First Look at Wrigley Premium Areas

Updated: American Airlines 1914 Club, bunker suites debut for home opener

  • by Don Muret
  • Published: April 9, 2018

The American Airlines 1914 Club is 7,200 square feet of premium space beneath the Wrigley Field stands. The last photo shows one of the six new bunker suites. (Photos by Don Muret)

Major League Baseball's Chicago Cubs christened a new home plate club for their home opener at Wrigley Field on Tuesday, redefining the premium experience at the 104-year-old ballpark.

VenuesNow got a first look at the American Airlines 1914 Club, the official name of the 7,200-square-foot space. Club access goes to ticket holders for about 600 seats in the first seven rows between the dugouts. Those patrons pay roughly $400 to $700 a ticket per game, which covers the cost of food and drink, including beer, wine and hard liquor.

The club seats sold out, to a mix of existing season-ticket holders and new buyers, said Crane Kenney, the team’s president of business operations.

The Cubs spent the past year excavating beneath the stands before completing construction this offseason. Populous designed the space with finishes inspired by famed Chicago architect Louis Sullivan, who worked with Zachary Taylor Davis, Wrigley Field’s original architect.

“Literally, this was Lake Michigan beach sand," at the time the ballpark opened in 1914, Kenney said. “We took 12,000 tons of sand out of here in one offseason. We had a dump truck leaving here every 10 minutes for 40 days to dig out this hole. That’s where this space came from, which is a marvel to some degree on an engineering front.”

The club includes a pizza kitchen plus a grab-and-go format with stocked refrigerators near the exits where fans walk outdoors and up a flight of stairs to get to their seats. The Cubs’ research showed that fans loved the prime seat locations, but they just want “more baseball,” which means quicker trips to the restrooms as well as food they can bring back to their seats without waiting in line, said Colin Faulkner, the Cubs’ senior vice president of sales and marketing.

The club also features a small merchandise stand carrying items exclusive to those patrons. It’s the only time they reach for their wallet to make a purchase. Everything else is paid for in advance, Faulkner said.

In addition, the Cubs built six bunker suites flanking the club. Those suites, which cost $1 million a year and carry 10-year terms, include eight seats in the first two rows behind home plate. As of today, one suite remains for sale, Faulkner said.

The Cubs plan to build three more clubs during the next two years to complete a $600 million makeover that began in 2012.

The clubs were originally supposed to open Monday, but snow pushed the Cubs' home opener to Tuesday.

  • by Don Muret
  • Published: April 9, 2018