Our first MLS match at Nippert Stadium is upon us! We’re thrilled to return to Mecklenburg and Nippert this weekend, and we wanted to give everyone an introduction to Die Innenstadt, The Bailey, and any other game day questions you may have for this first home game in our MLS era.
As I’m sure you know by now, our pregame is at Mecklenburg Gardens (302 East University Avenue). You can RSVP to our Facebook event here. If you are unacquainted with Meck, it’s an incredible German biergarten with an indoor bar and bierhall attached. They have a full kitchen as well. If you are looking to get food before the game, we recommend coming early so you make sure you have enough time to order, get your food, and eat before the march. There is also a grill outside where you can quickly get a brat or a mett.
Parking at Mecklenburg is limited to a small 5-space lot behind their building, or street parking in the surrounding area, so it might be a good idea to carpool or take public transportation. Additionally there are some metered parking spaces and a few garages around the area. Ultimately, your best chance of getting a close spot is to arrive early.
Mecklenburg Gardens serves draft beers by the liter or half liter and have a great selection of imported German beer and local crafts on tap as well as some bottles or cans. They also have liquor and cider if beer isn’t your thing. Doors will open at 11:00am this Sunday, and we will have merch available to purchase memberships from 11:30am until 2:45pm. To speed things up, you can also purchase your membership online and then simply pick up at Mecklenburg (be sure to select “pickup” while viewing your cart before you click “checkout”). The march will depart from Mecklenburg Gardens at 3:30 sharp. Please try to close your tabs out when you get your last drink if you want to be prepared to march with us to the stadium.
All season long, our pregame events will act as fundraisers for important charities. For the beginning of the season our supported charity will be the West End Art Gallery. This is a small 501(c)3 organization that provides arts programming for kids in the West End. They are an important organization in the community, and we are excited to work with them again this year. A percentage of all food and drink sales will be donated to the West End Art Gallery by Mecklenburg Gardens on our behalf.
We also have additional charity initiatives. Check out our website for more information on events and our mug club charity with rhinehaus for away games!
All fans of the Orange & Blue are welcome to be part of the march to the stadium! Regardless of what Supporters’ Group you’re a part of (or not a part of), or where you sit or stand in the stadium, this is a march in celebration of this city and this team. For the inaugural MLS home opener this weekend, we will be leaving a little earlier than normal because of the large crowds expected as well as the additional security this year. We’ll be leaving at 3:30pm for this 5:00pm kickoff. Our march meets up with the other supporter groups on Short Vine, and then we take a brief pause at the bearcat statue on campus. This is great spot to learn some of the songs as we light some smoke and prepare for the game. We’ll go through security as a group, and then march through the concourse once we are all together inside.
The front of the march will be led by the drummers, capos, and those holding the banner. Please stay behind the banner as we march! We’ll all get to the stadium at the same time, there’s no reason to rush. Jumping in front of the group to try to sneak into the middle section before everyone else will get you removed. There have been issues with people tripping on the bleachers as they race to seats, not to mention the limited visibility of the drummers as you dangerously dart in front of them, so please be careful and stay behind the drummers and banner.
In our [biased] opinion, The Bailey is the best location in the stadium. If you are “seated” in The Bailey, you have a few things you’ll need to be aware of. First, everyone in The Bailey is expected to stand if possible. If you aren’t standing, you will likely see nothing but the people in front of you. There will also be smoke in the section. You’ll know when smoke will be deployed so you aren’t caught off guard (at kickoff, after goals, and at the end of the game when we win). At many matches we will have a tifo that goes up right after the national anthem and before kickoff. Essentially, it’s a large piece of artwork that goes over the fans as they hold it up. Weeks before big matches we will paint the tifo with the other supporter groups. You can see examples of our previous tifos here. If you are interested in becoming more involved in the tifos, we’re always looking for inspiration, and the best way to get involved is to become a member. (The worst way to get an idea used is to tweet us a mockup or post something on reddit, since the tifo design is supposed to be a surprise for everyone else.) We will hold the tifo up for a minute or two until just before kickoff. All you have to do is follow everyone else, but do not punch the fabric! They are not professionally sewn, and we don’t want them ripping. It’s also easier for the rest of the stadium to see the design if we do not punch it. So… Don’t punch the tifo! After the FULL minute or two is up, people on the ends will instruct everyone else when to take it down.
Objectively, The Bailey is fun, but it provides one of the worst sightlines in the stadium. The section itself hangs over the field and prevents almost everyone from seeing the end line and the corners closest to The Bailey. There are also flags and smoke in this section, which will obstruct your view. This year we are bringing more, and bigger flags into The Bailey for our first MLS season. We will have big flags that will pretty much always be flying this season, specifically on the ends and in the middle. They will obstruct some of your view if you are behind them. If you are concerned about flags obstructing your view, we recommend standing in 132 or 134 which are pretty much the only sections where there won’t be large flags waving. We also have over 100 smaller checkered flags that we are distributing throughout The Bailey. We’re asking any fan near those flags to wave them in unison for at least a solid minute when the clock reads 0’, 15’, 30’, 45’, 60’, 75’, and 90’. If any of this becomes a problem for you, you should be able to contact an usher for help in finding different seating.
For anyone who has never been in The Bailey, the more you participate, the more fun the section is. If you are committed to learning the songs and participating in the events, you’ll quickly love your experience. No one expects you to know the songs the first time you’re here, but if you make an effort, it will be a lot of fun and you’ll pick up on the songs pretty fast, we promise! We are excited for our new stadium to open so we can invite more people to participate with a larger supporter section. Until then, your best chance of sitting in the Bailey is to become a member of Die Innenstadt and look for someone’s extra ticket in our online ticket exchange. There aren’t many extras floating around for this first match, but if you see The Bailey and want to check it out for yourself, become a member and look for extras to a future game.
Hopefully this has been a helpful introduction to our first MLS match and what to expect this season in The Bailey. If you have any questions, let us know. We’ll see everyone on Sunday at Mecklenburg Gardens!
*Shoutout to Joseph Fuqua of WCPO for taking the awesome photo in the thumbnail image