Philadelphia's long history as an NFL franchise has spanned a number of different venues
around the city, from the Baker Bowl to Shibe Park to Franklin Field and the Vet, and the
opening of "The Linc" represents a watershed moment in the franchise's history. This $520
million venue incorporates the essence and flavor of this community and its passionate
football fans in a big way.
Getting to the venue
Finding any of Philadelphia's sporting venues is an easy task - their "sports complex" is
located about 3 miles south of downtown, and not too far from the airport, and auto access
is via I-95 and I-76... just follow the signs to the proper exits. South Broad Street is the major
street thoroughfare going by the complex, and their subway line has a station about 3
blocks away from the stadium.
Outside the venue
Parking here is a bit of a chore, and even though the area abounds in surface lots, both on
the premises and private lots, there is a bit of a crunch that will be alleviated once Veterans
Stadium is demolished and cleared and configured for parking. For now, the lots closest to
the Linc are reserved for permit holders - red lot, blue lot, you get the picture. Cash lots run
from $10 to $20 and pricing has more to do with ease of access and post game getaway than
proximity to the venue. Other than parking, there is little to see or do right outside the
stadium in terms of ambience or entertainment. South of the sports complex is the
overhead I-95 expressway and to the east are warehouses and shipping yards. To the west
is a golf course. That leaves a high rise Holiday Inn and its sports bar as just about the only
pre/post game destination.
On our first visit here we were really appalled at the stringent prohibitions regarding
tailgating. Officers were angrily patrolling the lots, issuing summonses for anyone sporting
a grill and sniffing open containers for a whiff of alcohol. Gratefully, there was no sign of
this nonsense this time around, and we were very impressed with the abundance of
tailgaters, the decorated cars and buses, and the festive atmosphere outside the stadium.
As it should be!
Seating bowl and concourses
From a distance the stadium looks quite impressive - a mammoth grey and black steel
structure with glass accents, and a main entrance at the north end with bright red "Lincoln
Financial Field" marquees on all sides. Walk into the main entrance for this is where the
action is - a huge public plaza with such amenities as canopied concession stands, a giant
jumbotron video screen, an outdoor stage featuring live entertainment, ticket offices and
team merchandise store, and the main lobby to the stadium itself, called the "Head House",
a stupendous atrium with large historic murals, a timeline display of the team's illustrious
history, and a detailed mosaic tiled artwork of an eagle centered on the floor.
Concourses here are incredibly spacious, for the most part, and from the main level there
are viewing areas of the field in opposite corners. The color scheme here is a minimalist
black, silver and grey, and more splashes of color would do a lot to brighten things up.
There are escalator towers on three sides of the building, and elevators serving the club
and suite levels. The upper concourse is open air, and the best views of the adjoining
sports venues and the city skyline can be enjoyed from the west side.
The stadium's seating bowl is the best part... three levels of seating, the lower and upper
decks green seats and the club deck grey. Each end zone sports a massive 26 x 96
videoboard which looks that much larger since it is situated closer to the field. Digital LED
strip boards run across the sidelines, and dot matrix boards showing game information and
out of town scores can be found along the upper balconies. Roof canopies across the top
of the upper deck were designed to look like eagles wings. The signature element of the
seating bowl, however, is a tall tower located in the north end zone. This tower simulates
the look of an eagles nest, complete with a screened murals of an eagle preparing to land
right above the round deck. A cool viewing area from that vantage point and a digital ticker
board wraps around the "nest".
The food stands here bear local themes such as "Liberty Grill", "Market Street Deli", and
"Penn Pizza". Of course, the famous Philly cheese steak is a must do when visiting here,
and is available at just about all the stands. Another recommendation is the fresh baked
pretzel, warm and soft with your choice of toppings. Asian food, cannoli, chicken
sandwiches, espresso, beers of the world... you name it! But we were told that the thing to
try here is Sid Booker's fried shrimp. Sid's secret recipe is a tried and true Philadelphia
institution and only available at two locations in the city.
There is a main team merchandise store in the north end zone "Head House" area, but many
smaller merchandise kiosks and even stores can be found scattered throughout the venue.
Lincoln Financial has some sort of branch in the north end zone... we don't know what's up
with that, except some guy who was a dead ringer for Honest Abe was hanging out there
and probably selling life insurance or something.
Club seating can be found on the east and west sides, with the east club also wrapping
around the south end zone. A number of levels of suites can be found above the lower and
club levels, with a "red zone" suite section in the north end zone. By the way, PSL's are a
requirement for lower and club seats, and club seating here runs well into 3 figures per
We are starting to see a trend in the new NFL venues, and that is the absence of banners
and retired numbers in the seating bowl. This team hasn't won any Super Bowl
championships (one trip back in 1980), and there aren't too many NFL titles to brag about
either. Their history is showcased in a great way in the building's atrium lobby.
Touchdowns, extra points, fumbles...
Touchdown... "Fly Eagles Fly"... the team's emotional fight song is sung by EVERYBODY, and
the adrenaline just rushes when the music plays and the team runs onto the field...
E-A-G-L-E-S ... Eagles! Very very nice.
Extra Point- We've seen plenty of NFL venues with out of town scoreboards, but the Linc is
the first that we've seen that includes the time remaining in the game as well as score,
quarter and possesion.
Fumble- in that same vein, the Linc has a digital LED board on each sideline and a streaming
dot matrix board at the base of the "Eagle Nest" yet they do not appear to be used to their
fullest capabilities. How about some more special effects from the LED boards and maybe
something else besides "Welcome to Lincoln Financial Field" on the dot matrix
board.....some detailed in game stats there, perhaps???
Fumble- to the overly passionate Philly fans who denigrate anyone or anything wearing a
logo of a sports team that is not based in Southeast Pennslyvania. We get more nonsense
here in Philly for wearing Sabres gear than anywhere else on the continent.
Then again, is this really a surprise considering how Phillyfan can be towards their own
Touchdown- To the magic of the USRT karma....in the Eagles first four games here(two
preseason games included) they go zero for four in the win column and are outscored to
the tune of 89-31!!! Off we go to the rescue, as the Eagles hold off the Redskins' late charge
to win by a 27-25 count.
Extra point - just as at Invesco Field, the team has interwoven its logo into the seating deck,
making for an impressive effect when the seats are empty. But speaking of empty seats...
Touchdown - To Eagles fans who have supported their team through thick and thin,
enduring the wretched Vet and some horrible teams along the way. Season tickets make up
most of the fan base (PSLs required in lower and club sections to boot) and fans here have
snapped up all the single seats, making an Eagles ticket a hot item, year in and year out.
Touchdown- The Vet will be imploded sometime in February or March of 2004!!
We want to extend our appreciation to Eagles staffers RON HOWARD, Director of Marketing
and Communications and DEREK BOYKO, Manager Media Relations who both went the extra
mile to make our visit a memorable one. (Assist to Sabres VP/Communications MIKE
GILBERT for introducing the USRT to the Eagles front office). Ron and Derek are inducted
into the USRT Hall of Fame with our heartfelt thanks.
Joining the new generation of NFL venues, Lincoln Financial Field does not have the
amazing view of a city skyline. It does not have a retro/nostalgic brick facade of a Camden
Yards. What it does have is a design that focuses a lot of attention on fan friendly public
spaces, gathering areas, and architecture that embraces the gritty and passionate
Philadelphia sports fan. Walk into the Linc and you have more a feel of a bustling train or
bus station or museum than a glitzy stadium. It is more like your neighborhood field, or your
corner tavern, but all done with a dynamic flair, and has every fan friendly amenity to make
your day complete. The Linc deservedly takes its place among the elite and great venues of
the National Football League.
Food and team store 8
Scoreboard and electronics 8
Fan support 9
Location and neighborhood 6
Banners and history 4
In game entertainment 6
Concourses/fan comfort 7.5
Bonus: Tailgate scene 1.5, Eagle logo in seating bowl 1, Fight Song 1, USRT Red Carpet treatment 4