Read on for our semi-regular feature that follows new-Seattleite Henry Fitzgerald and his adventures in discovering our Emerald City!
I am an unconventional sports fan. I love pretty much every sport, from football, soccer, basketball and ice hockey to cycling, volleyball, swimming and baseball. I even got into curling during the Winter Olympics. And I’m a venue snob. I can’t fully enjoy a football game in Grandma’s basement on a 20-inch tube TV from the 1990′s. Sorry.
I moved to Seattle a few months ago and I’ve since found some pretty awesome places to watch my favorite sporting events. They’re a lot better than Grandma’s basement. I promise.
Watching games at home comes with substantial perks. No belligerent drunks, overpriced food, traffic, expensive tickets, crying babies or big-headed families blocking your view.
That being said, I recently transformed my living room into the ultimate home stadium. My dad, disgusted with my 32-inch flat screen, bought me a huge LED for Christmas last year. With that under my belt, I called a local Seattle electrician recommended to me by a friend. He came out and installed a legit home theater system, good for movies, sports and the occasional dance party.
Whenever I host a viewing party, I put my sofa up on cinder blocks to make it sit higher, trot out some camping chairs and put a few blankets down on the floor. Stadium seating made easy.
If I have money to spend, I love seeing a game (or two) live and in person, at a local stadium.
I’ve seen the Sounders once at CenturyLink Field and plan on seeing the Seahawks there. CenturyLink is amazing. It’s clean, well maintained, easy to access and navigate, has great seating and good parking. I saw the Mariners play at Safeco Field and loved it. Baseball is my favorite sport, and the stadium was phenomenal. The roof opened up, and the hot dogs – and sushi! – were delicious. I’ve also seen a horse race at the Emerald Downs, got invited to a Disney-on-Ice production at the KeyArena and caught part of a field hockey game at the Starfire Sports & Entertainment Complex. I would suggest not spending money on Disney on Ice, but everything else is a go.
I find sports bars to be the happy medium between hauling in the cinder blocks in order to build my home stadium or shelling out money and effort to head out to a real stadium.
Auto Battery is my favorite sports bar. It’s totally awesome–cheap drinks and food, pool, skeeball, laid back atmosphere, and great specials. But, it gets crowded. If you plan on catching a Seahawks game on Sunday afternoon, get there Sunday morning. But hey, that’s part of the fun – being around all the fans give the bar a stadium-like feel.
The Victory Lounge is a close second. Its food and drinks are even cheaper than Auto Battery and the bartenders are more attentive. I like it because it’s cleaner, and there’s a wide selection of beer and liquor, games and a sweet patio. It’s a little less crowded on game days, too. Plus, it’s called the Victory Lounge: automatic indicator of good times.
Tickets and Tips
I usually try to save money on buying tickets. I’ve found some good deals on Craig’s List, StubHub and TicketLuck. I also suggest buying tickets in groups, since most sites offer discounts for multiple ticket sales.
I’d advise that you show up early to beat both car and foot traffic. Bring cash so you don’t end up losing track of things and accidentally charging $150 on your debit card. And, if you’re hosting viewing parties at home, encourage others to bring snacks, so you don’t end up pulling the weight all the time. It adds up.
Happy trails, sports fans!