seating people in the endzones - or is Gillette just so poor for sound that it won't matter?
     
  8. Greddy

    Greddy Member

    Jun 24, 2003
    Chicago
    Club:
    FC Barcelona
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I didn't get to see the San Jose game, but the south endzone was filled at the chicago game. They don't usually open the north endzone unless the demand requires them to. I really think the reason chicago was louder was because of the fans. I know it's kind of cliche' but i think, for this last game at least, it was true. This was really the first time that the entire stadium got into the cheering. that, on top of the fact that section 8 was better than it was in years(IMO) could be the main factor. Despite how it may appear, our stadium really doesn't hold sound well.
     
  9. The Magpie

    The Magpie Member

    Nov 19, 1998
    Cambridge, MA
    "Why couldn't you guys draw more than 15,000 for such an important game?"

    They must have caught Metros Playoff Fever and stayed home.

    The Magpie
     
  10. RSwenson

    RSwenson Member

    Feb 1, 2000
    Having just gotten back from my sojourn to NSF I can tell you that it is substantially louder than the razor... also, the lower deck is very small (about half the depth of the razor) so that 14K does a pretty good job of occupying it and noise reflects off of the second deck (as opposed to the razor... at least in the end zones where the only noise is generated... because of the small lower deck, the very vertical archetecture of the stadium and the reasonable deal that they get with the park district, etc, I think that it would have to be a great deal for them to do better by building a new stadium...

    rand
     
  11. Jim Dow

    Jim Dow New Member

    Mar 20, 1999
    Belmont, MA
    I think Rand has hit on the key, the lower deck at NSF has about half the rows that the Razor does. Note that in Friday's match one end zone was empty but everything else was full (just like San Jose). The crowds at Gillette (almost 15K), Soldier Field (14,500) and Spartan (16K) were comparable but the design of each place significantly affected the atmosphere.

    At the same time, I will say that the last Metros game at the Razor had a whole lot more atmosphere than any other game in 2003. So maybe there's hope.

    JIM DOW
     
  12. RSwenson

    RSwenson Member

    Feb 1, 2000
    Incidentally, that makes me think that Reliant field in Houston may be a gem in terms of soccer despite the fact that it is a big pointyball stadium... the decks go straight up and the lower deck is not so big...

    rand
     
  13. Khansingh

    Khansingh New Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    The Luton Palace
    That field in Houston is 70 yards wide at best though. I'm curious. I guess the ideal dimensions for a soccer field are 115x75, like Gillette. Do those five yards make a big difference? In terms of atmosphere, it seems like the perfect design. Reliant Stadium, that is.

    Which reminds me. I was thinking of ways to correct the atmosphere problem. Now I'm no architect, but what about enclosing the south end opposite the Lighthouse? If you connected the two upper decks in that end, over the scoreboard, that could trap a lot of noise. Also, the increase in capacity would make Gillette Stadium an attractive venue for a Northern Climate Super Bowl, should that ever come to pass. Of course that would take a year or more and cost some pretty swag. Thus in the shorterm, what it you filled in the spaces between the light standards? With aluminum, say? Maybe they're not brilliant suggestions.
     
  14. bostonmasshole

    bostonmasshole New Member

    Feb 1, 2001
    Quincy
    i agree with magpie. i can't really speaker for the riders but as someone whose been with the revarmy since the start the numbers have more than been cut in half in regards to regular atendees. i've tried passing out flyers, making threatening calls ect ect. As far as atendance with our guys go, i've heard the reason/excuse that with all the double and triple headers the cost got out of control. I imagine that coming out is part passion part habitual...you miss a couple games and you get out of the ritual of coming.

    as far as stadium design do you think that it would improve the volume or presence of the vocal supporters to switch to the other endzone...lets face it 143 isn't 2.

    not sure if the ultras still do it but those flares and smoke bombs looked great...maybe that is what we need pyrotechnics.
     
  15. The Magpie

    The Magpie Member

    Nov 19, 1998
    Cambridge, MA
    i agree with magpie. i can't really speaker for the riders but as someone whose been with the rev army since the start the numbers have more than been cut in half in regards to regular attendees. i've tried passing out flyers, making threatening calls ect ect. As far as attendance with our guys go, i've heard the reason/excuse that with all the double and triple headers the cost got out of control. I imagine that coming out is part passion part habitual...you miss a couple games and you get out of the ritual of coming. as far as stadium design do you think that it would improve the volume or presence of the vocal supporters to switch to the other endzone...lets face it 143 isn't 2. not sure if the ultras still do it but those flares and smoke bombs looked great...maybe that is what we need pyrotechnics.

    ____________________________________

    There have been some highly positive changes with respect to The Fort for purposes of this past (2003) season, several decisions hashed out in a meeting with some members of the Riders board and the Revolution front office during the last off-season. Section 143 now enjoys not only a general admission policy, but is a designated standing section and one that's recognized as such by the club. The club also helped in accommodating banners and drums, coming up with a standard system for entry that seemed to work well, and security was probably the most consistent and informed of any year previously.

    But as Tommy's pointed out, the numbers of those most passionate, exuberant supporters in The Fort has dropped significantly. While a good many of the Riders actually take in Revolution matches from outside The Fort, I'd offer that the drop in group membership is quite similar to that of Rev Army - the numbers just aren't what they once were, and it's noticeable.

    Putting aside the reasons, explanations, and suspicions for why there's been a decline, I think it would be good to brain-storm as to how the atmosphere can best be improved, and how the resident diehards can help cultivate great numbers.

    I don't think Pyrotechnics are the answer (just my opinion), but I do think there's room to explore options and avenues that would serve to enhance not only the numbers in The Fort, but the overall quality and visibility in terms of displaying support, and how best we can promote this to the overall fan-base via an active rather than passive means. I mean, it's all well, good, and appreciated that the Revs have made accommodations allowing for a supporters section, but it would help immensely to get the word out about the nature of the section, the type of fans we're looking to occupy it, etc.

    I mean, while on our best nights we're this:

    [​IMG]

    there's no reason we shouldn't work towards something like this:

    [​IMG]

    I think one of the reasons Chicago's been so successful (not that they haven't experienced their own growing pains), is that their front office, and primarily, their general manager has been receptive since day one to working with their most passionate corps of supporters, while also understanding the impact their efforts can have on stadium atmosphere and their team.

    I mean, look at this:

    http://www.fireultras.com/albums/userpics/S8 props.jpg

    You're talking about a facility which more than likely has the same rules and regulations as Gillette, yet look at the numbers, the displays, the unified effort. I'd love nothing better than to see something similar (Hell, better) at Foxboro. It would require working with the club in good faith, and finding a way to attract those sorts of fans who could help accomplish these goals. In some respects Chicago can better cultivate this thanks to their stadium's accessibility - getting to Soldier Field is a helluva lot easier for fans than Gillette. I mean, there are a couple hundred thousand college students in and around Boston, and if we could tap into that on something of a regular basis...

    Jonathan Kraft, Lou Imbriano, Sunil Gulati and others were at the Eastern Conference Semi-Final, and even they should have been able to gauge the impact of the Barnburners, Ultras, and other Fire supporters and how their enthusiasm bled into other areas of the stadium. However, do they think something similar can be achieved at Gillette Stadium, are they willing to work with supporters to accomplish this, or do they remain indifferent, feeling that their energies should be devoted elsewhere?

    I just don't know.

    We've had two consecutive, solid seasons from this club, yet the attendance numbers have noticeably dropped both inside The Fort and outside it. Having been coming to games since year one I can say with some confidence that the overall stadium atmosphere is not as good as it once was, perhaps a result of the new stadium and the decrease in number of fans.

    How can we work to improve this?

    The Magpie
     
  16. bostonmasshole

    bostonmasshole New Member

    Feb 1, 2001
    Quincy
    the first thing that pops out to me in the comparison of the two pics vs the pic of the fort is color. both see to be a sea of their color. not sure if there has ever been and effort to make the fort appear as one solid color...the riders have (royal?) blue scarves...maybe we could adopt that color or shade of blue as a jumping off point? or something along those lines?
     
  17. The Magpie

    The Magpie Member

    Nov 19, 1998
    Cambridge, MA
    Maybe just adopting a philosophy of "blue is the color...," this rather than worrying about a particular shade. It's certianly one place to start.

    The Magpie
     
  18. REV-OKe

    REV-OKe Member

    Apr 4, 2001
    Love it.

    Only here on the BS REV BOARD is the Post-Game Analysis of the Stadium Atmosphere more in depth than the Post-Game Analysis itself.

    sombody make this thread a sticky.
     
  19. ToMhIlL

    ToMhIlL Member+

    Feb 18, 1999
    Boxborough, MA
    Club:
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Thanks for your great insight, Rev-OKe. Only here on the BS REV BOARD do we get people who jump into conversations they have no interest in participating in, for the sole purpose of bitching ans moaning that people are talking about a subject that said person is not interested in.
     
  20. bostonmasshole

    bostonmasshole New Member

    Feb 1, 2001
    Quincy
    i hear you magpie...guess we should crawl before we can run.

    as far as flags go, i'd imagine it'd be pretty easy to make a blue and white or blue and red flag. what's the policy on flagpoles or something like that?
     
  21. BigFrank

    BigFrank New Member

    Apr 3, 1999
    Dublin, Ireland
    Tom,

    He/She is just looking for the facts before participating.

    Perhaps He/She would have been more interested if the thread's starter was different or more facts had been available.
     
  22. dcochran

    dcochran Member+

    Feb 17, 1999
    Tiverton, RI
    Club:
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'm not a Rider or Fort denizen, but have been a midfield season ticket holder since day 1. I sit right on the midfield line. I recall a game earlier in the summer against the Mutts when the New York contingent definitely sounded louder than the Fort. Watching the groups, the scum didn't seem more animated or more organized. The sound just carried better from their end. Have the Riders ever considered switching the Fort to the south end of the stadium? It's easy to imagine that the closed end is a better megaphone than the big gap next to you. Clearly, the stadium sucks up sound well beyond this effect, but you may be handicapping yourselves unnecessarily.

    David
     
  23. bostonmasshole

    bostonmasshole New Member

    Feb 1, 2001
    Quincy
    i wonder if we could carry over the same "rules" (standing, ga etc. etc.) from 143 over to the other side.

    i think during the canadia/cuba match some of the fort gang went on over to the otherside. i'd like to hear their take on it if any of them post here...
     
  24. Jim Dow

    Jim Dow New Member

    Mar 20, 1999
    Belmont, MA
    From a visual point of view here is an interesting take on the way the Fort and adjoining sections work from the television point of view. I noticed in watching my tape of the second leg at the Razor that a particular shot of Steve Nicol that was oft-used had the camera facing the Fort (i.e. looking in a southwesterly direction from behind the Revs bench). From that position the end zone seemed packed, not unlike the Magpie's image from whatever Bundesliga game, though sans flags and with a lesser number of scarves. In fact, in some shots the crowd appeared to actually be heaving, as in non-US stadiums. If the policy of continuing to open those sections and increasingly fill them I should thgink there might well be a concurrent increase in atmosphere. Particularly if there is a real effort to develop all the best aspects of a "kop" culture in the 140's.

    There may be light at the end of the tunnel and I suspect it could be facilitated by off-season instruction and cooperation.
     
  25. Fat Dutchman

    Fat Dutchman Member

    Jul 15, 2003
    Red Lion, Aberdeen
    I don't want to interrupt your thread, but since you guys were talking about atmosphere, I'd like to share a little bit of something that I remember about a match I watched on Fox Sports Chicago between the Revs and Fire at Foxboro. There was somebody playing bagpipes during the match. The guy was even wearing a kilt and I remember the camera did a close-up shot on him and he flipped them the English "V", which I thought was fvcking hilarious. He was a rather chubby lad and he had the biggest *#*#*#*#*# eating grin I'd ever seen while he was flipping them off. I thought it was really cool that somebody had brought pipes and was playing during the match. I know there are those who think bagpipes are annoying, but they didn't ruin my watching experience at all. It was great :)
     

Share This Page