May 21, 2023 - Sports

Living the "suite" life at Chicago stadiums

A view of the Chicago Bears stadium from a suite, with the skyline in the background.

The view from one of the Soldier Field suites. Photo: Justin Kaufmann/Axios

There's nothing like taking in live sports in the stands of Chicago's great stadiums. But many business owners and larger groups are living the "suite" life.

What's happening: Renting suites and selling premium experiences has become big business for Chicago sports organizations.

State of play: Chicago's business community is willing to pay. Traditional suites (or skyboxes or loges) are regularly sold out as companies invite employees for outings or clients for sales opportunities.

What they're saying: "It's two and a half hours with a client where we don't have to talk about work," Terrence Roche, president of Denk & Roche Builders, tells Axios. His company has had a suite at the United Center for six years.

We've compiled four experiences from four Chicago sports venues:

The Bears

The suites at Soldier Field offer breathtaking views of the game, along with the city's skyline and the lake.

  • Big plus: They're mostly indoors.

Price: The Bears offer suites for eight people, as well as bigger spaces for up to 50 people. Prices start at $15,000 per game, which includes tickets, food and drink and indoor parking.

  • They also offer exclusive game day experiences, which could mean visits from Bears ambassadors like Dan Hampton or Wendell Davis.

Food: The Bears give you a great spread, from Italian beef to grilled tri-tip sandwiches. Or pick from desserts on the world famous dessert cart, which rolls into suites during the game.

  • Tip: Get the salted caramel vanilla cake.

What they're saying: "Chicago is a Bears town," director of suites sales and services Nathan DiLorenzo tells Axios. "It is also a town built on relationships."

The Cubs

The Cubs offer a variety of suite sizes, situated around the ballpark. During the 2016 World Series run, they went for tens of thousands of dollars (if not more).

Price: Suites at Wrigley can accommodate 15 to 55 guests. You can also get smaller suites for eight guests on weekends and holidays. Prices start at $2,700 and include a food and beverage package.

Food: For main entrees, you just can't go wrong with the classic Chicago-style Vienna Beef hot dog. And of course, the dessert cart, which serves carrot cake and ready-to-eat chocolate chip cookie dough balls.

What they're saying: "Being able to watch a game from a Wrigley Field suite is a special experience," the Cubs' director of ticket sales, Steve Brauer, tells Axios.

The Bulls

Photo of a basketball court from the stands
The view from one of the United Center suites. Photo: Justin Kaufmann/Axios

The Bulls suites at the United Center are located on three different levels, spread out around the stadium.

  • If you're lucky, you might get a visit from Benny the Bull.

Price: They range from $5,100 to $20,000 per event. Super suites for larger groups range from $9,400 to $25,000.

Food: The nacho bar is a huge hit, until the dessert cart rolls by and the kids line up for suite sweets.

  • Tip: Try the rainbow cake or the chocolate liqueur cups, or even a bag of Garrett's popcorn.

What they're saying: "Besides comfortable seating and great views of the court, suites offer parking passes," Bulls VP of ticketing and premium seating Jason Howard tells Axios.

  • "Depending on the level, some suites may also include a private restroom."

The White Sox

The White Sox also have several suite options, including a newer premium space right behind home plate.

Price: They offer suites for as few as 10 fans to as many as 350 (the left field terrace). Prices start at $1,730. For 20 fans, it costs $2,800. The food and drink is included, but you have to choose what tier you'd like.

Food: Guaranteed Rate may be the best park for food in the city. It features all the classics, plus smoked pork sandwiches and a variety of tacos and tostados.

  • Can't miss: The Philly steak slider.

What they're saying: "A suite is a much better experience than just taking someone to dinner," White Sox VP of sales and services Jim Willits tells Axios.

  • "A suite gives you a great experience while spending at least a couple of hours with clients."
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