Jan 24 2014, 2:14am CST | by Forbes
Part of being a sports fan is the risk you sign on for every year and every game, putting your emotion on the line for a bunch of grown men who generally make more money than you. John Chen, however, has taken investment in his team to another level by laying down $1.9 million of his own money on five MetLife Stadium suites for SuperBowl XLVIII to create the ultimate Super Bowl bonanza for anyone with $30,000 to spend. In the process, he’s hoping to not only to help the Seahawks win their first ever Super Bowl title, but also to help his guests test their communication skills, build trust, and sharpen their competitive edge.
Those benefits are all part of the team-building exercises that Chen offers through his company, Geoteaming . Geoteaming caters to mostly corporate customers and offers business simulation exercises based on the sport of geocaching, which is essentially an outdoor treasure hunt that uses GPS receivers, Pocket PCs, two-way radios, and digital cameras. In over 10 years of business, he’s worked with a long list of blue-chip companies, including Intel, Apple, Hilton, Amazon and Google. In Geoteaming, participants split into teams, and have to decipher visual and written clues in pursuit of a ‘hidden cache’, otherwise know as the treasure. Geoteaming’s programs have names like ‘The A-Ha’, ‘The Search’ and ‘The Amazing Kitchen Race’, and their website claims that over 90,000 people have participated in a program over the company’s history. In addition to his moniker as “The Kid”, Chen is a former Microsoft employee who helped launch over ten products, including the once-ubiquitous Microsoft Exchange. As you may have guessed, Chen is also a huge Seahawks fan.
While Chen has done a lot of interesting things over the course of his career, including leaving Microsoft for the risk of a conceptual start-up, the suite bet is clearly the most interesting, and riskiest yet. While the market for Super Bowl tickets has been relatively soft so far, the suite market is through the roof. According to SBtickets.com, suites are 5-10x more expensive than in a typical year , which makes Chen’s gambit even more audacious.
On the Geoteaming Website, Chen lists winning a World Poker Tour tournament as one of his life goals. As a poker player, he’s certainly familiar with going all-in, which is exactly what he’s done for Super Bowl XLVII I…literally. He claims to have liquidated his entire savings in order to purchase the five suites, which will fit 146 after his kids and mother, who is limited to a wheel chair. Chen originally got the idea to turn the Super Bowl into a Geoteaming adventure after looking into game options for his mom, who is a huge Seahawks fan, and needs room for her wheelchair. From there, the idea took on a life of it’s own, and the package is now for sale on Geoteaming’s website, listed under the program name “The Suite Geoteaming Super Bowl Adventure.”
While he could have just sprung for some nice lower level SuperBowl tickets and saved himself roughly $1,500,000, that wouldn’t be Chen’s style. As his company might suggest, Chen is dedicated to experiential living. For $30,000, he’s guaranteeing memories for football fans that will last a lifetime, including six hotel nights, transportation to and from your hotel for all activities, as well as 9 hours of suite access for the game. Additionally, you’ll get into the Maxim party and more four-star dinners than you can count on one hand. Of course, there will also be a New York City treasure hunt, as well as some Seahawks-centric entertainment, including time with former Seahawks linebacker, Joe Tafoya. Chen is also looking into Broadway tickets for one night, but hasn’t yet picked a show. For anyone who can afford it, it will be a truly unique way to experience everything that Super Bowl weekend in New York has to offer.
Without the hassle of having to figure out the details and logistics, you’ll be free to explore new relationships and challenge old ways of thinking, two core tenants of Geoteaming. For Chen, if he sells all of the 146 packages, he’ll net $1 million in profit on his suite bet. That would make for quite a victory celebration on Sunday night, especially if the Seahawks win.
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