Let’s keep the math simple and just concern ourselves with the calendar years — it’s been 10 years since the City of Philadelphia has had a parade for a professional sports championship. In 2008, we celebrated the Phillies World Series win with an incredible parade down Broad Street. Tomorrow, we get to do the same with a parade in honor of the Eagles Super Bowl win.
If you live in or anywhere near Philadelphia, one important thing must be crossing your mind about tomorrow’s parade — the city is treating this one much more seriously than the Phillies parade. Let’s look at the differences:
The Phillies’ parade started at 20th and Market Streets and went toward City Hall. From there, it turned south on Broad and proceeded to Citizens Bank Park, where there was a ceremony for the team, capped off by the infamous Chase Utley “World Fucking Champions” speech.
Tomorrow’s parade takes the opposite path. It starts near the stadiums at Broad and Pattison and heads north on Broad. At City Hall, it turns northwest and heads up the Parkway to the Art Museum where there will be an outdoor ceremony for the team.
The difference here is important. Instead of having the ending ceremony in the enclosed stadium environment on the outskirts of the city, this time the ceremony will be outdoors in one of the most popular tourist areas in the city. The Art Museum is where the city’s biggest festivals are held, including the Made in America concert and the NFL Draft. By placing the ceremony here instead of in deep South Philly, the city shows that it is clearly expecting a huge mass of people for this part of the parade.
Also, by having the parade travel into the densely populated areas of Center City instead of away from it, this parade is going to build excitement as it moves up Broad Street rather than the opposite.
For the Phillies parade, not much of the city was closed. The City offices stayed open, and the only schools that were closed were those within a few blocks of the parade route.
For tomorrow, almost the entire city has shut down. All public and parochial schools are closed. City offices and courts are all closed. The major universities have closed, as have the museums. Many large businesses in Center City have as well. Even some suburban school districts have closed.
Some of these closures are for safety reasons, and some are out of concern for employees and students being able to get where they need to go. But others, especially the schools and businesses far from the parade route, are for no reason other than allowing people the freedom to go to the parade.
There were no reports of free stuff being given away at the Phillies parade in 2008. But, for tomorrow, Bud Light is giving out free beer and SEPTA is giving out free rides on its subways (not regional rail).
For the Phillies parade, transportation was not fun, as many people were stuck trying to get home after the parade. For tomorrow, SEPTA, NJ Transit, and Amtrak have put in place several measures, including special tickets (that have already sold out). They are also operating extra trains and buses with targeted access to try to accommodate the most people possible.
The bottom line here? Philadelphia is clearly preparing for a much more massive event tomorrow than what happened in 2008. There were no official estimates for the Phillies parade, but unofficial estimates were between 1 and 2 million people. Will tomorrow top that in the way the City seems to be expecting? Or will it be like the Pope’s visit, with all of the pre-event hype driving numbers down?
I’m betting on the former - that this is going to be a celebration for the ages. I know I’ll be on Broad Street tomorrow helping to make it so. Will you?
How many people will be at the Eagles parade?
This poll is closed
Less than the Phillies in 2008 - under a million
About the same as the Phillies in 2008 - between 1 and 2 million
More than the Phillies in 2008 - between 2 and 3 million
Way more than the Phillies in 2008 - over 3 million