By Colleen Kane
There are two main ways to get a luxury suite, explains Scott Spencer, president of Suite Experience Group. The first is to lease one, which is a considerable commitment of time and money. On the extreme side, the Dallas Cowboys require a 20-year lease agreement for those who want to become suiteholders. The New York Yankees and Madison Square Garden don't require as long a commitment, but they have some of the steepest prices in the industry -- some suites at Yankee Stadium go for over $800,000 per year and the very best suites at Madison Square Garden will set you back over $1 million a year. Suite owners then have access to all events at the stadium, including concerts.
Method two is to use a service such as the aforementioned Suite Experience Group, which provides access to suites on a game-by-game basis. As the following slides will show, prices for those single-event suite experiences can be quite steep indeed. According to Spencer, those prices are set depending on factors such as strength of opponent, day of week (weeknights are in demand for entertaining corporate clients), and location of the suite within the stadium.
|Slideshow: Most Expensive Luxury Boxes|
The average football game suite sells for between $15,000-$25,000, depending on the venue, says Spencer, with New York the most expensive market (often much higher than $25,000 per game). For suites at baseball games, the average is $4,000 (but in the New York market: $13,000+ per game). Suites for pro basketball and football also tend to be in the $3,000-$5,000 range for an average game.
So what kind of treatment comes with these prices? "The 'first class' experience starts before you even enter the stadium," says Spencer. "Suites come with premium parking passes that allow you to park right next to the stadium. Most venues have dedicated entrances exclusively for suite ticket holders so they don't have to battle the crowds often found at the general entrance. At Cowboys Stadium, the very best suites grant the owner a parking pass that allows them to park underneath the stadium along with the players; from there, they can ride an elevator directly up to their suite. These suites can sell for as much as $35,000 for a Cowboys game against a top-notch opponent."
The food and beverages on offer can be a step up from the stadium fare, such as sushi at Staples Center, and some newer stadiums have exclusive clubs where suite-dwellers can mingle with each other.
Location: USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Queens, N.Y.
"One hundred suites are sold out for every day of the U.S. Open," Spencer says, calling the demand for the event "really amazing." The first-week prices for the U.S. Open start at $15,000, according to a representative from the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, so the $60,000 cited above is not the norm throughout the U.S. Open.
Location: Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway offers several suite levels, which include the Hulman Terrace Suites, Turn 2 VIP Suites, Gasoline Alley Suites and the Tower Terrace Suites (pictured here). The Tower Terrace Suites are located inside the oval and have two private restrooms, 80 stadium-style seats, along with 20 parking passes, and numerous other provisions, but do not include food and beverages. The normal price for Tower Terrace suites is $110,000 per three-event season, with a three-year lease.
Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans.
The rivalry between LSU and Alabama is one of the most notorious in college football and in all of sports. Without a doubt, the longtime foes playing each other for the title was a major factor driving up the price for a luxury box at this year's Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game in New Orleans.
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis.
"For events like the Super Bowl, [luxury suites] are extremely hard to get, and the prices reflect that," says Scott Spencer. And one suite reflected that to the tune of half a million dollars in the case of this year's Super Bowl. All 137 of the luxury suites at the stadium, which include 12 super suites and eight field suites (which are 10 feet from the end zone), were sold out months before the event.