Team: Cincinnati Kings (Professional Arena Soccer League)
Game: Kings vs Detroit Waza-11/20/2010
Team Website: http://www.kingsindoor.com/
Ticket Information: (513) 349-1337 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Tourism Information: (859) 581-2260 or http://www.cincinnatiusa.com//
Online Broadcasts: None
Local Newspaper: Cincinnati Enquirer http://www.cincinnati.com/
Team History: A charter member of the Professional Arena Soccer League, the Cincinnati Kings indoor are now playing under their third name in three years. Previously known as 1790 Cincinnati and 1790 Cincinnati Express, the indoor team reached an agreement this fall with the United Soccer League's Cincinnati Kings to become a year-round team in which the two teams would share players and marketing opportunities.
How About That Name (And Some History): This is the first year that the Kings have played their home games at the Cincinnati Gardens, but indoor soccer is nothing new to the venerable building on the Queen City's north side. The Cincinnati Silverbacks of the NPSL played at the Gardens for two years from 1995 through 1997. The Gardens opened it's doors for the first time on February 22, 1949, and at the time was the seventh largest building in the United States. The building draws some of its lineage from Toronto's legendary Maple Leaf Gardens, as the two buildings are of similar design. Previous tenants of the Gardens included the NBA's Cincinnati Royals (now the Sacramento Kings), and minor league hockey teams named the Mohawks, the Swords, the Cylcones, and the Mighty Ducks.
Getting There: From I-75: Go south on I-75, and get off at exit 9 (Paddock Rd/Seymour Ave). At top of ramp, make a left onto Paddock Rd. Take Paddock Rd for a quarter mile, then make a left onto Seymour Ave. Follow Seymour Ave for approximately a mile and a half. The Gardens will be on your left.
Nearby Airport: Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport is approximately 35 miles south of the Cincinnati Gardens.
What To Do Before The Game: One of my all-time favorite museums to visit is the Cincinnati Museum Center, located in the old Union Station rail terminal. Located just on the northern fringe of downtown Cincinnati, the classic "Art Deco" terminal now hosts four seperate attractions: the Cincinnati History Museum, the Duke Energy Childrens Museum, the Museum of Natural History and Science, and the Omnimax Theater. The Omnimax Theater is particularly enthralling, as it's 5 story high screen is set into the building's domed roof, which gives stunning views of the IMAX presentations. For more information on Museum Center events, call (800) 733-2077 or visit http://www.cincymuseum.org/.
Where To Eat Before The Game: There isn't much in the area around the Gardens, and to be honest, it really isn't in the best of areas. I recommend finding a restaurant nearer to your hotel.
Where To Stay: On this trip, the girls and I stayed at the La Quinta Inn in Sharonville. Located off of I-75 approximately 15 minutes north of the Gardens, the La Quinta is convenient, fairly inexpensive (we paid about $75.00 for a room with two beds), boasts an indoor swimming pool, free continental breakfast, and is near several restaurants. For more information, visit http://www.lq.com/ or call (800) SLEEP-LQ.
Ticket Prices: Kings tickets are priced as follows: $12.00 (adult) and $10.00 (youth and college students w/ID).
Parking: There is parking on either side of the Gardens, and an auxiliary lot across Seymour Ave. Since I didn't pay to park, I'm not sure what they charge to park in the Gardens' lots.
The Good Seats: The Gardens has seating on all four ends, but the majority of the seating is along the sidelines. The seating along the sides is double decked, and the old-fashioned wood slat seats are angled well enough to give everyone a good view. The seating on the ends stops about twenty feet above the field level. You can still get a good view on the ends, but if the action is down on your end, you have to hunch over a little to see it.
Getting In: The main lobby is the only entrance, and also is the location of the box office.
Arena Food: Since I was a bit occupied on the Waza bench (see photo), I will rely on Linda and Joan's impressions on the grub at the Gardens. According to the girls, they weren't that impressed with the cheeseburger that they bought, saying that it tasted like a soyburger that you might get in a school lunch line. Linda was much happier with the bratwurst, as it was fully bun sized, with a mild taste. She said it would have been better if it was grilled and not boiled, but it was still acceptable. She also approved of the pork link sausage, which she said was "spicy, hot, and very tasty".
There were two concession stands open, one on each side. There is a bar in one corner of the arena, near the entrance, which serves beer and mixed drinks. It's decorated with many hockey pucks of teams that played for and against the teams that visited the Queen City
Here are some of the prices from the Cincinnati Gardens' concession stands:
Hot Dog: $3.50 Hamburger: $3.50 (with cheese) Nachos: $3.50 (add $1.50 for a side order of extra cheese) Pretzel: $3.50 Bottle Soda: $2.00 Pizza Slice: $3.00
Souvenirs: I didn't see any merchandise sold, but the girls said there was a small stand in the main concourse.
Restrooms: There are restrooms located on the ends of the arena opposite of the main entrance. They are rather old, but in good order.
Mascot: There is a mascot, a Kings' staffer that is wearing a cape, a "Burger King" mask, and carrying a scepter. He is nameless, but does a fairly good job circulating in the stands.
Program: A free roster card.
Scoreboard/Arena Voice: There is a large, centerhanging scoreboard (which a staffer told me was bought from Louisville's Freedom Hall several years back). It was not in use during the Kings game, but there was a smaller scoreboard mounted above one of the goals, which gave basic game information. The Kings also have a large screen which shows crystal clear images of the game action. The PA voice is pretty good, and the music is OK as well.
Arena Staff: Limited, but fairly helpful.
Arena Features: One of the nicer features of the Gardens is the "Legends of the Gardens" exhibit. Opened in 1999, in honor of the building's fiftieth anniversary, the large exhibit shows many pieces of memorablilia from the events and teams that called the Cincinnati Gardens home.
Atmosphere: Although there was only about 600 people in attendance, there was a decent atmosphere at the game. The people there knew soccer, and were very into the game. I've been there for Cyclones hockey games in the past, and when the team drew a big crowd (which was often), the Gardens was a rocking place!
Overall: The Cincinnati Gardens, which has just past it's sixtieth birthday, has something that many of the newer buildings don't have...character. It's one of those places where you can imagine what it was like to see a sporting event many years ago. Whether it's a long time home for the Kings is up for debate, the Gardens is still a viable venue and a hidden jewel for Cincy.