While some sports teams are seeking to serve the needs of their fan bases by offering sensory-friendly spaces that make the game-day experience less overwhelming for children with autism, other teams are catering to fans’ needs of a different kind.
Take the National Hockey League’s Philadelphia Flyers. As part of the $265 million overhaul of the 23-year-old Wells Fargo Center, the team has added a “Rage Room” to the arena. The Flyers call it the first of its kind in any professional sports venue. According to an article on the team’s website, it “allows fans and guests a stress-relieving outlet amid all of the game action.”
Fans must reserve the space in advance. But once they enter wearing protective gear, they “can smash, break, and unleash their rage upon everyday items like televisions and dishes using bats, sledgehammers, and more. Some of the items that can be disassembled might even bear the logo of an opposing team.”
“The concept is definitely one-of-a-kind and nontraditional,” Valerie Camillo, president of business operations for the Flyers and the Wells Fargo Center, said in the article. “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. I had never heard of a rage room before the design team pitched the idea. Now, I can’t wait to get in there and take a few whacks.”
According to the Flyers, the design team at SCI Architects “pressed for a signature experience … ultimately landing on a cheeky reference to the well-known passion of the Philly sports fan.”
Indeed, the Associated Press cited such fan-misbehavior incidents as throwing snowballs and batteries at opposing teams.
The Flyers charge $35 per person (or $60 for two) for a five-minute rage session and plan to let as many as 14 fans per game take their best shots.
“The room is accessible through a ‘bookcase’ straight out of Wayne Manor and, like Batman, fans change into their rage room costume of jumpsuit and safety helmet,” the AP reports.
No word yet on whether youth sports organizations will adopt the rage-room concept; plenty of referees would likely be in favor of it.