This review was made possible by iConnect and the New York Red Bulls. I was provided with VIP Tickets to facilitate my review and compensation, but all opinions are 100% mine.
About the time that my kids hit middle school- birthday gifts and holiday presents start to change. Instead of my kids asking for more toys, crafts, books, and games- they start requesting experiences. A day in New York City hanging out with Dad, a trip to see a Broadway show, a white water rafting trip, or an evening spent watching a favorite sports team. And I just love it when we hit this stage- because I know that these experiences, while they seem to fly by so quickly, are the kind of thing that a lifetime of memories are made of. (I mean honestly- can you remember what you received for your 12th birthday? But I bet you recall quite clearly the first time you went to a concert or saw a sports team live!) Giving gifts of experiences is far more valuable!
This past weekend, my husband and I were given the opportunity to take our three older soccer-loving kids to see a Red Bulls game in Harrison, NJ. And it was one of those magical experiences that a parent dreams of… and that my boys will never forget.
We arrived a few hours before the start of the game, so that we would have a chance to check out the BULLevard- a free outdoor event geared for families that takes place before every home game.
Of course we started at the Photo Booth- and then moved on to spinning the lottery wheel and then coloring signs to take into the arena to cheer for our favorite team!
My kids were the most excited about seeing the “Red Bulls Street Team”- the guys who could juggle and move the ball in crazy ways!
After showing us their sick juggling skills, they moved on to a game of Panna (a 1 on 1 game where a player tries to move the ball between his opponent's legs and recover it on the other side) and Spencer had the chance to take on a Street Team player (not too successfully!)
One of the guys started his own juggling circle off to the side, and my oldest son Kyle joined right in.
The evening would have been a huge success if it ended right here! But there was so much more ahead of us! We were fortunate to be treated to a suite experience- complete with incredible views of the field, and an all-you-can-eat buffet in the club lounge. (Teen boys and a buffet featuring sushi? Need I say more?)
But the best part of the night, is that we continued to have the chance to enjoy some of the special fan experiences that are available to groups at Red Bulls Arena. Things like:
A pre-match visit to the corner of the field while the players were warming up. I could see how badly my kids were itching to take a corner kick of their own right here!
A Red Bulls player “meet & greet” right in our suite. Two players who are currently sidelined due to injury came up to talk to the kids and answer questions, sign autographs, and pose for pictures.
And we were invited to stand right outside of the Red Bulls locker room so the kids could high-five the players as they headed into the tunnel to take the pitch for the second half!
And of course, we had the chance to cheer for the Red Bulls as they defeated the Columbus Crew 2-1 securing their spot at the top team In Major League Soccer, in 1st place in the league as well as the Eastern Conference!
You Can Have These Same Fan Experiences Too!
One of the cool things about Major League Soccer, is that they offer so many ways to get kids up close to the players, the field, and the coaches- and you don't find these opportunities in any of the other 4 major league sports!
First of all- Red Bulls loves families- and they have partnered with the gas/convenience store chain Wawa to offer an amazing fan experience called the Wawa Family Four Pack. For $99 you get 4 seats to a game, the chance to come and enjoy all of the events on the BULLevard three hours before game time, and you'll also get $20 back in Wawa gift cards (to buy the kids slushies and snacks for the ride home!). How great is that?
There is still one more regular season game- Sunday Oct 18th against Philadelphia Union. You can use the code SOCCERMOMS to receive a discount on tickets in three different price zones, including Club Seats which come with all inclusive food and non-premium beverages (click here to take advantage of this offer)! And with the playoffs starting at the end of October, you can watch the Red Bulls as they fight their way towards the championship match (Tickets go on sale next week!)
You can get more info on Red Bulls fan experiences here. And if your child plays with a soccer club who would love to attend a playoff match and get in on these fan experiences, be sure to reach out to Alexa Fuentes.
And if you want to get together with a couple of other families and pull out all the stops and have an incredible fan experience- you too can rent the full suite, which includes 17 tickets, all-inclusive food and drink, and a player meet and greet. The Halftime Fan Tunnel for the kids (or a similar Fan Experience) can also be included based on availability. For more info, please contact Robert Pastor.
As we were walking out of the arena.. I knew this gift of an experience was far more valuable than anything my kids could have unwrapped in a box.
Looks like an amazing and memorable day! I love giving experiences instead of stuff and we usually try to do that for our own kids but I’ve also been encouraging their grandparents to do the same (one set is loving it… the other side likes to shop!) It’s amazing how much of a difference it makes in our home, and it’s true… the kids will remember the experience but not the stuff.
I too have tried to encourage the grandparents to go with gifts of experiences- but they don’t like that there is nothing to open and play with on Christmas morning!