For status-seeking high rollers, there is no better place to watch a football game than from a luxury suite, and Levi's Stadium, the high-tech home of the San Francisco 49ers that opened in 2014, has some of the best.
The expansive Trophy Suites, for example, contain their own bars and fireplaces, the ability to order steaks (done your way, of course) from the in-house restaurant run by James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Mina, as well as access to the 27,000-square-foot NRG Solar Rooftop Deck, which offers commanding views of Silicon Valley amid outdoor greenery, solar panels, and party space. The only spot that may beat it is 49ers owner Jed York's private suite, or the Fairmont penthouse you can rent for a cool million.
Stadiums and cash-conscious owners continue to go overboard with premium seating options, giving companies and wealthy sports fans a new way to spend money like they're pulling down pro athlete-level salaries. It's one of many ways that stadium design has changed, as more and more teams seek to offer exclusive experiences you can't get at home (and the ability to cocoon one's self away from the stadium crowd with friends for a five-figure fee).
Forget those 50-yard-line tickets, unless you're planning on actually paying attention to the game. We know the season's basically over, so you technically can't take advantage of these unique seating options until next fall. But let's be honest, these photos may be the closest you get, especially the private owner's suites.
Best Place to Network: Owner's Suite at AT&T Stadium (Dallas Cowboys)
Of course Jerry Jones's seats at the Cowboys's colossal stadium in Arlington top the list. It's one of the more exclusive seating sections in football, graced by one of the sport's most charismatic owners (when he's not watching in his own private perch right above). What it may lack in amenities—and it doesn't lack much—it makes up for in prestige, boasting a guest list composed of business leaders and Hollywood stars within Jones's orbit.
The Jones family carefully curates a season worth of invites in the summer, according to a New York Times article that examined the room's inner-workings. For those not on a first-name basis with Jerry, The Owner's Club, which includes valet parking beneath the stadium, is also available for a price ($24,000 for the higher end suites, not including drinks and catering).
Best Facsimile of Your Living Room: Living Room Suites at Hard Rock Stadium (Miami Dolphins)
Sure, you probably have bigger flat-screens and cheaper drinks at home. But if you want true comfort at a pro stadium, why not bring the recliners with you? That's part of the reasoning behind the Living Room suites, a bank of 32 seats with recliners, iPads, and a series of TVs meant to replicate the die-hard fan's favorite seat at home. What's different is the price: $75,000 for a set of four seats, which include access to the exclusive 72 Club.
Best Suite for a Guitar Solo: The MoPOP Suite at CenturyLink Field (Seattle Seahawks)
There sadly isn't an amp inside this special music-themed suite, which takes cues from hometown guitar god Jimi Hendrix (vintage photographs hang from the walls) and the Museum of Pop Culture (formerly the Experience Music Project). Part of the interior is lined in the same glittering metal that adorns the exterior of the Frank Gehry-designed museum.
But you can still rock out to your heart's pleasure, especially if you bring a portable speaker on game day. Rental can cost up to $20,000, but if you want your splurge to go to a good cause, you can bid on the one weekend a year it's reserved for the EMP, which auctions off the space for charity.
Best Space for Reflection: Clark Hunt's Suite at Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City Chiefs)
When it comes to the ownership of the Kansas City Chiefs, currently run by Clark Hunt, one could say wealth runs in the family. Grandfather H.L. Hunt, a legendary oil tycoon who supposedly was the basis for Dallas character J.R. Ewing, established a fortune that helped his son, Lamar, purchase the Chiefs, and made his family one of the richest in the nation (in the first Forbes list of wealthiest American, published in 1982, five of the top 10 were Hunts).
Keep this in mind when checking out the luxurious and very private owner's suite installed at the team's stadium in 2010, the equivalent of a small, well-appointed home that's been inserted into a pro stadium. But amid the fireplaces and winding staircase that may provide the illusion of not being perched above the playing field is a football-themes stained glass window featuring. This may be taking the "stadiums are the modern cathedrals" concept too far.
Best Place for Spring Break at Halftime: Jaguar Cabanas at EverBank Field (Jacksonville Jaguars)
Billionaire owner Shad Khan added a new spin to premium seating when he included swimming pools in a $63 million stadium renovation two years ago, a move that inadvertently may have taken away attention from Jacksonville players in the process.
Suspended above the north end zone, the pool deck offers an upscale party for those willing to part with $3,000 to rent out a private cabana. Not enough entertainment? Dance teams and DJs perform during games, and guests can order signature frozen drinks, including the Miami Vice (half rum runner, half pina colada).