Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Taking an NFL Stadium Tour

One of my lesser known hobbies that I take on over the course of the NFL offseason is taking NFL stadium tours. Few people realize it, but most NFL stadiums offer a guided stadium tour that is usually priced fairly reasonably ($5-$11 per person). I found out about the stadium tour before the 2007 NFL season on a trip to Minneapolis, Minnesota and I was hooked. Stadium tours generally cover the suite and luxury box levels, visting team locker room, the press box, and the field. In some cases stadium tour participants are allowed down on the field to see what things look like from the player perspective and in rare occasions into the home team's locker room (that's always very cool). If you're an ardent NFL fan, taking a stadium tour of your favorite team stadium should be high on your list of priorities. To date, I've been on 14 NFL stadium tours and 3 NBA arena tours. I expect that that puts me in a fairly select group of individuals. Last year, I even consulted on a couple of tours based on what I had already seen in other NFL cities. that was kinda cool.

Anyway, during a recent trip down south, I decided to set up a couple of tours. Driving down Interstate 75, I stopped in at Lucas Oil Stadium, the state of the art home of the Indianapolis Colts. I'm pleased to report that Lucas Oil Stadium has a very impressive stadium tour. The facility itself is immaculate. A red brick exterior with retractable roof and some great site lines allow the home of the Colts to effectively compliment some of the great tailgating that goes on outside the stadium. I did get a change to run the field at Lucas Oil Stadium and found my way into the Indianapolis Colts Locker room as well . For a full report, you can check out my Stadium Tour review.
While in Charlotte, North Carolina I setup an inpromptu tour of Bank of America Stadium, home to the Carolina Panthers. Stopping by on a Monday morning, some fine folks from the ticket office staff agreed to show me around the stadium. The tour began with a look at the field level, then into the Club 87 Suite and through the visitor team locker room. It's a solid tour.

Later that day I took a tour of Time Warner Cable Arena, home to the Michael Jordan-led Charlotte Bobcats. Time Warner Cable Arena was an equally impressive sports venue with an amazing array of suite level box seats and the first indoor tailgating area in the NBA. The Rock the Rooftop tailgating area comes complete with live band entertainment and tabletop seating areas for the adults, while kids will find xBox gaming stations and a practice court for shooting hoops.

I rounded out my southern roadtrip with another trip to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. I simply can't get enough of the Hall of Fame. I find myself visiting it at least once a year.

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