Fans simulate the experience of live sports with high-definition television, surround sound audio and ever-growing screen sizes but watching games from your couch can’t compete with the energy and action of live sports. The walk through the concourse, the climb to your seats and the lights, music and crowd noise in the minutes that lead to tip-off, kick-off, puck drop or first pitch all provide lasting memories.
Wherever you sit—lower bowl, upper deck, standing room only—your eyes will eventually spot the best seats in the house. The ones with the cushy chairs, expansive views and private lounge with top-shelf drinks and fine dining food options. The most exclusive part of the stadium is known by many names—corporate suites, skyboxes, luxury suites, private boxes. It’s where the owner watches home games. Where corporate executives entertain clients. Where the rich and, sometimes, famous enjoy their sports. Fans living the suite life expect a certain lifestyle as soon as they step beyond the barriers that separate the nosebleeds from a higher-class experience. Stadium suite managers bring first-class to sports.
A stadium’s suite manager elevates the fan experience. You’re responsible for managing a team’s luxury box, and all that goes into it. Franchises heavily rely on the revenue suites bring in and, therefore, management places the utmost importance on keeping this particular class of spectator happy. Most fans attend a game to watch the play on the field. But the ones drinking champagne and nibbling shrimp cocktail often wander in and out of game action making the surrounding atmosphere even more meaningful. You’re managing a team of people that handle all aspects of a suite—suite cleaning, food preparation, bar stocking, escorting fans via a private entrance, catering, serving and security. Hire and train your team, prepare a daily schedule, order supplies and liquor, and manage inventory. Establish a culture of hard work and first-class service among your team. And foster a relationship with suite dwellers; deliver a memorable game day experience.
Energy. Friendliness. Class. These are obvious characteristics of a suite manager. Fans have a blast in the arena on game day. Cheesy nachos, overpriced beer, loud cheers and even louder boos. But, for stadium employees, it’s a high-stress, no-time-to-rest environment. And, for a manager responsible for providing a good time to big spenders, the weight is even heavier. You must possess both organizational and time management skills. Your event-within-an-event must run like clockwork; suite spectators should want for nothing from tip-off to final buzzer. Things happen—an overcrowded suite, an unexpected meal request, an over-served patron—that you’re expected to handle. A suite manager is an independent problem solver that accepts each trouble as it comes and makes a decisive decision to erase it. As a member of stadium management you’ll be responsible for budget development too. You know what your suite needs so plan the costs, submit proposals and beware of overspending. People management is just as necessary. If you’re empathetic and charismatic then you’ll inspire your staff to create luxurious, unforgettable nights in the arena. Plot, plan and prepare in the days leading up to a game. And act quickly to juggle dozens of moving pieces on game day. Do it all well and you’re headed for big things.
Suite managers come from all walks of life. Professionals with catering and events experience have the skills needed to succeed because, as a luxury box manager, your job is to throw a party every game. People already working in stadium skyboxes are often promoted into the management position. Others come from related industries—hotel management, event planning, country clubs, restaurants—with customer service and event experience. Yet others study hospitality management or event planning in college learning how to make people feel special while organizing the hundreds of tasks needed to run an event. If you have the experience, and can show off your skills, an arena suites manager might be the right sports job for you!