Citi Field, home of Major League Baseball (MLB) team the New York Mets, has become the latest sports venue to partner with online marketplace Airbnb and offer fans an experience at the stadium.
The announcement was made yesterday (Thursday) to tie in with Bobby Bonilla Day, in which fans mark one of the most famously unsuccessful player contracts in history. Bonilla was released by the Mets in January 2000 after hitting .160 with four home runs and 18 RBIs the previous season, when a knee injury limited him to 119 at-bats.
Bonilla had two seasons left on his contract at $5.9m (£4.29m/€4.99m), with the Mets choosing to defer his salary at 8% interest and instead make 25 annual payments of $1,193,248.20 each July 1 from 2011 to 2035. This represented a total of $29,831,205.
Bonilla will act as the host of the Airbnb experience at Citi Field. Guests will be able to watch both a day and a night game from their own VIP suite, enjoying limitless ballpark hotdogs and drinks.
The fans will stay the night in the suite, while they will also be able to access the Mets gym during their stay. They will then throw the ceremonial first pitch before the night game on July 28.
The one-time, one-night stay is not a contest. Fans can request to book the stay for up to four guests for $250, plus fees. Booking opens on July 8. Bonilla said: “As a born and raised New Yorker and a longtime player in the city, there is a special place in my heart for Mets fans and it’s wonderful to see the faithful back in some green seats in Queens.
“This year, I’m joining in on the fun, trying on a new glove as an Airbnb Host and hopefully giving a few folks the night of their lives at Citi Field.”
In July 2019, Eden Park teamed up with Airbnb to bring stadium ‘glamping’ to New Zealand’s 60,000-capacity national stadium, in what it claimed as a first-of-its-kind across stadia.
In 2017, one family was granted the opportunity to sleep pitch-side at the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany, during that year’s Audi Cup pre-season football tournament.
Meanwhile, Minor League Baseball (MiLB) teams Pensacola Blue Wahoos and Salem-Keizer Volcanoes last year got creative in an effort to generate revenue streams during COVID-19 by listing their ballparks on Airbnb.
Images: New York Mets