Lincoln Financial Field – Temple Owls
Birds of a Different Feather at the Link
Temple University was founded in 1884 as a night school for the working citizens of Philadelphia. It has grown into the state supported institution of more than 37,000 students that it is today. The main campus is in North Philadelphia, about 1.5 miles north of Philadelphia’s central business district.
The Owls have been playing football since 1894. The legendary Glenn “Pop” Warner even coached Temple for 6 years in the 1930’s.
The Owls were a football-only member of the Big East Conference from 1991 until 2004. Temple was forced out of the Big East due to poor attendance. Temple played the 2005 and 2006 seasons as an independent before playing in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) from 2007 to 2011. In 2012, the Owls rejoined as a football-only member of the Big East Conference. The conference later changed their name to the American Athletic Conference (AAC) after the Catholic basketball playing schools split, keeping the Big East name. In 2015 the Temple Owls had their best modern season, winning the AAC East title.
From 1927 until 1977, the Owls played at 20,000 seat Temple Stadium. It was located in the West Oak Lane neighborhood of the city. It was was razed in 1997. From 1978 to 2002 the team joined the Eagles and Phillies as tenants in Veterans Stadium.
Lincoln Financial Field opened on August 3, 2003 for a soccer match between Manchester United and FC Barcelona.
There is work going on for an on campus football stadium for the Temple Owls. That proposed facility would be located behind the Liacouras Center basketball arena. It will be interesting to see how this develops as the lack of space near the urban school will make this a difficult process to undertake. An on-campus stadium would certainly help the fan and atmosphere categories of the Temple Owl football experience. Expect the local neighborhood to continue to fight against this idea.
Food & Beverage 3
There are concessions stands throughout many areas of the stadium offering the usual options. Not all will be open for Temple football games. The prices are set for the NFL games and are just too high for Temple football.
Alcohol is sold at Temple games. Hot dogs are $5, although a few kiosks sell a better grilled version for $6. You will also find a decent Italian sausage for $6 at those same kiosks. Regular sodas are $4.25 with a souvenir size available for $6.
Cheesesteaks are found at the general food stands for a decent $9. There will be some better options for cheesesteak at local operators for a dollar or so more. Tony Luke’s cheesesteaks and roast pork sandwiches are a great option, but will cost a buck or two more depending on options.
Chickie’s and Pete’s sells their famous Crab Fries for $10.50. Cheese sauce is $2 extra. They also have a very good chicken cutlet sandwich for $9.
Temple tries to make the stadium theirs. But it is no small task, with the green Eagle seats in the stadium and the Eagle posters, signs and walls in evidence. Covering some seats with the Temple “T” logo and Owl helps, as does the video ribbon boards using the Temple name and displaying historical Temple football player names. But it can only go so far. This is the Philadelphia Eagles stadium, not the Temple Owls.
Temple has a good band, cheerleaders and dance squad to help the atmosphere. It is a nice place to see a game, but Temple games will suffer in terms of atmosphere as long as they play off campus.
The South Philadelphia Sports Complex, which also includes the nearby Wells Fargo Center and Citizens Bank Park, is located far from the actual city of Philadelphia. To really experience the city, you would need to take a subway ride into center city.
Despite its isolated location, there are places for fans to visit close to the stadium. The Xfinity Live entertainment center is across the street, roughly where the old Spectrum was located. It is overpriced and is not really an entertainment center, but a mess of bars thrown together. Still it has some good food options and a cool 32-foot screen at the NBC Sports Arena.
The famous sports bar Chickie’s and Pete’s is pretty close to the ballpark on Packard Avenue. There are hundreds of screens and video game options inside here. The food is pretty good too. The Crab Fries are famous here. You can park at Chickie’s and Pete’s for some games and they offer a shuttle bus to the games (“The Taxi Crab”). Just make sure you follow parking rules, as they will be quick to tow you if you don’t.
Some of the best cheesesteaks are located at Tony Luke’s on Oregon Avenue underneath I-95. Don’t fall for the more touristy Pat’s and Geno’s. Tony Luke’s offers more options with much better flavor. Tony Luke’s can get crowded before games and still gets it share of tourists. For a more neighborly experience go to Philip’s Steaks at 2234 West Passyunk Avenue. They are located in a safe neighborhood and offer free parking. Philip’s also has a surprisingly good cheeseburger for a cheesesteak joint. Just remember you have to buy the drinks and fries at a different window than your main entree, which is a strange and unique Philly tradition.
The rest of Philadelphia is available to you a short ride away on the Broad Street subway line. A good happy hour suggestion is at Morimoto (723 Chestnut Street) where there are $6 spicy salmon maki and $6 Morimoto martini. Trust an Iron Chef. I would also recommend taking the subway to the Race Vine station and walking down Race Street east until you get to Chinatown. Peek in a random restaurant and try their delectable offerings. David’s Mai Lai Wah (1001 Race Street, #1) and Bar-Ly (101 N. 11th Street) are a couple great options. Bar-Ly is Chinatown’s first craft-beer bar.
Me N Mo Meatballs and More (214 South Street) is a great restaurant specializing in meatballs and the pasta and other accompaniments that go along with them. It is cash only, but you will enjoy the simple settings. The dive bar atmosphere of Good Dog Bar & Restaurant (224 S 15th Street), where their Mac and Cheese with Corn Flakes comes with an amazing blueberry cornbread. A few other great options are the charcuterie with cheese, duck pot pie and buffalo shrimp po boy.
Games against big opponents like Penn State and Notre Dame will bring out nearly sell out crowds. But games against the likes of Connecticut, Fordham and South Florida will leave the stadium at maybe 25% of capacity, at best. On those smaller games, the school can fill the lower bowl nicely, but the large empty seats hamper the atmosphere for fans.
The students do a decent job of cheering on their team. It must be difficult to get students to the game with the relatively long shuttle drive from their North Philly dorms.
Tailgating is popular here, as it is with most South Philadelphia Sports Complex events. One should wander the parking lot pre-game and meet some new friends.
The sports complex is located right off of I-95, with massive parking lots in the area. Even with big crowds, there should be no problem with access. Parking will not be cheap, at $20, but it will be convenient, as there are over 6,000 spaces available throughout eight lots.
If using public transportation, you will likely find yourself using the only corporate-sponsored subway station that I know of, the AT&T station of the Broad Street Line.
Return on Investment 3
Tickets can be had for most all games, except for the big time opponents. Secondary markets will offer very cheap options. Official ticket prices run from $20-$45 for most games with those bigger games going for $50-$85.
Coupled with high parking costs, Temple does not offer the best value for attending a football game. Look into those secondary markets for the best option.
The micro-turbines on the top of the seating sections are an attraction of their own. Seven on the top of each end zone seating section is a unique site to behold, besides serving as a good deal for the environment. They provide sustainable energy for the complex.
Until Temple University has an on campus stadium, or even an off-campus, decicated one, they will feel like guests in this NFL designed stadium. Lincoln Financial Field is still a great stadium and does offer great amenities and viewing options for Temple Owls football
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The fan and atmosphere rankings are lower because the too large stadium dampens them.