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What is a Sky Box?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 23, 2024
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A sky box is a private suite in a sports stadium which is designed to appeal to the more well-heeled sports fans. Sky boxes can get extremely expensive, especially for major events, and they come with a wide range of amenities, from climate control to catered food. Many sports arenas utilize the maximum amount of space for sky boxes since these suites are so profitable, sometimes evoking protest from ordinary fans, who are irritated by their displacement into higher sections of the stands.

You may also hear a sky box called a luxury box, private box, or luxury suite. The earliest examples of sky boxes appear to date from stadium constructions in the 1960s, although certainly historical precedent paved the way. Theaters, for example, have long had private boxes for wealthy patrons, and these boxes have typically offered a superior view of the stage in addition to some privacy and luxury.

At the minimum, a sky box is simply an enclosed, climate-controlled area in the stands with luxurious seating and perhaps a table or counter, which may be stocked with food at additional expense. However, it is also possible to find sky boxes with couches, big screen televisions, and a variety of other amenities, along with private service from catering crews. A sky box may also come with private dedicated parking, and a private entrance which allows the users to avoid the crush of the crowds. It is also not uncommon for a sky box to include outdoor seating, or to have windows which open.

Depending on the stadium, sky boxes may be rented out on a by-event basis, leased with a contract for a season or set period of time, or purchased, much like condominiums. Fees for a sky box vary widely, depending on the size, amenities, and length of contract; in the United States, they can skyrocket up to $250,000 US for a single event! It is common for major firms to lease sky boxes so that they can give out tickets as perks to special clients, or as rewards for high-performing employees.

While fans in the stands might feel jealous sometimes, not everyone likes watching sporting events from inside a sky box. The enclosed environment can create a sense of isolation which makes attendees feel cut off from the game, and sometimes the architecture of the stadium does not permit optimal viewing from a sky box. Especially in smaller boxes, the environment can also feel extremely cramped, which detracts from the enjoyment of the experience.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a Sports n' Hobbies researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By Saraq90 — On Aug 26, 2011

I attended my first ever PGA golf tournament, and even though I am not a huge golf fan - I had a great time.

Although I am not a huge fan, I can respect the game as I can only imagine the skill it takes to hit a small ball into a small hole in the ground 300 plus yards away in four or less strokes.

My husband has been in the skybox for this same event and I must say as a fan, that although it was hotter than hades it was well worth being out of the skybox for this type of event.

I feel that way because at a PGA event, unlike other events you are of course just going to see one hole the entire day. By walking around we were able to experience the different holes of the tournament; each with their various exciting parts and plays.

This is as opposed to watching players play relatively the same shots all day from the sky box at a hole. I must say the one way you might get me into the sky box for such an event - is if I was at the eighteenth hole.

Then I could imagine catching some incredible drama from that vantage point!

By John57 — On Aug 25, 2011

I have watched several games from a sky box, but a lot of times I prefer to have a good seat in the stands.

If I am going to a baseball game on a beautiful summer evening, there is nothing better than sitting in the stands and enjoying the surroundings. I feel like I am getting more of a true experience.

I think I pay a lot more attention to the game when I an not sitting in the sky box. Sometimes when I am in the sky box, it seems more like a social party than a baseball game.

On the other hand, there have been times when the weather is not very good, and it is nice to have the covering and convenience of the sky box.

By sunshined — On Aug 25, 2011

Once a year I get free sky box tickets from my employer for a local baseball team game. We go to several of the games during the summer, but my kids are always excited when we get the sky box tickets.

You don't have to worry about what the weather is going to be like. If it rains, or is too hot or too cold outside, the sky box is always just right. They also love having a view that is higher up than sitting in the stands.

I think their favorite part is the concessions they get to order and have brought to them. I don't know how much they really watch the game when we have sky box tickets, but they sure the special treatment they get for that evening.

By BigManCar — On Aug 24, 2011

@Charred - I agree with you. Part of the fun of going to a game is being right there in the action, not locked away in a box. Also, a lot of times those suites are so high up that they don't even seem like they would give a good view of the game.

I would like to go in one just to try it out, but for the most part I like to watch from the regular seats. I guess you could call me a purist in that regard.

I take it a step further when I go to a baseball game and always sit in the bleachers. It reminds me of when I was a kid going to games with my dad.

By Viktor13 — On Aug 24, 2011

@nony- I agree, it is definitely like a first class flight compared to coach. The level of amenities just can't be compared between sitting in the stands or watching from a suite.

I had season tickets to my hometown football team a few years back, and three times I got hit by flying beer from drunken fools fighting about one thing or another.

I was not part of the fight any of those times, I just got caught in the crossfire. Also I'm a pretty big guy, and the seats in the stadiums are not comfortable to me.

The suite is just a superior experience in my opinion.

By parkthekarma — On Aug 23, 2011

The really nice thing about a sky box is you usually get VIP parking, along with your own wait staff and bathrooms. No more waiting in line, which can be a major down side of going to an event in a stadium.

The ones in our local sports arena also have a section of reserved seats in front of them, so if you're really into the game you can sit there and watch and just go into the box for food or whatever. It is definitely a different way to see an event.

By nony — On Aug 22, 2011

@Charred - Well, I get your point. But I’ve been to many football games and so the atmosphere of the crowd is only so much background noise to me at this point.

I would have enjoyed at least one game from the vantage point of the sky box just to see and feel what it was like. It’s like traveling first class, in my opinion. You don’t have to do it all the time; but now and then it’s worth it, and makes you feel like a million dollars.

By Charred — On Aug 22, 2011

I attended a big football game last year, and I noticed the sky box at one end of the field. At first I did feel a tinge of envy at people who got such a birds-eye yet close up view of the action; after awhile however the envy dissipated.

I began to enjoy the sights, smells and sounds of the activity in the football stands. It was alive, electric. Eating my chili dog with crowds of fans felt like so much more fun, especially when our team scored a touchdown and the fans erupted with cheer, making the metal rumble beneath our feet.

Watching the high fives and hugs that came as our team won added to the enjoyment of the moment. To me a sky box would have been like sitting at home watching the whole thing on my flat panel digital TV.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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