There have been some questions recently about the club level at Coca Cola Park, home of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, AAA affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. As a 7-year season-ticket holder in the club level, let me attempt to provide some answers.
..(Updated March 8, 2015)
What is the “Club Level” at Coca Cola Park?
The club level consists of seating sections 201-212 roughly positioned above field level sections 105-116. Most sections have five rows of seats, A-E. In some cases, the last row is on the 200-level concourse and incorporates accessible seating options. In addition, the “club level” is also home to luxury suites 301-320, and two “party porch” group areas. There is a 300-level indoor carpeted concourse which provides access to these areas. The press box is also located on this level. There is a meeting room back behind the elevator.
Why is it called a “club?”
“Club Levels” are common at most modern stadiums these days. It’s usually an area with some upscale amenities which charges premium prices for seats. It usually includes access to temperature-controlled indoor areas with tables and chairs, TVs, bars, game rooms, upscale food choices, and the like. The seats are usually one level above the field-level, and provide excellent sight lines to view the game, without being too far up or far away. The seats are usually a little nicer than the standard stadium or arena seats, sometimes more padded and sometimes a little bigger. I’ve personally visited club levels at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, and Nationals Park in Washington. All are very nice. I think I’d rank PNC as the best overall. Coca Cola Park’s club level is nicely done, especially considering that it’s a minor league stadium. I’ve also been to the Club Level in the new PNC Field in Moosic. They did a good job with that one, too, although it doesn’t include very much seating for the game.
That’s gotta be good for when it rains, right?
Well, yes and no. It can be a very good option compared with being packed into a concourse at field level. However, there’s never enough room for all the fans, so it becomes quite crowded as well, with folks sitting on the floor and packed shoulder to shoulder. With this many people, the temperature-control begins to suffer too. The AC in the summer and the heat in the spring provide for some respite from the outside weather, though, which can be very nice on extreme days. At Coca Cola Park, none of the regular club-level seats are under cover. The outdoor seats for the suites, are.
Are the seats different? Are they bigger?
The green plastic seats are the same as those found at field level, except they are very slightly padded on the seating surface. They are not bigger in size, but the rows are slightly farther apart yielding a small amount of extra leg room. In some MLB club levels, the seats are more padded on the surface and the seat back.
How do I get up there?
There is an elevator in the walkway roughly behind sections 110-111 near the club entrance. They will take you upstairs, as well as down to the dugout suites. There are two stairwells there too, as well as one on each baseline near sections 106 and 117.
But they won’t let me go up…
Right. You need to have a club-level ticket (section 201-212) or a Suite ticket (sections 301-320) or a Party Porch ticket to go up. In addition, Dugout Suite guests, first-row ticket-holders, and those with media passes are granted access. This is also an important point, because if you have tickets upstairs, you do not want to forget them if you go downstairs for food or for whatever reason–you won’t be able to get back up without the ticket.
Wait, there’s a special entrance?
Yes. The club level entrance is often referred to as the “West” entrance and provides access for Club Level patrons (Club Seats, Suites, Party Porches, and Dugout Suites) and those with accessibility limitations. This entrance typically opens 90-minutes prior to first pitch, slightly earlier than the main entrance.
What else is cool about the club level?
Well, you can see the airport from most sections. That’s kinda cool. And you can look out over the parking lot and the old LSI building over towards Allentown and the PPL building and arena buildings downtown, from the smoking deck and the windows along the third-base suite-level concourse.
Tell me more about this smoking deck…
Well, there’s a door at the rear of the club area where you can go outside on a porch. It is directly above the West entrance and overlooks the Preferred Parking lot. Most use this area to smoke. I wish they wouldn’t, because it’s a neat place to hang out. It would be better for everyone if they’d put TVs out there. But I suppose club-level smokers appreciate not having to go downstairs and outside to smoke.
Are there concessions on the club level?
Yes, the Club Level is home to the “Hog Heaven” stand, which provides most of the standard ballpark fare also located at the Blast Furnace, Home Plate Grill, and Lunch Box. However, not many specialty items. The “Pig Stop” is another area available to club level patrons. They have sodas, peanuts, inferior soft pretzels, pizza and used to include a specialty item. New for 2015, there will be no specialty item; however, you’ll be able to order from the bar menu as at the bar, but won’t be required to sit at the bar to wait for your food to come out. See below, as we await implementation details for 2015.
The suites have catering food provided, so if you are a guest there take advantage of that–it’s a lot cheaper than buying food.
Finally, there is a bar menu available at the club bar. It is not extensive, and similar but not identical to the menus in the hot corner and the Red Robin Oasis. However, the food from this menu is really, really good. It is all prepared to order, so you do have to allow some time to sit at the bar or table nearby and wait. The bartenders take the orders at the bar, and give you a numbered pig to identify your order. When it comes out from the kitchen, the bartenders will deliver it. Don’t go far, though, as the bartenders get busy. It’s a nice option for dinner before the game if you get there early enough. The prices are high, but fair, considering the outstanding quality and other ballpark prices. Recently, the wait times for bar food orders have been really good, too.
Can you get food delivered to your seats in the club level?
You used to be able to do that via the Bypass Lane App on your smartphone. I don’t think many were using it, and it may have been discontinued. Service was uneven, and sometimes you could even order stuff from downstairs. It was a neat perk and handy–I hope they can find a way to bring it back effectively.
Are there rest rooms?
Of course. There are main rest rooms are near the bar and Hog Heaven, across the hall from the press box as you head down the third base indoor concourse. There’s a “family” rest room here as well. There are smaller rest rooms farther down the hall on the first-base side. For men, only the main one has the famous urinal video game. The game version here is sometimes different compared with the versions at field level.
Are there souvenirs upstairs?
Not really. They tried that a couple years ago, but didn’t really sell enough to continue. Your best bet is to walk downstairs to the clubhouse store. Sometimes they’ll come through with pig noses or foam fingers or launch-a-balls.
I have club level tickets, how do I get to the seats?
There are glass doors on either side of the bar which lead out to the concrete, outdoor concourse I spoke of before. There will be kind ushers there to assist you if needed. Be prepared to walk down some steps. There is another set of glass doors down the first-base line between suites 302 and 303. There’s a ramp here if you cannot do steps.
Where are the party porches?
They are located at each end of the 300-level indoor concourse. Usually, you have a buffet provided with your group tickets there. The sodas are included, usually, but the alcohol may not be. Check with the person at the door or your group leader. If you ask me, the third-base one is better: You don’t have to look into the sun for the first four innings and it’s closer to home plate.
I have suite tickets. What should I expect?
Once you navigate to the club level, and find your suite, you should expect an indoor temperature-controlled area with leather-like couches and some pub-style tables and chairs. There will be a kitchen-like area where the food is set up. Expect some ball-park-like choices such as hot dogs, hamburgers, pulled pork, sausages, sometimes Mac and Cheese, some salads and/or baked beans, chips or nachos, and cookies. There are usually sodas available. Alcohol availability and exact menu choices are at the discretion of the suite holder and the catering menu choices he or she has made. If you’re a guest, this stuff is free. If you’re the suite holder, it is not. As a guest in several suite areas over the years, I’ve found the quality to be quite pedestrian, but what are you going to do?
Anyway, you’ll also have your own private seating section outside of the glass door at the stadium-side of the suite. These seats are under cover, and overlook the 200-level concourse and regular club seats below, as well as the field level. The game is also view-able from inside the suite on flat screen monitor(s). These TVs can also be tuned to other sporting events if necessary!
Is there a dress code?
I was invited to a club area in an arena many years ago which had a dress code. However, no such thing at Coca Cola Park. Come as you would for a ball game.
How do I get tickets for the club level?
In the early days of the stadium, 2008-2010, the only way to get tickets in the club level was to purchase a full-season ticket. Or, you could get the tickets from a person or company who purchased them. Things are a bit different now. Club level season ticket plans are available on 72-, 36- and maybe 18-game basis. You can also get single game tickets upstairs. If you desire tickets in the club level to a single-game, my advice is to purchase them in person or over the phone, and to ask just before the start of the home-stand containing the game you wish to attend. My experience is that these single-game tickets aren’t always available online, and that some of them are made available with little notice depending on the attendance plans of the party porches and suites. Some of the club level seats are connected to the suites and party porches in order to provide for occupancy limits and so that each person is guaranteed a seat. If the porch or suite doesn’t require it’s entire allotment, it is my belief that these tickets are then made available for sale, but may not be made available online. I’ve been unable to verify this information exactly, but it’s been my experience and observation.
Where are the best seats in the club level?
Well they’re all good, of course. However, I tend to avoid sections 201-204 because you’ve got to look into the sun for the first few innings. This gives me trouble trying to pick up the flight of the ball off the bat. The third base side is easier to see the ball, but does require a little extra walking for access to the club area and the field level.
I heard there’s always lots of bobble heads on the club level. Is this true?
Well, kind of. Giveaways are guaranteed for club-level ticket holders, and for some, that’s major perk. I admit, I do like that I can show up late for a game and know that I can still get my free hat or bobble. I also enjoy that I don’t have to pick it up straight away and carry it around all evening (or take it to the car). I’m still subject to the limits of the giveaway, though, as to age or whatnot. I’m not sure if it’s that way in the suites, as all guests there may receive the giveaway regardless, perhaps. Also, for a time, they weren’t guaranteeing the giveaways to the first-row patrons who have access to the club. I’m not sure if it’s still that way. It is a bit of a drag that my kids hold full-price club season-tickets and only get the kiddo giveaways, but that’s the rules. They do get the kiddo giveaways, though.
I also know that they don’t have the number of giveaways for the club perfectly calculated, either. For many promotions, the staff can be seen packing up dozens upon dozens of excess promos near the end of the game. For several games (the Ryan Howard bobble head, most recently) they’ve run out. That has been rare, but when you say “guaranteed,” you’ve got to stand by it, right? Anyway, if promos are very important to you , perhaps it’s better to just purchase the package available at the beginning of the season, or renew your season ticket for five years and score a pack of free promos that way. The other advantage to those solutions is that you don’t have to show up for all of the games, and you’ll get both the adult and the kiddo giveaways.
OK, but where do you get them? I had a club seat and no one gave me the promo item…
You have to go to a table at the rear of the club, opposite the bar. There will be folks there to check your ticket, mark your hand and your ticket, and distribute the items. If you’re unsure where to go, just ask.
Should I consider club level seats?
Sure. If you’re considering season tickets next year you should inquire about availability and price. The seats are $15 compared with $10 for field level–50% more. However, that’s less than the price of a beer, so everything’s relative. It does add up, though, over 36 or 72 games for multiple seats. Take that into account. And, just like at field level, there’s no discount for the full-season package. Multiply your game package by your seat price by your number of seats and that’s your bill. Prices are going up in 2015; you’ll pay $17 for a seat on the day of the game–purchase ahead to get the $15 price point. As I mentioned above, the best time to shop for single club seats is usually the day before a home stand starts, and over the phone or in person at the box office.
Who are the best candidates for club level tickets?
- Those who like the higher-up view of the field
- Those who wish access to the environmental comforts of the indoor club area
- Those who want guaranteed giveaways
- Those who want access to the club bar, for wine and mixed drinks
- Those who wish to drink after the seventh inning. (note, the Tiki area also provides this, I think. Don’t drink and drive.)
- Those who wish access to the additional food choices of the Club Bar Menu.
Who should avoid the club level?
- Those who wish to be closer to the field (not necessarily a better view, if you ask me, but some like that proximity to the players)
- Those who have difficulty walking may wish to avoid the elevator hassle and the stairs and the steps to the concourse.
- Those who don’t want to pay the higher ticket price.
- Those who don’t care a thing, ever, about giveaways.
- Those with young kids, who need to walk the concourse and visit the playground to keep the kids occupied–no sense in paying extra to be upstairs
- Those who enjoy the social areas of the two outfield bars: no sense in paying double to be upstairs.
- Those who don’t care for heights
Should I consider single-game tickets upstairs if the ticket window offers them?
Sure. Seats on the first base side have the same problem with the sun as those downstairs. It’s only five dollars more, and you’ll get to see if you like it.
Also, you can walk upstairs during one of the “open house” type days if you’re around–like pig day, or the All-Star Party, or the like. If it’s the off-season, and you’re considering the season tickets, ask the staff for a tour of the club level first. I remember that I purchased mine in February, 2009, and I requested to see the seats first before purchasing.
You mentioned the steps. Are there accessibility issues with being upstairs?
No, not really. As mentioned, you can access the stadium via accessible parking near the West entrance. Use the West entrance, then the elevators to the club. If you cannot use the stairs near the bar to enter the seating area, there are ramps down the first-base 300-level (suites) corridor near the party porch, between suites 302 and 303, just behind section 202. Accessible seating is then available on the 200-level concourse at the rear of several sections. See your usher for assistance.
Kram, as a season ticket holder, what is it that you DISLIKE the most about the club level at Coca Cola Park?
Well I’m not a big fan of that bill that comes every October. But I guess my least favorite thing is that, because the sections are smaller and the ushers fewer, they don’t regulate movement in and out of sections like they do at field level–particularly behind the plate. It’s a baseball etiquette thing. It’s a common courtesy thing. And, it’s a safety thing. Don’t make me jump up out of my seat while the ball is in play.
But wait a minute, aren’t they mostly season tickets? Why don’t these people know how to behave? You’d think there would be “bigger” fans upstairs, huh?
Yeah, you’d think. We can do a whole post about baseball etiquette (and we will!) but because it’s easier to get up every five seconds, folks do. I’ve encountered this less often at field level as the larger and more crowded sections seem to force “fans” to pay attention to the game a little more and move about in more regulated patterns. Some folks mistake the “club level” for the “700 level,” and that’s not it at all. Also at field level, parents are more likely to take the kids for a walk or visit the playground rather than leaving them trapped in the section to play monkey bars on the seats and railings.
Oh, I know it’s not perfect anywhere. And, it is minor league baseball after all. It’s just worse, of late, in my section as more people are given the corporate tickets for free and don’t understand the value. This is why I’d like to welcome more IronPigs fans to the club level, and fewer goofballs.
Does Coordinated Health have something to do with the Club Level? Is it a “Health Club?”
No, it’s just the way they’re writing it. Coordinated Health took over sponsorship of the level and bar a year or two ago. Other than the signage and graphics everywhere, it hasn’t resulted in any increase in quality or amenities of the Level itself.
What do you think the IronPigs should do to make the club level better?
Thanks for asking:
- I think it might be time for some better TVs. The nice, new monitors in Moosic were noticeably better. They do play the radio play-by-play over the PA in the club, but it’s often too noisy to hear it. If closed captioning is available for the TVs, they should turn it on.
- The bartenders could use extra help on most nights, as it gets rather busy in there. A beer guy comes around sometimes in the summer months, but not often enough to count on.
- I know they’re often empty during the game, but more tables and chairs inside are needed every so often–before the games and during delays. Make sure all the space is being used effectively.
- They could make that back meeting room available to us more often as an auxiliary lounge. Or, for media overflow, as a buffet area, or a pregame “restaurant” to order from the bar menu–stuff like that. Put the TVs on for the pregame show and turn up the audio. Make copies of the game notes available for club level patrons as they do in the suites.
- Add more ushers and regulate the movement in and out of the sections.
- Make sure the corporate folks are paying for the tickets and not getting them as part of their advertising package–making them more available to the baseball fans, and those that will appreciate the value.
- Allow suite holders to “sub-let” their suites, so that they don’t go empty.
- Make sure there’s a back up plan in place if folks who cannot walk stairs need to get out in a hurry and the elevators are not operational.
I hope this helps if you have Club Level seats or if you’re considering them. If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments section below. I’ll be sure to respond.
See you in the Club Level,