Mgm grand casino detroit mi. MGM Grand deal gives Detroit Lions fans tunnel vision - Crain's Detroit Business

Photo by ARTIST'S RENDERING COURTESY OF DETROIT LIONS Mgm casino detroit.

Detroit Lions fans with money to spend will be able to buy access this season to a new premium club at Ford Field that will be directly adjacent to the locker room and player entrance tunnel.

Known as the MGM Grand Detroit Tunnel Club, the area is currently being retrofitted inside the bowels of the stadium from unfinished concrete to include bars, tables, video screens, lighting, Detroit decorations and seating alongside the ramp players use to walk to and from the locker room during games.

Lions players will enter and exit their locker room through a glassed hallway that runs through the club. Steps from the ramp to the tunnel to the field will be open on one side, allowing tunnel club users to talk to players or high-five them.

The tunnel club also will have a seating area in the tunnel itself, also giving fans access to players.

"It's a lot like the courtside seats at an NBA game," said Wade Martin, Lions vice president of corporate partnerships.

The build-out is expected to cost up to $2 million.

MGM Grand Detroit has signed a 10-year deal to sponsor the club, which will have an entrance next to the team store on the west end of the stadium concourse.

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The new club comes with a premium cost: Access will be sold by the Lions as two-ticket season packages for $19,000. That buys the two preseason home games, eight regular-season home games and any playoff games at Ford Field.

Approximately 50 spots are reserved for MGM to use for whatever use it chooses, and the casino has a suite at the stadium where its Tunnel Club users will watch games.

The remaining spots in the club will be sold by the team.

The Lions are installing about 70 additional seats, akin to club seats, as a separate row across the bottom of the west end zone in the seating bowl for Tunnel Club ticket buyers. Those seats will have direct access to the tunnel club, which will be limited only when the teams are coming on or off the field as a group.

"When you talk about experiences money can't buy, now you can buy it," Martin said.

The club will open three hours before kickoff, an hour earlier than regular ticket holders can get into the stadium, the team said.

Food and drinks in the club will be provided by Ford Field's concessionaire, Levy Restaurants. The access price includes unlimited food, soda, beer and wine, but not cocktails. There will be cash bars for those.

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The club, tickets for which go on sale this week, will be open by the first preseason game in August. Details are available by emailing premium.suites@lions.nfl.net.

The architect is Durham, N.C.-based Alliance Architecture, and the general contractor is Troy-based The Alan Group. Both worked on the Breadstick Bar and Bistro at Ford Field that opened in 2014.

Discussions between the Lions and the casino about doing something beyond signage in the stadium dates back about two years.

MGM will use the club as part of its loyalty rewards program, and for wining-dining business relationships, said MGM Grand Detroit President and COO Steve Zanella.

"This is kind of like behind-the-scenes exposure," he said.

Industry observers are impressed by what the Lions are doing with the club concept and access to players.

"With clubs across all sports seeking to find new ways to reach premium sales for fans, this unique partnership between the Lions and MGM Casino that puts fans as close as any before to the players sets a new bar for others to achieve. There has been nothing this unique in some time," said Maury Brown, president of Portland, Ore.-based Business of Sports Network.

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But the ability for the casino to do such a deal with the Lions is possible only because the National Football League in the past decade has relaxed many of its strictures on business deals with casinos and gambling-related businesses.

The club also represents the Lions' emphasis on premium sales and experiences during games. For example, it has a deal with Quicken Loans for a seating area that features leather chairs and TVs, and a club level dining area with food from metro Detroit eateries.

Posted by at 07:43PM

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