Living the Suite Life
Just as the strengths of each Major League Baseball team vary, not all seats in the ballpark are created equal. Yes, there are times when a bleacher seat at Yankee Stadium is just what you need, and there are other times when only a box seat at AT&T Park will suffice; but when you want a truly unique and upscale day at the ballgame, luxury suites and premium seating are the only way to go.
Each ballpark offers its own unique brand of premium seating experiences, and most (we believe) are worthy of your consideration. To narrow our scope, we relied on preseason World Series odds courtesy of Sportsbook.com. The three teams we mention in what follows are among those with the best odds of hosting a victory parade in October, and the premium seating that they offer is equally praiseworthy.
The Hollywood Hot Seat
Make no mistake, the Dodgers have done a lot to revamp their lineup in recent years, and the Lexus Dugout Club is an ideal venue from which to watch those players in action. The club occupies about 900 seats behind home plate and between the dugouts, and the front row of seats is closer to home plate than the pitcher’s mound is. The club includes a restaurant and a bar that is sunken beneath the field level and offers a VIP entrance adjacent to the visiting team’s clubhouse doors. “Following the game, it’s commonplace [for Dugout Club members] to shake some hands and get autographs from players on their exit,” says Antonio Morici, the Dodgers’ senior director of premium sales and service.
Membership in the club varies from $25,000 to $60,000 for a full season, $15,500 to $30,000 for a half season, and $500 to $1,000 for individual games—these tickets are for the club’s last 20 available seats. Membership amenities include a VIP bullpen viewing area, a VIP batting-practice viewing zone (limited to 20 people per game and located in front of the Dodgers dugout), and the opportunity to participate in batting practice at designated events throughout the season. While those are the perks, Morici explains that it’s the exclusive seating area that is the Dugout Club’s most attractive feature. “It’s who you’re rubbing shoulders with at the ballpark,” he says. “It really is a who’s who of L.A.’s business and entertainment industries; that’s a big part of the atmosphere and the experience.”
It wasn’t too long ago that the Baltimore Orioles were the only baseball team in or around the greater Washington, D.C., area. In 2005, however, the Montreal Expos relocated to the States and became the Washington Nationals. The move instantly turned the nation’s capital into a bipartisan baseball town. These days, Nationals Park offers a variety of high-end game-day experiences, such as the Silver Slugger Suite ($10,000 per game)—an oversize luxury suite on the third-base line that’s equipped with a private light-up bar and billiards table—and the Gold Glove Club, a 42-seat private area reserved for small groups of luxury buyers, who can buy full-season or half-season tickets by the pair. Those tickets range in price from $120 per game (assuming a 5-year, full-season commitment) to $165 per game (for a 1-year, partial-season commitment).
While those two luxury-suite areas are enticing, it’s the Lexus President’s Club (similar to the Dugout Club at Dodger Stadium) that provides the most exclusive seating area in the park. The club includes a concierge, all-inclusive food and beverage, views inside the home team’s clubhouse batting cages, and a window into the postgame press-conference area. “You’re closer than anyone else other than the reporters,” says Valerie Camillo, the Nationals’ chief revenue and marketing officer. The President’s Club also stands out for its creative fare. Fusion bites include chicken-and-waffle tacos—a crunchy waffle shell filled with buttermilk fried chicken, Sriracha-maple reduction, microgreens, and buttermilk ranch sauce—while the Bases Loaded—a Bloody Mary–inspired cocktail made with whiskey, bacon syrup, Bloody Caesar mix, bacon pieces, parmesan cheese, and a Bloody Mary beef straw—pays homage to old-school baseball scouts (all that’s missing is sunflower seeds and a dip of Skoal, though we’re glad they are).
Most Bostonians can recount the creative ways that Red Sox ownership has increased Fenway Park’s seating capacity without drastically changing the historic ballpark’s appearance. Premium seating areas and luxury suites make up a big part of that, and in that regard, the organization continues to adapt. New this season is the park’s Press Box Suite, an intimate seating area for eight to 10 guests that includes a VIP Fenway Park tour and on-field access for batting practice. The suite costs $3,200 per game for eight guests ($3,700 for 10), but because it’s still used as a press box for occasional games, it comes with slightly limited availability.
Elsewhere in the park, the Monster Corner—a private area atop the Green Monster for as many as 14 guests ($4,500 to $7,500)—comes with on-field access during batting practice, and upscale food delivered from the kitchen of the park’s most exclusive area (the EMC Club) every couple of innings. But don’t worry; traditional ballpark fare is also available. “For years, people asked if there was any way that they could have their own private section on the Monster,” says Will Droste, the team’s senior director of premium sales. “We finally decided to give it a try, but we wanted to give it extremely high-end food.”
But if you want to live like a GM for a day, Fenway Park’s Gosling’s Dark ’n Stormy Boardroom ($6,500 to $9,500) is the only way to go. The premium area, which accommodates between eight and 14 guests, offers an elevated patio that’s adjacent to the EMC Club just behind home plate and a private dining room that once served as a boardroom connected to the former GM’s office. “It’s like getting a private dining room at a high-end restaurant in the Back Bay,” Droste says, “but when you step outside your dining room, you’re at a perch overlooking a game at Fenway Park.”