Updated: May 15
Last week I wrote about the stadium amenities and the club sections. This article, is all about the fan experience. I've included pictures of the stadium by the fans and will describe the new route for the march and give a brief introduction to the local supporter club's and their bar affiliates. Consider it a taste of what you can experience on gameday at the amazing TQL stadium.
A digital view from every seat FC Cincinnati | 3D seatmap (3ddigitalvenue.com)
This Sunday, FC Cincinnati will finally be able to show the world the best soccer specific stadium in the nation. TQL stadium will set a new standard for all other stadiums in the league.
This gift to the city, and more directly to the fans, is a much deserved "thank you" from Club Ownership to a fanbase that has had to deal with disappointment on the pitch.
Though the club has mostly lost on the pitch, it has more than succeeded off of it. Between the work in the community, the world class Mercy Health training center and now the incredible new stadium, the club has laid a solid foundation for a successful club for years to come.
The most impressive pregame activity, maybe in all of MLS, is the March to the the stadium. During the march, supporters groups exit their home bars to meet on the route to the stadium. What ensues is a massive parade of people singing as one for their club. The march is a wonderful display of friendship and togetherness that is far too rare an occurrence these days. Personally, I can only describe the feeling of being part of the march as joyous and awe inspiring, and after a year of separation from friends and family, joining the march again may be a revelation for we fans. Even if the crowd is smaller than normal, due to continued restrictions, for those marching, it will be huge.
This season, will obviously be different than years past. This season we will be marching to our new home. The supporters groups have detailed the new route from some new places and with (unfortunately) some new restrictions. One major disappointment for the march is that the roads will NOT be closed, at least not until approaching the stadium. With this change, both the club and the SG's are preaching safety, and for the fans to used sidewalks and crosswalks appropriately.
To help with all the changes, the supporters groups have created a new joint website called "The Incline Collective" to help fans of all groups obtain info on the March, the route and the bars. www.inclinecincy.com
From the site: "The Incline Collective is comprised of multiple, independent Supporters’ Groups (SGs). Some of these groups are local to Cincinnati; others are for supporters abroad. Regardless of location, all groups share a commonality of purpose: to support club and city together, as one, on match days and throughout the year. The independent SGs of the Incline Collective are committed to creating an raucous environment that brings the passion of Cincinnati to full voice, while also being free from abusive or harmful behavior."
The Pride at Northern Row Brewery.
The Pride The Pride | FC Cincinnati's First Supporters' Group (thepridecincy.com) is FC Cincinnati's oldest independent supporters group and thus one of the most popular. They've chosen an amazing place for their pregame home.
The Pride describes Northern Row Brewery (Northern Row) as: "an incredible mix of cool and historic that never crosses the line to being “fancy.” It truly is a beautiful place with amazing drink, food and decor." Especially the rowing team boat that hangs on the ceiling. "It was the training boat of the US Olympic that team went to Nazi Germany and helped to decimate Hitler’s claim of a “master race.”
La Ofrenda Tequila, home of Los Caballeros.
Los Caballeros (5) Caballeros SG | Facebook is FC Cincinnati's only Spanish speaking supporters group. This SG is small but passionate, which makes La Ofrenda Tequila (LA OFRENDA TEQUILA) a perfect meeting place. This bar of Mexican heritage describes itself as "A quaint bar with a spacious patio sitting at the foot of a colorful altar, perched in the place where the line between worlds is blurred and where Mexican heritage comes to life."
Die Innenstadt and Hanger 937 from the Sam Adams Taproom.
Die Innenstadt, (my chosen SG) Die Innenstadt has been the largest independent supporters group rallying around FC Cincinnati. "Our German name (a nod to one aspect of the the city’s heritage) roughly translates to “the inner city” or “the urban core.” Our members are found all over, though—from city neighborhoods to the outlying suburbs, across the river, in states all over the country, and even around the world." PROST!!!
Hanger 937 Home | Hangar 937 is FCC's supporter group from Dayton Ohio. It derives it's name from Dayton's history of flight innovation and it's 937 area code. "Hangar 937 serves as Dayton's home for all things FC Cincinnati. Providing fellowship for fans of the Orange and Blue, Hangar 937 supports the beautiful game at all levels in Dayton and gathers to cheer on FCC."
Early this season, the two groups will meet at the Sam Adams Taproom (Sam Adams Cincy). "The taproom serves exclusive Sam Adams beers brewed on-site and offers growler fillings. The taproom also features a large outdoor patio."
The Briogáid at Taft's Ale House
The Briogáid The Briogaid – The Briogáid are an Irish/Celtic inspired FC Cincinnati supporters group. "We are dedicated to cultivating an enjoyable match day experience, creating lasting bonds of friendship, and improving and contributing to our city and community both inside and outside the realm of soccer."
Taft’s Brewing Company (Taft's Ale House | Taft's Brewing Co. (taftsbeer.com)) was founded in 2015 with the creation of Taft’s Ale House. "A three-story renovated marvel originally a church built-in 1850. The Ale House is home to 300 seats, 12-16 house-made craft beers, award-winning fare featuring Tri Tip Steak, and an atmosphere that will blow you away."
The Queen City Mafia at The Pitch
The Queen City Mafia: www.queencitymafia.com "We are a small tight knit group for football fans that support FC Cincinnati. We were established in 2016"
The Pitch (thepitchcincy.com) Located across the new TQL Stadium, The Pitch offers a stadium view rooftop, a refreshing outdoor patio, rotating food trucks, and a video wall for an immersive sports watching experience. "The Pitch is for everyone. We aim to be home base for connecting with people and having good times all year round."
Norden at.... all of them
Dispersed amongst the other supporter bars you will find Norden https://twitter.com/norden_sg?s=21 Norden “exist to raise support for FC Cincinnati in the northern suburbs of the city. We are family friendly and inclusive of all soccer interests. We are protectors of the ‘northern wall’ and descend on West End Stadium on match-day to support the Orange and Blue.“ I had mistakenly left them out of this post. But as they say “The North Remembers!” Even if I didn’t. Check them out! They’re good sports.
Once the fan's arrive at their new home, they will be greeted by what may be the best place to watch soccer in all of America. As bad as FC Cincy have been on the pitch, everything on their new pitch is amazing.
As fans finally fill the allowed 30% percent of this amazing stadium, they will no doubt be lifted up by the beauty before them. Just as they will lift this team up.
TQL stadium will one day be a nightmare destination for opposing teams. It's already a dream come true for the fans.
I thought it would be fun to add pictures given to me by some fans to see through their eyes just how amazing www.tqlstadium.com is.
And his amazingly talented wife Angelina Schrand (@sicilian_mode) / Twitter
By: Rob Burkhardt