Football season in our household is an entertaining time of year. Picture Thursday nights and Sunday afternoons, where we are at one moment in a state of jubilation, often illustrated by jumping on our furniture, followed by remorseful reactions of heads-in-hands while wondering out loud how such an incredible play could go so wrong so quickly. We are dressed in football fan wear, mine usually has sequins on it, because that is how I roll.
All of this is happening while simultaneously checking our tablets at arms-length so that we can monitor our fantasy football points.
That is our “normal” but we must look insane. Although, I will say, it is a lot of fun. Especially when I win Fantasy Football.
And I play to win.
With Pre-Season in its 3rd week, the NFL is on the forefront of the media once again here in national news. Whether the subject be the National Anthem, and players choice to stand or “take a knee” or the topic of brain trauma in youth and adult football, both of importance, I wanted to discuss the positive side of the sport. Football is fun to watch, most notably in our home, because it brings my family together. That is priceless.
I had the privilege of attending the NY Giants first pre-season game at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey and I am hung over from happiness as I write this.
The Meadowlands is the site of countless shows and concerts, as well as sporting events. The stadium is part of the Meadowlands Sports Complex, and owned by the MetLife Stadium Company, a joint venture between the Jets and Giants, and often a subject of confusion, as to why both of our “New York Teams” play in New Jersey. MetLife is one two stadiums shared by two teams; the other is the famed Los Angeles Staples Center, home to the Clippers and the Lakers of the NBA.
At an estimated cost of $1.6 billion dollars to construct, the MetLife Stadium is reported by writer Esteban at TotalProSports.com in “11 Most Expensive Stadiums in the World” to be the most expensive stadium ever built.
My experience is what MetLife refers to as a “Premium Experience.” These experiences are not exclusive to sports and if music is more your genre, you can still have the luxuries that I experienced on the night. That experience scored me some major Mom points!
Remember when stadiums had concession stands, and you sat outside in the elements and watched the game, just grateful to see it live?
I used to spend a lot of time at Shea Stadium watching the Mets, when the Mets were good in the 1980s. A hotdog and a soda, in a seat where the sun beat down on your head, was how you watched a game.
Stadiums have amped it way up since then to meet the demand for comfort, that includes options for the whole family in the serious world of food; creating an immersive experience, where the game or show is only one part of a bigger picture.
At MetLife, included in the concept of “Premium Experience” are suites where Suite Holders have private stadium entry, enjoy multiple televisions, a wet bar and refrigerator. These premium amenities accommodate up to 30 guests and offer the best of the best in stadium enjoyment. But sometimes, a suite is not the right option. That is where The Touchdown Club is gold.
The Touchdown Club
The Touchdown Club is part of the 200 level at the stadium. Amenities include reserved parking, private club entry to the stadium, lounge-like seating, an abundant number of HD TVs, cushioned stadium seats and an ample amount of upscale cuisine options.
Start to finish, this is where you want to watch Football.
Parking and entry were seamless, and the staff was accommodating and very helpful.
We arrived early, as traffic is usually a disaster, and because of this we were offered an opportunity to watch the Giants practice on the field in an empty stadium. I think having two adorable little kids with us decked out in Giants shirts looking like it was Christmas in August also helped us gain this VIP treat.
Of life experiences that fall in the category of “Really Cool,” this ranks in the Top 10. I thought the boys were going to need mechanical assistance to get their jaws off the floor. The shock and delight of seeing Beckham Jr. stretching, and Manning sprinting, new comer Barkley warming up brought a stunned calm to our little crew for the first and only time that evening.
After watching some of the practice, we entered the Touchdown Club. Here we informed that the children could get certificates printed to take home to commemorate their first NY Giants Football Game, an exciting moment for the kids! Once the certificates were printed and programs were given to us, we needed to check out something very important…The FOOD!
Something for everyone, and that does not always happen!
Concession stands lined the 30,000 square foot club with traditional game food such as Thumann’s Hot Dogs, Soft Pretzels, Fountain Soda and Peanuts and Crackerjacks.
Within the center of this great room that feels like it goes on forever and is made grander with more windows than I can count are a variety of food options including The Wingman NYC, The Fat Rooster, Against the Grain, and a simple sign that said, “Sushi.”
Cheese pizza is also available, as are Complimentary Bites, which for our visit were Chicken Lemongrass Potstickers.
Not to be missed is the big white, modern bar that has all types of spirits that fans may be seeking. If you love a wine bar, Campo Wine Bar is onsite and within the club with décor that includes lots of wine barrels! Looks like a great place to me!
The kids enjoyed Pizza, while the adults enjoyed California and Spicy Tuna rolls and some General Tso’s wings. This is food court style, like the Plaza Food Court we showcased a few months back, where patrons visit different restaurant stands and choose their own meals, paying at each stand separately.
I love an upscale food court, because the options are far more abundant than a menu. The food was good, by any standards including stadium. Presentation was not the forefront, but that was forgivable given the view of the field, the atmosphere of sports everywhere you looked and the uniquely and well executed combining of old school sports food with modern patrons demands.
We went to our seats to watch kick off, and had a blast watching fireworks blow as the NY Giants made their way to the field to play the Cleveland Browns. Our seats were Row 3 of the 200 level and were very comfortable.
The beauty here was mostly the convenience for us. If someone wanted food or beverage, we could simply walk back inside the club and have access to everything we wanted with little or no wait. The massive size of the club allows for a spacious feel that you aren’t crowded with your fellow patrons.
We decided to leave at halftime, and even though the kids were especially sad for the experience to be over, we were able to buy some great souvenirs to soothe the blow and made our way back to New York City.
The Giants lost the game, but it’s still pre-season so we aren’t going to worry yet. Now I know when its cold I can still go watch a football game and enjoy some quality food, drink, atmosphere (and heat) at MetLife Stadiums Touchdown Club!
Angela Ranieri joins us as Contributing Editor with an extensive background in Fashion, Beauty and Digital Media. She has worked with PRADA USA Corp., Jurlique, Amore Pacific and the New York Daily News in management capacities including Marketing, Client Relations, Employee Relations and Training Management. She has authored and published the column, “Ask Angela,” featured on the Amore Pacific USA website. Her beauty advice has been featured in Shape and Fitness Magazines and CBS News.
She is a graduate of Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science in Communications and Writing. Angela also has an MBA in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from Northeastern University. While at Northeastern, her Market Research on the Electric Car was published for University use.
Angela is currently creator of Circuit Cosmetics, a Brand Ambassador for luxury beauty line, Patchology, an On Air Guest for QVC and blogger for www.thelaughinmommy.blogspot.com.
In her spare time you can find Angela running, spinning, practicing yoga or getting beautified. She resides on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with her Husband, Son, and Chihuahuas.