A fan’s experience at home games is always important, a good experience keeps fans coming back, and gets new fans through the gates. In comparison, a bad experience can drive away fans from the team. The fan experience at Atlético Ottawa games is often times a good one. From the quality of play on the field (at least this year), to the halftime entertainment, to the food and drink options. It is all fairly well received by hardcore supporters, season ticket holders, and casual fans.
The game against FC Edmonton was no different. There was a great atmosphere mostly in part to the supporter groups. The quality of play was good, and there were plentiful food and drink options to choose from. Even if the weather decided to try to spoil the day.
To get the to game some people drive, walk, bike, and bus. A nice thing about going to an Atlético game is that every Atlético Ottawa ticket acts as a bus ticket. This gives you free bus fare three hours before the game and three hours after the game. As someone who lives on a major bus route, this is highly beneficial to me as the bus takes me right to the stadium and right back home and doesn’t cost me a dime.
Once I got to the stadium, I was greeted by an announcement that the game had been postponed 40 minutes due to a thunderstorm in the area. While this is out of the team’s control, I would have appreciated this knowledge sooner as I could have just stayed home instead of arriving so early.
There was a special deal going on at the game, however, that made arriving at the stadium worthwhile. Two dollar hotdogs, and with the game starting around lunch, this meant a great and fairly cheap lunch for me. I ended up just getting two hotdogs as they were quite filling.
The food and drink options at TD place are fairly typical for a stadium, with hotdogs, pizza, nachos, popcorn etc., while the drinks are typical too. The stadium is licensed under Budweiser which does offer a fairly good selection of beer and other drinks to fans, but I would have preferred if one of the many local craft breweries were available for purchase, instead of just the generic Budweiser brands.
This game day experience was rather unique as it was also the first rain day of the season for Atlético. In my opinion, this added to the match day experience but that was due to me coming prepared with a poncho, although the people around me without ponchos that stayed and didn’t seek shelter looked to be having a great time as well, even if they were drenched to the bone. It also helped that the supporter’s section continued to sign and cheer loudly during the storm as the game continued.
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During halftime, the Atlético stadium team always puts on a great show, often times there is a Kahoot trivia game during halftime that corresponds to the theme of that day’s game, however, for this game we had a wiener dog race instead which was quite entertaining. In addition to that, we had a t-shirt toss where stadium staff throw t-shirts into the crowd. I was able to catch one, however, I gave it to my seat neighbour as I had also caught one at the last game. The t-shirts just have the CPL or the Atlético Ottawa logo on them, so nothing too special, but still a very fun activity to partake in.
The actual on-field product during the game was great. I sit in the front row almost right behind the opposition bench, so I find it rather interesting to see what goes on with all of the support staff and see how the coaches try to change the game in their favour.
Both goals for Atlético were scored in the second half which meant that Atlético was attacking the net on the west side of the stadium. This is the closest net to where I sit, which meant I had a great view of the goals, and got the celebrate close to the players as well. Although being behind the opposition bench sometimes means that away fans are seated beside me, instead of in their own section. This was not one of those games.
Being in the stands at a game means that you don’t have a commentator explaining what is going on, this allows you to infer what is happening yourself. This can be a good thing at times, but can also be negative as you may never know what is happening. This game had one of those moments. I found once FC Edmonton got their first and only goal, the referee looked to almost lose control of the game at some points. Edmonton was trying for a second goal to tie things up, which meant that Atlético was defending like crazy. Tackles were flying in from both teams depending on who had the ball. This resulted in what seemed to me a bunch of yellow cards being thrown around near the end of the game.
Overall, I found this game day experience a very pleasant one. The two-dollar hotdogs were a great way to feed yourself before the game. The stadium staff kept the fans entertained at halftime with dog races, and t-shirt throws. While the players kept the fans entertained during the game. Everyone but the two Edmonton fans I saw left the game with a smile on their faces after a great day at TD Place.
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