Professional sports are an outrageously lucrative business globally, and all of that money has created some magnificent and luxurious venues. Explore some of the most indulgent sports stadiums and escapes in the world.
The home of the Dallas Cowboys NFL team cost $1.33 billion dollars to build when it was completed in 2009. How could an NFL team possibly justify creating one of the most expensive sports venues ever built? By building one of the most architecturally extravagant stadiums in the world. It's only the fourth largest NFL stadium but it's the largest column-free room in the world. Yes, room. Its 300-foot-tall arches create a gargantuan room with an electric, retractable roof. The front and rear facades of the stadium also feature the largest operable glass doors in the world, at 120 feet tall and 180 feet wide.
Besides the structural wonders, including the 60-yard-long HD screen that hangs above the field, the stadium also offers a stunning VIP package. Valet parking beneath the stadium also connects to elevators that lead straight to the suites. The stadium brags over 3,000 LCD displays, some of which are in mirrors in the suites. Field level suites place fans only a few yards behind the endzone. The Cowboys require a 20-year lease agreement for suiteholders. To purchase single-game entrance to a suit through a website that offers this opportunity will cost upwards of $12,000.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Built for the 1950 World Cup, the Maracanã soccer stadium became the largest sports stadium in the world. It seated 199,854 fans for the final game of the 1950 World Cup but has since undergone renovations that reduced the capacity to a more reasonable 78,000. In 2016 it was the venue for the Olympic Games Opening Ceremonies. The stadium's new roof is made of opaque fiberglass and protects 95% of the seats from the sun. Pope John Paul II once celebrated a mass at the stadium. VIP packages include a private concierge, all-inclusive catering and access to exclusive arena clubs. Club membership includes an open bar, theater-style seats, a grand buffet and an upscale lounge area. It's a massive, classic stadium hosting some of the world's biggest events.
Prestbury Park, U.K.
Cheltenham Racecourse is located in a natural ampitheatre where up to 68,000 fans watch the most prestigious horse racing events. The Cheltenham Festival, which the racecourse hosts every March, draws the best British and Irish-trained horses. The venue offers Long Run Suites, that stretch the length of the course and accommodate 24 to 40 guests. They offer the usual amenities: fine dining, bars and totepool betting in the hallway. The Cheltenham Hotel No 131 offers the highest quality sleeping accommodations for a stay at the racecourse. It has eleven elegant, wood-trimmed, Victorian-aesthetic rooms and two basement floors of drawing rooms-turned-restaurants and fine bars.
Bronx, New York
Yankee Stadium was a classic baseball venue, full of history and heroic stories of World Series wins. So they tore it down and built a replacement full of technology and expenses. The bleachers are gone but the new stadium holds 50,287 people in more comfortable seats. For the fan looking for a deeper experience of baseball luxury, Yankee Stadium offers suites that include granite bars and private lounge areas furnished with leather and glass. A personal concierge, private entrance, preferred parking and a private restroom create the best viewing experience in baseball. Suites start with a $1,000 first installment, and some go for as much as $800,000 a year.
The Meadowlands, East Rutherford, New Jersey
The shared home of the New York Giants and New York Jets NFL teams boasts the top luxury package in football. For $750,000 a night, ticket holders can gain access to the Commissioner's Club Suite. Leather seats, cherry wood and a fireplace await the lucky guests of this (don't forget) football stadium. It also provides VIP parking, a private entrance, a wet bar and enough HDTVs to make a fan forget they're at the game. The stadium's five premium lounges cover 130,000 square feet inside the venue but there's still room for a martini lounge and on-field patios, not to mention the Coaches Club. It's a private deck five yards behind the home team's bench with food and drinks, accessible at any time during games of events.
Things you expect to sit on at sports events: hard, plastic seats; hard, wooden seats; flat cushions; bleachers; violently angled folding chairs. Something you don't expect to sit on at a sports event: a wooden bench inside your private sauna. But lucky guests watching the Finnish ice hockey team from Skybox 408 can replace their clothes with a warm towel and relax in their own, 25-person sauna walled by beautiful wood that offers a view of the game. The suite also includes a private bar and sofa lounge, decorated in the home team's colors. The one-way glass windows overlook the rink from the upper level and make the towel optional. Grab tickets for just under $3,000 US.
Where else can you find 22,500 square meters of ski slopes inside a mall? Oh, right: in the middle of the desert. Inside the Mall of the Emirates, Ski Dubai is the world's largest indoor snow park. While not technically a sports venue, it is a giant sports complex where visitors can experience bobsled runs and tobogganing hills. Besides its location in the desert, inside a building, Ski Dubai is astonishing because it's open for skiing and snowboarding all year. Guests can reach the Avalanche Cafe by taking the ski lift to the top of the slope (inside the mall). Beginners can take skiing lessons before trying any of the more challenging slopes (inside the mall). There's even "the world's first indoor sub-zero zipline" that will drop visitors 150 meters down the slope (inside of a mall!). Five slopes, including one with freestyle equipment, rise 25 stories at their peaks and create an astonishingly authentic skiing experience. Tickets include rental snow clothing and gear. And for less than $150 US (510 AED), Ski Dubai offers a remarkable luxury opportunity for an unbelievable price.