Soccer’s most lavish VIP tickets, from helicopters to hot tubs

Premier League club Fulham made a real splash last week when they revealed spectacular plans for the new Riverside Stand at their Craven Cottage ground that is due to open from the start of the 2024-25 season.

Work has been ongoing to renovate the stand for several years but the Cottagers have now revealed the finer details of the new-look Riverside. It includes all the usual modern flourishes such as top-quality restaurants, brasseries and even a bar situated right behind the dugouts.

However, the inclusion that really caught the eye was that of a lavish new three-tier “Sky Deck” built atop the stand that will offer those with access various premium food and drink pop-ups as well as a rooftop swimming pool.

The Sky Deck will offer views out over the pitch and the River Thames that flows directly behind Craven Cottage. Fulham will therefore become the first club in the Premier League (and quite possibly the world) to offer their supporters access to a private pool atop the terraces.

However, the Cottagers aren’t the only club to offer unique, luxurious and — in some instances — downright ludicrous matchday amenities to people who are willing to pay a little extra.

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Man City’s tunnel club

As part of the matchday experience at the Etihad Stadium, fans can purchase access to the Manchester CityTunnel Club” which allows them to take a seat in a restaurant space that has a long glass wall, the other side of which is the actual players’ tunnel.

Therefore, City fans can sit and eat their prematch haute cuisine while watching players and officials arrive at the stadium and then chow down as they all mill about directly next door.

The experience then moves outside as punters and players alike leave the tunnel just before kick-off; the latter taking their places in the plush, heated seats behind the dugouts outside as the match gets underway.

After the final whistle, Tunnel Club members can then return to the dining suite to listen in to all the media interviews and even enjoy a postmatch performance analysis from City’s tactical staff.

Real Madrid’s nightclub

As part of the huge ongoing modernisation project of their Bernabeu stadium, Real Madrid are reportedly planning to include an exclusive nightclub on site.

While nothing is official as yet, El Mundo reported in December that the club will form part of a “skywalk” walkway around the very top of the stadium where a variety of VIP bars and restaurants will be located.

It’s also been reported that the so-called “Skybar” will be able to host hundreds of fans with views over the pitch during games and will then convert into a private club at night with DJ sets, dance floors, cocktails and even a private elevator.

West Ham’s helicopter ride

Like many clubs, West Ham United offer fans a variety of stadium tour packages. However, the more intrepid Hammers supporter is able to take to the sky and view the London Stadium via their own private helicopter ride.

According to the Daily Mail, the day starts with a chopper ride to the club’s Rush Green training ground for a behind-the-scenes tour before fans are whisked via a chauffeur-driven car to the stadium for a three-course meal and complimentary drinks, a Q&A session with a Hammers ambassador and then last and perhaps least, the opportunity to take in an actual match from seats behind the players’ tunnel.

As you might expect, this doesn’t come cheap, with a package for two people costing £4,000.

Mallorca’s pitchside bar

LaLiga club Mallorca have made waves in recent years by adopting a number of fan-experience packages that are becoming increasingly popular in other leagues around Europe.

Perhaps the most unusual is their “Corner VIP” acces, which they began offering in 2019. Similar to courtside seats at an NBA game, fans could purchase drinks and snacks and then consume them at a long bar situated — you guessed it — in the corner of the Estadi Son Moix, mere metres from the edge of the pitch.

Troyes’ hot tub

Ligue 1 club Troyes caught the attention of social media a couple of years ago when they offered a handful of fans who were members of their club loyalty program an interesting alternative to the standard folding stadium seat.

Instead, they installed a hot tub at pitchside for their home match against Rennes in 2022 and allowed two pairs of lucky supporters to enjoy the action while bathing in the comfort of their communal jacuzzi.

St. Pauli’s sausage train

It may sound like something out of a dream that Homer Simpson might have, but unorthodox German club St. Pauli maintained their reputation for looking after their supporters with this ingenious method of delivering mid-game refreshment to their VIP fans.

Indeed, Die Kiezkicker conjured up an brilliantly unique system that saw currywurst delivered directly from the stadium kitchens to the premium seats in a temporary stand via a miniature railway.

The sausage express service ran every five minutes before returning to the catering section to be refilled.

ESPN’s Alex Kirkland, Matt Foster and Sam Marsden contributed to this report