The current coronavirus pandemic has brought about seismic societal change in a few short weeks – and the loss of all but one European top-flight division has left a great many sports fans despondent at the loss of their competitive entertainment.
The exception to the suspension remains the Belarusian Premier League, which continues to fulfil its fixture schedule in half-empty stadia.
Attendances have dropped as many supporters opt to protect themselves against the scourge of COVID-19, however, the shortfall in ticket revenue has been eclipsed several times over by a surge in betting interest – with sports punters the world over clamouring to find out what is the bet365 bonus code before placing their Belarusian accumulators.
Of course, the ‘Belarusian Classico’ (yes, it’s a real thing) between Dinamo Minsk and BATE Borisov may not quite cut it for many of us, myself included. When sports stadia around the world begin to open their doors once again, many affluent sports fans will want to mark their return to the stands in some style – which is why we have identified five of the most luxurious VIP boxes that sports arenas have to offer.
Wembley Stadium – London, England
The home of football, England’s national stadium. Rebuilt and opened in 2007, the North London attraction has an upper capacity of 90,000, and its construction was geared heavily towards ensuring corporate entertainment and year-round functions were front and centre in its business plan.
The executive boxes offer the best, most comfortable view in the house for England’s international matches, as well as domestic cup finals, EFL play-off finals and so much more. The corporate facilities are open on 350 days of the year, making it a viable option to entertain clients, as well as watch the Three Lions.
As you would expect with a venue of this nature, the hospitality and concierge services are as good as anywhere in the world.
Arrowhead Stadium – Kansas City, Missouri, USA
The Arrowhead Stadium is the home of current NFL champions the Kansas City Chiefs and has stood proudly in Missouri since its opening in 1972. The 76,500-capacity stadium is an impressive sight, even in the standard seats, and its 80 executive suites take the experience to the next level, for those with a little bit more a budget to experience watching the Super Bowl LIV champions play.
One particular VIP box, though, really pushes it to the next level. Belonging to the Chiefs’ majority shareholder Clark Hunt, Arrowhead Stadium’s premium executive suite is actually a mansion built within the stadium walls. Housing six bedrooms across three storeys, Hunt’s private suite boasts stained-glass windows and an unparalleled view of the field.
In September 2014, during a Monday Night Football clash with the New England Patriots, the Arrowhead Stadium set a new Guinness World Record for the loudest stadium – recording 142.2 decibels. You can only hope that Hunt’s suite is blessed with double-glazing.
Hartwall Arena – Helsinki, Finland
A multi-function arena, which can host anything from continental ice hockey fixtures to international concerts, is the Finnish capital’s flagship indoor multi-purpose venue.
At its largest capacity, which is often in operation for basketball fixtures, the Hartwall Arena can hold 14,000 people. Despite its modest stature, though, its range of executive suites, known as Skyboxes, are as good as any money can buy.
A range of amenities and facilities are available in the Skyboxes, which, as their name suggests, hang from the ceiling of the venue – giving unparalleled views of the action. Our pick, though, would be Skybox 408, which features a private sauna, bar, and sofa group – with a capacity of 72 people.
Rogers Centre – Toronto, Canada
Ahead of its time in many ways, the Rogers Centre (formerly known as the SkyDome) became the first stadium in North America to boast a fully retractable motorised roof.
In 2005, Rogers Communications, which owns the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team that plays at the stadium, rebranded the stadium, which houses a 348-room hotel inside its footprint. 70 of those rooms have a breath-taking view of the stadium field, and can be booked to coincide with a Blue Jays game – making it, uniquely, one of the few places on the planet where you can go to the game without leaving your bedroom.
Emirates Stadium – London, England
Opened a year before its London neighbour, Wembley Stadium, Premier League football club Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium boasts over 150 executive boxes, as well as exclusive Club Level memberships for some if its most affluent supporters.
The Gunners’ corporate and hospitality revenues alone nearly eclipse the entirety of the club’s match ticket revenue from their previous stadium, Highbury, and many of the more exclusive memberships are on a long-term waiting list.
Executive box packages include a number of themed rooms, celebrating the club’s historic moments – including The Doubles Lounge, celebrating the club’s historic 1998 campaign, in which they did the ‘double’, and the Captain’s Lounge – decorated with images of the club’s legendary skippers.
As you would expect at one of the world’s most fashionable clubs, these boxes are not cheap – with match-day packages beginning at £3,375, including VAT.
Image credit at the very top of the article: Neale Cousland/Bigstock.com