The Start of the Eagles Season Brings More Than Just Good Times
The football season recently kicked off across the country, and its presence was strongly felt here in Philadelphia. On September 8th, the Eagles officially launched the 2019-2020 season at Lincoln Financial Field. This first game, which pitted the Eagles against the Washington Redskins, had swag-clad fans hitting the streets in excited masses. After their incredible Super Bowl win in 2018, it’s no wonder the city is now awash in midnight green!
But the NFL season brings so much more than just jerseys and backyard BBQs; the football season is a huge part of the local culture, it energizes and fuels the entire metro area, and funds charity efforts across the state.
The Most Loyal Fans in the NFL
If you’ve never been to an Eagles home game, you’re in for an experience! Lincoln Financial Field, located in South Philadelphia on Pattison Ave., opened in August 2003, replacing the old Veteran Stadium. With a capacity of just under 70,000 people (69,696, to be exact!), Lincoln Financial Field is the perfect home for Eagles fans.
Eagles fans are regarded as the most loyal fans in the NFL, and it’s easy to see how they’ve won this designation. Simply walk down the street on any given Sunday in Pennsylvania and you’ll see throngs of fans in jerseys, devoting their day to the very serious business of cheering on their team. It’s not uncommon to see painted faces (and bellies!) in the stands during the home games.
Eagles fans are also notorious for their tailgates. These massive, enthusiastic, and inspiring parties have been known to start as early as 6:00 am on days of home games. Tailgates can last the entire day, with fans eating, drinking, and hyping each other up in the parking lot of Lincoln Financial Stadium. Some fans never go into the stadium – they just tailgate in the parking lot during the game!
Fans don’t let away games damper their fun, either. There are sometimes as many Eagles fans at the away stadium as there are fans for the opposing home team. Epic tailgate parties are equally as common at Lincoln Stadium during away games as they are for home games. This practice of tailgating at the stadium is a signature part of the Eagles fandom, and it speaks volumes to the dedication and tenacity of fans across the entire Philadelphia metro area.
Fanatic Devotion Boosts the Economy
Tailgating is hugely popular (and a right good time!), but it is far from the only way that Eagles fans celebrate and engage with the Sunday games. Local bar owners, like Joe Tocci, owner of Tailgater’s Pub in Bethlehem, report seeing huge boosts in sales on game days, and especially so during the playoff games. Fans are in the habit of “coming an hour before the game, sometimes hanging out about an hour after the game,” according to Tocci. And people spending money at bars and restaurants, especially if they’re locally owned, isn’t just good for the bars – it can be a huge boon to the entire local economy.
Even fans who decide to watch the game from home have a positive impact on local vendors. Local stores and convenience markets see an increase in sales of party foods like beer, hoagies (Philadelphia’s term for submarine sandwiches), wings, hotdogs and hamburgers, chips, soda, beer, snacks, and more. In general, when people are watching the Eagles play, they are spending money in the community. That’s the best kind of win/win situation!
In fact, the sheer number of people who go out to watch the games is so significant, that the economic impact of the playoff game in 2018 was estimated at $10 million! And this staggering figure only accounts for direct spending by fans in attendance. But the city estimated an additional $1.5 million in direct income from parking and concession income, as well as hotel, amusement and wage taxes. The 2018 playoff game brought an estimated 2,500 more Eagles fans to town, adding to both the economic and cultural impact of the games on the city.
No matter how you slice it, the Eagles games drive up spending and fuel the local economy, whether fans watch in the stadium, at a restaurant, or from home with friends.
The Eagles Give Back
Boosting the local economy isn’t the only way that the Eagles are helping out. The Eagles have a strong charity initiative and support hundreds of nonprofits throughout the greater Philadelphia area. The Eagles believe that strong nonprofits create strong communities, and the fans agree. As a part of this initiative, the Eagles team up with a select group of nonprofits in season-long partnerships to raise awareness and strengthen the charitable potential of each group.
This season, the Eagles have partnered with three incredible nonprofits: Food Moxie, Fred’s Footsteps, and Women Against Abuse.
The Eagles also just wrapped up their 23rd Playground Build, a program that supports safe and healthy play spaces for children across Philadelphia. According to the Eagles website:
The annual community-changing playground build teams the entire Philadelphia Eagles organization, including players, coaches, and staff members, with a Philadelphia school community to transform the barren asphalt schoolyard into a beautiful and imaginative safe space for play and recreation. The project includes installation of a large play structure, a mini Eagles turf field, colorful murals, and mosaic tables.
The team also runs youth camps, high school programs, and Green initiatives. For more information on how the Eagles give back, visit their website.
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