Often, the only fully legal way to see a Premier League game is via a hospitality package.
And among Premier League clubs, Manchester City has some surprisingly affordable hospitality packages — especially when you compare them to Manchester United, and when you consider that City are far and away the best team in the Premier League.
So let’s take a look at one of the two packages I offer at City through my English Soccer Consulting Services — the 93:20 Lounge.
This is a common sort of hospitality package in the Premier League; it’s basically just good seats with access to a lounge. The lounge is a sports bar that the general public can’t get into, and while this package doesn’t include food or drinks, you’ll find better options and shorter lines than out on the concourse — which is just steps away in any case. It’s easy to pop out for a bite out there, then duck back into the more comfy lounge.
With this package, you get seats in either blocks 209-10 or 220-21. When I saw them play Bristol City in the FA Cup last year, I was in 209-10. Sections 220-21 are the same seats on the opposite side. Here are two views from my seats:
As you can see, they are excellent seats, padded and everything. And with the away fans just in the end near you, the atmosphere can be quite good. In fact, when I was there, I had 9,000 Bristol City fans next to me! (Visitors get more seats in the FA Cup.)
And this reminds me: people often ask if being in a “hospitality package” or a “lounge” means you’re not out with the real fans in the seating area. None of the packages I offer involve actually sitting in a box, like in the States; it’s all about having a seat with some other benefit like lounge access (here), a meal before or after, free bar, stadium or museum tour, etc.
The food in these lounges isn’t necessarily anything special. Here’s some of the fare when I was there:
But it’s a comfortable place to hang out, with TVs and a good beer selection. And one of the best things about these lounges is simply getting to hang out afterwards while the crowds outside, and at the train station, clear out.
One last thing on this 93:20 suite. What is 93:20? That’s the time of the winning goal on the last day of the 2012-13 season, by Sergio Aguero. It snatched the title away from rivals Manchester United in the last 30 seconds of the season. City hadn’t won the title for 40 something years, and it was quite a moment. The commentary you hear on this clip is the one written along the walls in the 93:20 lounge.