Exclusive MLB VIP experiences provide a way for fans to get closer to their favorite teams, but at a cost. It's a way for teams to generate extra revenue and provide a high-end option for those fans who can afford it. Even for regular fans, I think the VIP experiences also provide once-in-a-lifetime opportunities worth saving up for.
Here's a look at five cool MLB VIP experiences:
New York Yankees - The Inside Experience
The Yankees offer a simple, yet awesome fan experience. Before various home games (and a game in Boston), fans can sign up for The Inside Experience. On game day, you get to meet and greet a current Yankee player, including a photo and autograph. After the meeting, you get a stadium tour, followed by a buffet lunch. There's even a photo op with the 2009 World Series Trophy. The fan then gets a ticket to the game in the Field MVP section between the bases. The price for the experience is $600 per person, which includes the game ticket. The Inside Experience is offered September 1 against the Orioles and September 15 against the Rays.
Chicago Cubs - Cubs Fantasy Camp
If you really like the Chicago Cubs and have an extra $4,500 burning a hole in your pocket, the Cubs offer a two-day Cubs Fantasy Camp at Wrigley Field that really is the ultimate Cub fan experience. First you get to watch a game in the Budweiser Bleacher Suite with all food and drinks included (including admission to batting practice before the game). After a night at the hotel (included in the package) you spend the day at Wrigley, training and playing. Campers then get to practice hitting, fielding, catching and throwing with real Cubs players, coaches and legends. Campers even get their own complete authentic Cubs uniform. After a full day on the field, it's time for a Fantasy Camp night game, where campers can invite guests to watch from the stands. The 2012 all-inclusive cost was $4,500 per person, which included two game tickets per participant or $8,500 for two people. The camp was held June 17 and 18 and will probably return in 2013.
Boston Red Sox - Red Sox Fantasy Camp
The Red Sox do their Fantasy Camp at Spring Training and it lasts eight days. Campers are really immersed in the baseball experience, with a lot of interaction with the players and team personnel, including a game against the real players. Campers get their very own Red Sox uniform, along with a locker in the clubhouse and access to the team's equipment. Of course there are photo ops and Q&A sessions with the players and coaches. The 2013 Red Sox Fantasy Camp is January 20-27 in Ft. Myers, Florida and costs $4,695 per player.
San Francisco Giants - Lou Seal-ebrity Ride
In the Lou Seal-ebrity Ride of the Game, Giants fans can join the team's mascot, Lou Seal, in his little car and ride with him for an inning, on the field, during a game. Fans get their name on the scoreboard (and announced on the PA) during the ride, along with a photo and DVD of the experience. Two people can ride at once, and the cost is $400 or $500, depending on the team the Giants are playing.
San Francisco Giants - Giants Slumber Party
I've written about the Giants Slumber Party when I looked at cool MLB promotions, but at $800 per family, it's more of a VIP experience than a ballpark promotion. The Giants Slumber Party not only allows fans on the field, they get to camp out overnight in tents and sleeping bags right on the field. And before bedtime, fans can play catch, right in the outfield. The cost this year was $800 for a family of four, including tickets to the game or $700 without tickets. Attendees get a pizza dinner, along with midnight snacks. There are games, activities and even movies shown on the field, and every fan gets their picture taken on the field. In the morning, attendees get to have breakfast right on the field. It's an annual event and this year's Giants Slumber Party was sold-out months in advance. The 2012 Slumber Party was August 3, after the game against the New York Mets.
Freddy Sherman grew up in Philadelphia, which didn't make being a Los Angeles Dodgers fan easy. He has lived in Los Angeles for twenty years, now able to follow the Dodgers openly and attends games frequently. You can follow him on Twitter -@thefredsherman.
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