Team: Wichita Wings (Major Indoor Soccer League)
Game: Wings vs Milwaukee Wave-1/25/13
Wings vs Chicago Soul-1/26/13
Team Website: www.wichitawingsindoorsoccer.com
Ticket Information: (316) 927-3999 or www.wichitawingsindoorsoccer.com
Tourism Information: (800) 288-9424 or www.gowichita.com
Online Broadcasts: KGSO-AM 1480 www.kgso.com
Local Newspaper: Wichita Eagle www.kansas.com
Team History: The second incarnation of the legendary soccer team, the new Wichita Wings are in their second season in the Major Indoor Soccer League, having joined the league in March 2011. The original Wings played in the first MISL from 1979-92 and in the National Professional Soccer League from 1992-2001. The first Wings team played just across I-135 at the Kansas Coliseum, drawing frequent sellout crowds during indoor soccer's heyday in the mid-eighties.
Seating Capacity: Hartman Arena seats approximately 5,000 for indoor soccer and has a total seating capacity of 6,500 for concerts.
How About That Name (And Some History): Originally designed strictly as a home for the Wichita Wild indoor football team, it was the brainchild of local businessman Wink Hartman. The building was originally scheduled to be built in 2007, but budget constraints forced a redesign, which delayed the opening of the arena. The building was finally opened in late March 2009, after twelve months of construction.
Getting There: (from downtown Wichita): Take I-235 north for approximately 12 miles until I-235 merges into I-135. Follow I-135 north for approximately three miles to exit 16 (77th St). At the top of the ramp, make a left onto 77th St, and proceed for a half mile, making a right onto Hartman Arena Dr. Follow Hartman Arena Dr to the arena and parking.
On The Town: A suburb of Wichita, Park City is located 14 miles northwest of the city, and has a population of just under eight thousand. It is easily accessed by I-135 from Wichita to the south and Salina to the north.
A new Park City began to be developed in 1953 on farmland purchased by developers. In 1981, Park City elected it's first mayor.
Nearby Airport: Mid-Continent International Airport is located just west of downtown Wichita, approximately fifteen miles from Hartman Arena.
What To Do: Wichita has a surprisingly diverse list of places to visit which would satisfy just about any interest.
"The Keeper of the Plains", a forty foot high iron sculpture of a native American offering supplications to his gods, is located on the confluence of the Little and Big Arkansas Rivers. Designed and built by Bosin, the Keeper is surrounded by fire pits which when lit for fifteen minutes every evening, gives the sculpture an even more dramatic effect. For more information, call (316) 350-3340 or visit www.theindiancenter.org.
Where To Eat Before The Game: There is nothing in the immediate vicinity of the Hartman Arena, but one exit south of the arena on 61st St, there are several restaurants, both fast food, and "sit down".
Where To Stay: On this trip, I stayed at the Days Inn-Wichita West. Located less than five minutes from Mid Continent Airport, this hotel has nice sized guest rooms, nerby access to several restaurants, and at $45.00 per night, was a real bargain. For more information, call (316) 942-1717 or visit www.daysinn.com.
Ticket Prices: Wings tickets are priced as follows: $25.00 (club seats), $19.00, $16.00, and $12.00.
Getting In: The main entrance to the Hartman Arena is on the east side of the building (the side that faces I-135). This entrance contains the box office as well as the entrance to the Coors Light lounge.
The Good Seats: Hartman Arena is designed in a "U" shaped configuration with seating hugging the field with the exception of the west end of the building. The majority of the seating is blue plastic flip-up seats which give a good view of the field. The main concourse is located above the seating bowl.
Arena Food: There are two main concession stands at the Hartman Arena, both of which are located on the main concourse along the sidelines. Arena food is of the basic variety, without a "trademark" or "signature" item. With that being said, the food served at the home of the Wings isn't too bad of a quality and isn't too obnoxious, price-wise.
Each concession stand has a seperate section selling barbecue items, but these were not open either night I attended.
Here is a selection of the concession prices at Hartman Arena:
Hot Dog: $4.50 Hamburger: $5.00 Nachos: $4.50 Draft Beer: $6.50 Pretzel: $3.50 Large Soda: $5.00 French Fries: $3.00 Personal Pizza: $6.00
Soft Drinks: Interestingly, both Coca Cola and Pepsi are served at the Hartman Arena.
ATM: A "no-brand" ATM is located on the main concourse on the south end of the arena.
Restrooms: Located on each side of the concession stands, they are all clean and of an appropriate size.
Mascot: The Wings have a big orange bird (P.C. Phoenix) in addition to drummer/cheerleader Sgt. Soccer, and the two "Wing Men", who circulate in the stands.
Program: Fans recieve a full-color program as they enter the arena. The program contains the basic game information.
Scoreboard/Arena Voice: The Hartman Arena has a "video wall" on the west side of the arena, which is used as a scoreboard. While the board has a good clear picture, it does not have full video capability. The main scoreboard is assisted by two "ribbon" boards above the main concourse.
Don Hall is the Wings' PA voice, and he is a good one. Hall, a local DJ, is also the voice of Wichita State University basketball, and was the announcer for the original Wings during their final campaign in Wichita.
The music selections are good and are played at an appropriate volume.
Arena Staff: The arena staff were friendly, pleasant, and helpful.
Atmosphere: Both nights had a fairly lively crowd in the area of two thousand each evening. The fans that attended had a good knowledge of soccer, and were a factor in the team's comeback on Friday evening.
Overall Rating: While the Hartman Arena is definitely "no-frills", it's a good building for indoor soccer and a place where the new Wings can hopefully grow and thrive.