Sports are about arguing the best of all time. The side you choose often falls along generational lines – say, Unitas over Manning or Brady. Or mayb… Read More
e geographic ties built your allegiance to Jordan rather than Magic. This is part of what makes sports fun.
The debate is as contested when choosing the biggest sports events of the year. Hockey fans vow that there is no experience quite like the Stanley Cup playoffs. College football claims that it is the king of “can’t miss” games. There seems to be a “game of the century” every year.
Regional rivalries may be the lifeblood of sports. But the events that stir the passions of the greatest number are those with a national scope. We selected the “Ten Must See Sporting Events of 2015” with that thought in mind.
Fans marvel at spectacles like these without realizing they could actually be at the games. Attending an A-list athletic event isn't limited to celebrities and the super-rich. With a little planning, it's possible for many patrons to attend in style, in a SuiteHop suite.
Super Bowl XLIX (Feb. 1, Glendale, AZ)
America has basically created a national holiday framed around this event. It’s become that big. Super Bowl Sunday is where corporate America goes to party – and that’s a good thing. The NFL was one of the first organizations to understand that this week can be about more than just the game. From pre-game and halftime shows that rival the scope of any concert you’ll ever see, to parties hosted by celebrity clients, Seahawks v. Patriots should be on your bucket list.
Curious what a private suite at the big game might set you back? With 18 tickets at the 45 yard line, a Private Super Bowl Suite [catering included] runs around $400,0000.
NCAA March Madness (March 17-April 6, Indianapolis, IN)
There is no such thing as a boring single-elimination tournament. Whether you attend a sub-regional site (rounds two and three), the Sweet Sixteen, or the Final Four, every game has meaning. March Madness gives the deserving little guy a shot: George Mason, Creighton, Butler, Mercer, Kent State, and Cleveland State are part of the lore, every bit as much as powerhouses like Florida, UConn, Kentucky, and Duke.
While sub-regionals offer more games (four the first day and two the next) the “cream of the crop” often begins to surface at the Sweet Sixteen. There is nothing like 20,000 over-excited college kids and pep bands to get your heart pumping. The NCAA basketball tournament isn’t just an event; it’s college athletics at its finest.
MLB Opening Day (April 16, various MLB cities)
Finally, the three words we've been waiting to hear since Madison Bumgarner almost single-handedly pitched the Giants to their third championship in five years: Baseball is back.
Baseball Opening Day is something of a national holiday. It’s more than just the beginning of a season. It’s a symbol of rebirth – the return of America’s national pastime. Winter’s gloomy days are behind us, and we can settle into six months of perusing box scores and cheering at the ballpark. We’ll call in sick or make an excuse to leave work early to recapture the joys of playing hooky by sitting in a luxury suite, drinking beer, and eating our weight in cheese-fries.
It doesn’t matter if your team barely missed the postseason or finished at the bottom of the standings last year. We all have hope and excitement on Opening Day. Every team starts the season with a clean slate. Finally, it’s “our year.”
The Stanley Cup Playoffs (Mid April-Early June, various NHL cities)
The Stanley Cup Playoffs is hockey at its finest. From sudden deaths and shootouts to playoff beards and the “handshake line” – no postseason in sports parallels the pursuit of Lord Stanley’s Cup.
Hockey’s greatest traditions abound for six weeks in spring. Common sense and self preservation is tossed aside for a shot at the most famous trophy in major-league sports. Where will you be when a lower seed upends a conference rival to capture hockey’s Second Season?
NBA Finals (Begins June 4, various NBA cities)
The NBA Finals are like tax returns or pizza: at their worst they’re still good. But at their best, they’ll be remembered for years to come. Somehow, the NBA Finals always seem to capture a mix of competitive games, a long series, and an iconic moment which lives on in highlight reels long after a series has concluded.
We’ll always remember Willis Reed hobbling around Madison Square Garden, Kevin McHale clothes-lining Kurt Rambis, and Michale Jordan taking a hard dribble right, pushing Bryon Russell aside, and hitting a series-clinching jumper.
Though the league allows half of its teams into the postseason, the Finals remain one of the world's great athletic showcases, providing more of a visual smorgasbord than the Denver Nugget’s roster of tattoos.
NCAA College World Series (June 13-23, Omaha, NE)
Every summer, eight college baseball teams from around the nation come to Omaha to play pure move-the-man-over, run-manufacturing baseball in a series that’s part college bowl game, part county fair.
The NCAA Division I Men's College World Series is two weeks of double-elimination drama punctuated by tailgating, batting practice, team photos, all-hands-on-deck autograph sessions, and sticky summer weather (unless of course you’ve booked your air-conditioned, catered, luxury suite). In Omaha, you don’t just feel like a fan, you feel like part of a baseball family.
Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field (April-September, Chicago, IL)
Who needs winning baseball when you have the ultimate neighborhood park? From the low brick wall behind home plate to the green ivy in the outfield, there’s nothing second-rate about this Second City ballpark.
Wrigley Field, which celebrated its 100th birthday last season, is undergoing a $375 million facelift to improve the outfield bleachers and enhance the Suite Level experience. The Friendly Confines have been immortalized in movies (Ferris Bueler’s Day Off comes to mind) and it cast of characters – from departed stadium announcer Harry Caray to reviled fan Steve Bartman – give it a charm that no other big league park can match.
The World Series (Late October, various MLB cities)
The Fall Classic is one of America’s great sports traditions – a best-of-seven contest to celebrate our national pastime. It’s Carlton Fisk willing his mammoth home run shot fair. It’s Babe Ruth telling the media where he’ll send the next pitch. On this stage, legends like Kirk Gibson, Kirby Puckett, and Willie Mays shine.
The MLB playoffs are anything but predictable. Some loyal fan bases wait their entire lives without witnessing the glory of a championship (here’s looking at you, Cubs fans). This year, the 111th installment of the World Series provides yet another opportunity for career defining moments.
Green Bay Packers game in the snow (November-December, Green Bay, WI)
Lambeau Field is in a league of its own. No other NFL stadium can match the Frozen Tundra’s rich history and character – particularly in the depth of winter as snow falls and mercury plummets. From the Packers’ green and gold jerseys to the Lambeau Leap, game day in Green Bay is unrivaled.
Want to experience the history, ambiance, and fan passion from the comforts of a climate-controlled suite? Visit SuiteHop to check this experience off of your 2015 sports to-do list.
NCAA Football Playoff Semifinals (Dec. 31, Arlington, Miami Gardens, FL)
The premiere of the College Football Playoff was a resounding success. After years of putting up with the inequities of the BCS, the Playoff Committee was tabbed to choose the best four teams in the land to battle it out for a national title. How big of a success was 2014’s opening rendition? The two semifinals and final are now the three most-watched programs in cable television history.
What has become a near-religious college football experience is expected to generate even more excitement this year. 2015’s semifinals – hosted by the Cotton Bowl and the Orange Bowl – take place on December 31st and are expected to draw humongous crowds. Talk about a memorable New Years Eve party!