Big Game Air launches in Chicago – Consumer News

on Aug7

7 August 2017 | 8:00 am

A new company is promising to get you to your out-of-town sporting event and home the same day.

Big Game Air founders Arturo Gomez, former president and partner at Rockit Ranch Productions, and Todd Rubin, who owns Leader Bar Chicago, aim to make it easier for passionate sports fans to experience a luxury, same-day game day.

Big Game subcontracts with about 20 private jet companies such as Chicago-based Priester Aviation, that either own private planes and jets or manage aircraft for private owners. Many college towns don’t have access to a large airport, which means commercial flights are usually out of the question. So if you want to fly, you need to go private.

Big Game will sell individual seats for between $1,200 and $2,220 in most cases, Rubin said. The price includes in-flights snacks, premium alcoholic beverages, pre-game parties, occasional sports celebrities onboard flights and transportation to and from the game. And because you’re flying private, you can pull up to the gate, usually park for free, show the gate agent your ID, board the flight and take off minutes later, avoid long security lines.

Of course, sports fans could charter a plane on their own and skip the middle man. Chartering a plane to and from Nashville via Priester, for instance, would run $1,250 a person based on a capacity of 12 passengers. Chartering a Gulfstream G-IV with a crew to, say, Columbus, Ohio for a Buckeyes game would run about $25,000 for up to 16 passengers on EvoJets, another private charter company out of Chicago. That works out to $1,560 a person.

The idea for Big Game came about in 2016 when Gomez wanted to see a Big Ten football game in Iowa City. His wife, who’d recently had their first child, said Gomez could go only if he could make it back home that night. He phoned former co-worker and longtime friend Rubin, who knew people with planes. The pair started texting friends to fill a Falcon 900 12-seater jet. Gomez saw the Iowa-University of Michigan game, and was home 12 hours after he left.

“A lot of talk on the plane revolved around, ‘My wife gave me a hall pass because I’ll be back tonight and can help with the kids in the morning.’ That resonated with us,” Gomez said.

Gomez and Rubin said they’ve raised close to $1 million in seed money from local investors.

When their website goes live Aug. 8, fans can browse a list of flights to upcoming events including Oklahoma Sooners at Ohio State Buckeyes and Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers in September (former Bears Pro Bowler Jerry Azumah will be on the plane); the NBA All-Star Game in February in Los Angeles; and the Super Bowl in Minneapolis. Big Game will operate out of Chicago (from Midway and Chicago Executive Airport in Wheeling), Columbus, New York and Detroit. They hope to expand to Dallas and Atlanta, and to eventually fly fans to concerts, festivals and other nonsports events.

While Big Game has a partnership with second-market ticket seller SeatGeek, customers secure their own tickets to games.

Just how big a market is there for such a service? “There is a market for luxury experiential companies, but it will need a lot of marketing to create awareness,” says John Rowardy, president of sports marketing firm Revolution. “With so many third-party hospitality service providers for big sporting events, it would be smart to find partners who have exclusive rights at these marquee events and universities. The entire high-end service experience from door-to-door, both with travel and at the event itself, will help build ongoing reputation.”



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