EPL's Man City Unveils Exclusive Tunnel Club, Reflecting Similar Space At AT&T Stadium
EPL club Manchester City on Monday "unveiled its Tunnel Club, a first of its kind in European soccer," which lets fans "buy access to the area around the tunnel that leads from the Etihad Stadium's dressing rooms to the pitch itself," according to Rory Smith of the N.Y. TIMES. Prices for the "so-called premium access" range from $385-19,240 per season. Fans are "rewarded with the chance to see the players from each team as they enter the stadium." They can watch them "file from their changing rooms before the start of each half, and see them return at halftime and full time." It is an idea Man City has imported from the U.S. -- most notably from the Cowboys, whose AT&T Stadium "boasts a similar facility." The fans are "ensconced in a sophisticated lounge on either side of the tunnel." Man City COO Omar Berrada said that the goal was to "create the feel of an exclusive membership club, and what resulted is a space with an air of relaxed opulence." There is a "circular bar, fine food, private table service, an extensive wine list and, on Monday night, a gin-tasting station." But Smith notes the introduction of the Tunnel Club has "met resistance in some quarters," who see it as yet "further proof of the creep of gentrification" in the EPL. Meanwhile, those paying for the Tunnel Club are not only "offered a tactical briefing before the game -- delivered by two Manchester City analysts -- but a question-and-answer session" with a Man City assistant coach. After the game, fans can see manager Pep Guardiola and the opposing manager "give their postgame interviews to the news media" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/23).