Fill The FRE Districts
Recently you may have seen a new map of MAPFRE Stadium and it may have left you confused. You could be asking yourself what’s ‘Frankieton’? What does AAR stand for? What do all these names mean?
Fair questions. Here’s the story.
In February, the Save The Crew team began planning for a new volunteer workforce to help improve attendance at Crew games. They named this effort “Fill The FRE” and started considering what could be done that would bring new fans to the stadium. As it evolved, a plan was formed that created many mini-communities, kind of like 15 Nordeckes, throughout MAPFRE Stadium. Each of these districts would be made up of a few sections and would have its own volunteer force allocated to it. They’d name themselves and come up with their own plans for how to bring people to games. With that, Fill The FRE was off and running.
Fill The FRE now has 80 volunteers working to set up fun game day experiences in their respective districts. There are 14 in addition to Nordecke, and as of this posting 9 of them have names. Here’s a quick travel guide for those districts:
AAR (Assistant to the Assistant Referee)
This district is in the lower sideline in the southeastern corner. It is in the perfect location to “help” the referees do their job on offside calls and goal-line decisions. Game day plans include distributing yellow and red cards to fans.
Located in the center of the western upper deck, Buena Vista district boasts gorgeous views and never having to stare into the sun. The vantage point from the lower part of this district most resembles the TV broadcast of the game.
No city on Earth not named Columbus has contributed more to The Crew’s history than Buenos Aires, Argentina. From Iribarren to Padula, Schelotto to Higuain, the Argentine capital holds a special place in Crew fans’ hearts. The city name translates loosely to “fresh air”, which you’ll enjoy in this northeastern upper deck district. Don’t be surprised to see the sky blue colors of Argentine flags and jerseys here!
The Center Circle holds some of the longest-term season ticket members in Crew nation. This shaded center-sideline district is arguably the most coveted in all the stadium. Here’s to the good life!
Easton FRE Center
Centrally positioned on the eastern upper deck of the stadium, Easton FRE Center is a place to soak up the sun. Its name is a nod to the large shopping district near Crew hotbed Gahanna. Is it a coincidence that it’s placed next to the district honoring Pipa and Guillermo? Perhaps…
Located directly above Frankie Hejduk’s Circle of Honor name, Frankieton honors Columbus’ favorite adopted surfer son. Named as a double-homage to both Frankie and Columbus’ near-west neighborhood of Franklinton, this western upper deck section also might be where you see The Dude himself pop a squat at some point during a game.
Columbus’ Open Cup victory, three Supporters Shields and MLS Cup are honored within The Legacy district. Right next to Nordecke, this district gets plenty of rowdy spillover from their loud and not-always-polite neighbors.
If MAPFRE Stadium is a fortress, its northern edge houses its rampart. The top of this district gives viewers a chance to peer over the edge of the stadium to I-71. In the opposite direction they can observe the field, get an eyeball level view of the scoreboard and witness the Columbus skyline in the distance. In the seats, you’ll find many youth club teams; this is where the mini-Nordecke was founded in the mid-2010s. Finally, this district also encompasses those watching from the stage.
Situated under the scoreboard, the south stands quickly joined together as one large district. Their goal was simple: make life as difficult as possible for the opposing goalkeeper during the half of play he was nearby. Expect references to the scoreboard catching on fire and family-friendly songs.
Where do you see yourself? How many districts have you visited? With 15 home games left in 2018, you still have time to see them all. Tickets for Saturday’s 3pm game can be found here: http://bit.ly/FTF_General_G3. If you’d like to join #FillTheFRE as a volunteer, please “fill” out this form: http://bit.ly/STCFREFiller.