PHILADELPHIA—The Flyers have turned their fans into Raging Bullies.
Philadelphia fans have been implicated in the sports crimes of throwing snowballs and batteries — and of late, haymakers at horses and athletes — so why not let them smash and bash inanimate objects for cash inside a controlled environment?
Grab a helmet and a baseball bat and step up to the plate. Flyers fans can take a swing for fun or just to take out their frustrations on bottles, dishes, even a fishbowl stamped with the visitors’ logo.
Strictly speaking, anything that shatters to the strains of metal music cranked to 11.
The Flyers opened their Rage Room for Tuesday night’s home opener as part of $265-million overhaul (all dollars U.S.) of the 23-year-old Wells Fargo Center. The arena has been home to the Wing Bowl, Gritty, indoor football, a Royal Rumble and a Republican national convention. But never an NBA or NHL champion.
So it’s little wonder Flyers fans need to let off some steam and go crazy inside a room nestled in the upper level for fans in a new $25 standing-room-only section. The franchise that once satiated fans with the bloodlust of the Broad Street Bullies during the glory years of their 1974 and 1975 Stanley Cup championships has gone from The Hammer to sledgehammers, letting fans take their whacks inside a dorm-sized room.
“The concept is definitely one of a kind and non-traditional,” Flyers executive Valerie Camillo said. “We ran the concept by some of our fans who told us they thought this would be a fresh way to have some harmless fun.”
The Flyers charge $35 per person or $60 for two for five-minute rage sessions, and will let up to 14 fans per game try their best at high-sticking. There are both online reservations and walk-up slots available. There are no current plans to open the room for 76ers games or other events. The room is accessible through a “bookcase” straight out of Wayne Manor and, like Batman, fans change into a costume: jumpsuit and safety helmet.
The first Flyers fan to give it a (slap)shot was New Yorker Peter Caccioppoli. He swung a hockey stick at a place setting that would make Martha Stewart wince and later took aim at a fishbowl with a New Jersey Devils logo.
Caccioppoli said he’s been attending games “for a very frustrating five years,” and was thrilled to take part in the demolition derby.
“I broke the stick, which was a lot of fun,” Caccioppoli said. “The bat is easy to wield. I played baseball for a long time, so it was easy to throw a couple of plates and smash those. The sledgehammer was fun, too. It was a good time.”
The Flyers introduced their googly-eyed mascot Gritty last season and the Comcast Spectacor ownership group has all but turned the arena into a sports book this season, with betting lines bombarding the new big screen for the opener. The Flyers struggled to draw consistent sellouts last season and missed the playoffs for the fourth time in seven seasons. They haven’t made it to the second round since 2012.
If losing doesn’t agitate fans enough, they can rage against the obscene: a 24 oz. can of beer costs $14.50, a jumbo hot dog is $6 and a plant-based burger hits 13 bucks.
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