SteelStacks at ArtsQuest Center
The Banana Factory
FIFA World Cup™ SoccerFest at SteelStacks Attracts Over 35,000 Fans
June 23, 2014
BETHLEHEM, PA--They came from near and far to cheer on the home team, filling the SteelStacks campus in Bethlehem to capacity as chants of ‘U.S.A.’ echoed throughout the old Bethlehem Steel mill. When all was said and done, more than 10,000 people showed up to support the U.S.A. Men’s National Soccer Team during its huge match against Portugal, pushing attendance at the inaugural FIFA World Cup™ SoccerFest and Viewing Party at SteelStacks to more than 35,000 guests.
Designed to bring diverse communities together in a celebration of the World’s Game, the FIFA World Cup™ SoccerFest and Viewing Party featured two long weekends, June 12-16 and 19-22, filled with soccer programming, activities and family fun, plus all the FIFA World Cup Brazil™ action shown on a giant outdoor LED screen on SteelStacks’ Air Products Town Square. Among the highlights of the festival were a visit from ESPN for live look-ins during the U.S. vs. Ghana match June 16, a free Philadelphia Union street soccer clinic for more than 300 children June 14, and two Soccer Clinics for Children with Disabilities presented by Good Shepherd Pediatrics and Lehigh Valley United on June 20. The two largest crowds that came out to watch the games on the giant screen were for the U.S.A’s first two matches in the World’s Cup’s opening round, with more than 8,000 attending for the U.S. vs. Ghana game, and 10,000 coming together for the U.S. vs. Portugal match.
“We are absolutely overwhelmed by the incredible response to the FIFA World Cup™ SoccerFest and Viewing Party,” says Discover Lehigh Valley President Michael Stershic. “Fans from all over came to the SteelStacks campus to cheer on the U.S.A. Soccer Team and/or the team from their own home country. The live “look-ins” by ESPN and the reaction shots shown many times during coverage of the World Cup provided bonus exposure for the Lehigh Valley. Many of these fans were from outside of the area and brought a different market segment to Lehigh Valley and SteelStacks. The excitement that SoccerFest generated for Bethlehem in particular was amazing. We look forward to watching this event thrive for years to come.” While the FIFA World Cup™ SoccerFest has officially ended, the soccer celebration at SteelStacks will continue since fans can watch all the action from Brazil on SteelStacks’ two other outdoor screens. Starting tomorrow, the arts and cultural campus will show all the remaining World Cup matches including the huge U.S.A. vs. Germany match June 26, noon, on the Levitt Pavilion’s outdoor screen, as well as the PBS Public Media & Education Center’s outdoor screen. Guests coming out to enjoy the matches will also be able to purchase food and beverages from the Levitt Pavilion’s Mack Café by Rodale Catering and the ArtsQuest Center’s Mike & Ike Bistro.
“SteelStacks was designed to be a community gathering place that would bring our region together throughout the year for unique occasions and special events,” says Curt Mosel, Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations for ArtsQuest, the nonprofit arts organization serving as the host for the SoccerFest and Viewing Party at SteelStacks. “The World Cup is the most popular sporting event in the world, uniting all of the countries and cultures in celebration. Over the past 11 days, we’ve definitely seen this at SteelStacks, with the members of our diverse community coming together to watch the matches, cheer on their teams and celebrate every big moment along the way.
“We thank all of the programming partners, sponsors, volunteers, ArtsQuest staff and, of course, the fans who have come out to make this event such a huge success. The support and the crowds have definitely exceeded expectations.”
The FIFA World Cup™ SoccerFest and Viewing Party was made possible through a partnership between Discover Lehigh Valley, The Philadelphia Union, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association, Lehigh Valley United, Lehigh Valley Youth Soccer League, PBS39, Spark and ArtsQuest. Supporters helping to make the event possible include Air Products, Men’s Health, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network, The Outlets at the Sands Bethlehem, Coca-Cola Bottling Company of the Lehigh Valley and Christmas City Printing, as well as media partners Adams Outdoor, B104, WLEV, La Ola Radio and Service Electric Cable TV & Communications.
For more information on the SoccerFest and the remaining World Cup viewing schedule, visit www.lvsoccerfest.com.
SteelStacks is an arts and cultural campus located on the site of Bethlehem, Pa.’s former Bethlehem Steel plant. Through a unique public-private partnership, this industrial site, one of the largest Brownfields under redevelopment in the nation, has been transformed into a dynamic destination for music, art, festivals and cultural events throughout the year. Public and nonprofit partners working together to bring new life to the former steel mill include the Bethlehem Redevelopment Authority, City of Bethlehem, Bethlehem Area School District, Northampton County, ArtsQuest and PBS39. For more information on SteelStacks, visit www.steelstacks.org.