Spirit Meets Speed: SET’s Exclusive Indianapolis 500 Experience

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Memorial Day Weekend brought the 108th Running of the Indianapolis 500. Sports & Entertainment Travel (SET) hosted guests from Oklahoma State University & Ohio State University to Indy for a 4 day, 3 night, up close look at the world’s largest single day sporting event.

For the tour, guests stayed at the wonderful Hilton Indianapolis Hotel & Suites, located in the heart of downtown, which is walkable to many of the great restaurants Indy has to offer. We kicked off the weekend with a Welcome Reception at SILO Auto Club & Conservancy where the group was able to enjoy hors d’oeuvres & drinks and get to meet & mingle with drivers Santino Ferrucci, Jagger Jones & long-time crewman Corey Odenbrett.

SILO is a perfect venue for auto enthusiasts, as it offers guests the opportunity to walk around and view some of the most exotic & luxury automobiles in the world.

On Saturday morning, the group visited the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Upon arrival, they embarked on a private tour of the Dreyer Reinbold Racing Garage. This provided an up-close look at an IndyCar and offered insights into the inner workings of the car and team, as well as what it takes to participate in the Indianapolis 500.

Following a full-field autograph session, the drivers then go to Pit Lane for their Public Drivers Meeting, where they are given their start rings & receive final instructions and procedures for the race.

When the Drivers Meeting concluded, the group then went to a suite for a “Checkered Chat” with IndyCar Spotters, Logan Gomez & Dave Ramsey, and crewman Norm Hornitschek, where they walked through the biggest race in the world from their point of view. The group arrived to the race in style thanks to a Police Escort and were able to avoid waiting in traffic as 300,000+ race fans descended upon the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A minor rain delay pushed the start of the race back, but sunny skies brought a very action-packed race. In the end, Josef Newgarden was victorious – winning his second straight Indianapolis 500.

Indianapolis, Indiana (November 9, 2023) — Sports and Entertainment Travel, LLC (SET) is proud to announce that they have been selected as the official athletic travel provider for the Penn State Alumni Association, the world’s largest alumni network.

The partnership will allow SET to create custom athletic travel packages for special regular season games, all postseason football games and other athletic events.  Additionally, SET will provide  specialty travel options for Penn Staters to bucket list events such as the Kentucky Derby, the Masters, and select golf trips, to name a few. These opportunities will range from land-only packages, game-day packages, and à la carte services, to all-inclusive packages with charter air. 

“Penn Staters are known as one of the most passionate fan bases in the country” said Paul Clifford, CEO of the Penn State Alumni Association. “We are excited to partner with SET to provide Penn Staters with a premium travel experience while supporting our Nittany Lions wherever they may go.”

“We’re excited to provide our services with fan travel packages to the Penn State Alumni Association and to all their valued alumni, donors, and fans.  Our team looks forward to creating and managing an exceptional fan travel experience!” said Kyle McDonald, president of SET.

To learn more about Penn State Alumni Association’s fan travel packages, please visit www.PennStateSportsTours.com or call 833.206.4651.

About the Penn State Alumni Association 

To learn more about the Penn State Alumni Association, please visit alumni.psu.edu.

About Sports and Entertainment Travel, LLC 

Sports and Entertainment Travel, LLC (SET) is a full-service travel and tour management company. SET’s collective experience spans the entire landscape of sports-related programs. SET pooled their expertise and deep industry connections with a common vision: to become the country’s foremost provider of sports-related group travel services. SET is committed to delivering the ultimate fan travel experience by utilizing its travel, hospitality, collegiate athletic, sports marketing, and sales experience to execute custom collegiate sports travel and hospitality programs for its partners. To learn more about SET, go to sportsandentertainmenttravel.com or call 844-438-8738. 

By: Rachel Nigh

Sports & Entertainment Travel (SET) had the opportunity to bring guests to the heart of baseball country and experience the rich history of American Baseball. The tour brought guests through the Northeast and provided exclusive access to the Baseball Hall of Fame.  

HISTORIC BASEBALL

Our five-night tour started in Boston with a welcome event and introduction to our tour by trip host, Professor Michael Raycraft. The following morning brought a private guided tour of the oldest active ballpark in the major league, Fenway Park. Guests were able to take in the magnificent view from the top of the Green Monster, the press box, and their new addition, Fenway Farms. That evening guests experienced Fenway Park come to life with a match-up against the Minnesota Twins. You can’t go to Fenway without the classic Fenway Frank or clam chowder.

Friday morning guests departed for Cooperstown, NY, the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. On the journey through New England, travelers had lunch in the Berkshires at the Red Lion Inn. This American classic Inn has been a landmark for hospitality for over 250 years. As guests continued toward Cooperstown, NY they took in the breathtaking views of Otsego Lake. We had an exquisite dinner with oysters, crab legs, and tenderloin with presentations on Cooperstown significance to baseball from Professor Raycraft and National Baseball Hall of Fame Sales Manager, June Dolhun.

The next morning guests had the opportunity to take in all the National Baseball Hall of Fame and explore the quaint nature of the Village of Cooperstown. In the afternoon our guests enjoy swapping stories and asking questions regarding the history of baseball on the Otesaga Resort’s famed back porch and rocking chairs. This provided the opportunity for travelers to mingle amongst the group over an afternoon beverage.

The group woke up the next morning and departed for New York City. Upon arrival in The Big Apple guests were given an in-depth tour of Yankee Stadium. The group was taken through “The House That George Built” in reference to owner George Steinbrenner. After concluding the tour, the group grabbed some Yankee Stadium staple food and sat down for a gorgeous Saturday afternoon game. The group watched the Yankees take a victory over Toronto Blue Jays and conclude the game with Frank Sinatra’s classic “New York, New York.” After the conclusion of the game, the group took the Subway home from the Bronx to the Midtown Refinery Hotel. That evening we said a final farewell to each other at the Refinery Rooftop over cocktails and appetizers.

HOST

We had the pleasure of having Michael Raycraft lead our group for this tour.  Dr. Raycraft is a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Illinois Department of Recreation,

Sport and Tourism, and the recipient of multiple teaching awards at the College and Campus levels. Dr. Raycraft has been actively engaged with the Baseball Hall of Fame for over three decades, published two books on baseball memorabilia, and lectured extensively on the sport’s historical roots, business models, and tourism opportunities. For the last five years, he has led tours of this region and will provide our guests with a unique insider’s perspective of our high-profile baseball sights and locations.

TRANSPORTATION

The travelers primarily walked in the specific cities on this tour or were using motor coach transportation from city to city in the New England area.

In the Big Apple, there were plenty of transportation options from taxis to the intricate NYC subway system. All guests were given a Metro Card, offering them easy access to the entire city. If you are looking for directions, don’t fret, the app, CityMapper, is your public transportation mapping go-to.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Fanwise, you can’t do better than the official hotel of the Boston Red Sox, the ultra-praised Hotel Commonwealth. This unique property has a baseball-dedicated elevator with signatures from some of the greatest players in the major league. The location in the Kenmore neighborhood allows for a less than five-minute walk to Fenway Park.

The Otesaga iconic luxury resort provided historic elegance and charm along the shore of Otsego Lake. This hotel has been open since 1909 and has remained a staple of upstate New York. This hotel is not only breathtaking in its 700 feet of shorefront but also within walking distance of the Baseball Hall of Fame. This made it convenient for guests to leisurely stroll through town and relax at the lakeside.

Located only a few blocks from Bryant Park and Times Square, Refinery Hotel provides the NYC modern and luxurious feel. This hotel is trendsetting with stylish loft rooms and a popular rooftop bar. This location allows guests to easily take a stroll through Central Park, see a Broadway show and much more.

RESTAURANTS

The Bleacher bar is a go-to spot situated beneath the bleachers of Fenway Park’s center field. A huge garage window looks directly into Fenway and has been noted as one of the best sports bars in the country.

In Cooperstown, Mel’s at 22 is in a historic spot along the downtown area. The American classic eatery offers delicious staples and great daily specials. This is an easy walk from the National Hall of Fame following shopping and touring local sites.

Refinery Rooftop Restaurant and Bar has not only great drinks but some of the best views in New York City. You can see through the glass ceiling the top of the Empire State Building and a majority of the fashion district.

MISCELLANEOUS

When you aren’t watching baseball games, we recommend a walk/run through downtown Boston, along Lake Otsego, or through Central Park. All of these cities live up to their historical significance and more.

If you are interested in SET’s collegiate and professional baseball experiences, email us sales@sportsandentertainmenttravel.com

By: Grace Moery

Sports & Entertainment Travel (SET) hosted alumni from 12 different universities and corporate partners at one of golf’s most revered tournaments, The Masters. Guests enjoyed accommodations in the beautiful and historic Savannah, GA, and ventured to Augusta to watch tournament play on Thursday or Friday at Augusta National.

THE MASTERS

Since 1934, the Masters Tournament has been home to some of golf’s greatest moments. Amidst blooming azaleas, towering pines and flowering dogwoods, the first full week of April ushers in a stage unique to golf and to sport. Over four days and 72 holes, the smallest field in major championship golf competes for a chance to capture a place in Masters history. “Patrons”, as they call those in attendance of The Masters, can take a journey down Magnolia Lane or stroll through Amen Corner, and explore the iconic traditions, moments and history of Masters Tournament like never before—past and present.


HOSPITALITY

SET guests also had access to The 1018 Club in Augusta, where they had a Masters experience like no other. The food, the drinks, the service and all the little extras represent the style, sophistication and southern charm for which the tournament is famous. An award-winning celebrity chef is the culinary mastermind behind The 1018 Club’s gourmet menu. From a relaxing massage and a cold towel to a fine cigar, it’s the little things that separate the service from other clubs. They enjoyed the Masters tournament in the heart of the action or back at the Club with their feet up.


SAVANNAH, GA

Savannah, Georgia is a charming Southern escape where art, period architecture, trendy boutiques and haunted stories are all set under a veil of Spanish moss. Savannah is a place where cuisine comes straight from the coast and cocktails are served at every meal. Consistently named one of the “world’s friendliest cities” by Condé Nast Traveler readers, this coastal town has a world-class reputation for hospitality and grace.


TRANSPORTATION

Guests were able to the free Savannah Belles Ferry to explore all the city had to offer on both sides of the Savannah river. On tournament days, a deluxe motorcoach was the mode of transportation for the 2.5/3 hour journey to Augusta. A shuttle service from The 1018 Club to Augusta National’s entrance was also provided

ACCOMMODATIONS

The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa is a four-diamond resort hotel on the iconic Savannah River in GA. Guests had the opportunity to take advantage of resort amenities like the outdoor pool area. With 403 sophisticated hotel rooms and suites featuring views of the lush golf course or the harbor, this Savannah hotel offers Southern coastal cuisine at three on-site restaurants. They also enjoyed exclusive access to the 18-hole PGA Championship golf course. This hotel offered indoor and outdoor spaces with stunning views of the harbor and downtown Savannah.


RESTAURANTS

Tour events were held at The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa as well as Top Deck, a rooftop bar located in Savannah’s Historic District serving incredible views, drinks, and bites while overlooking the Savannah River. Top Deck is also located atop the Cotton Sail Hotel.

Savannah has a variety of incredible cuisine. For upscale Southern and soul food, head to Alligator Soul or The Olde Pink House, both recognized as Savanah’s top restaurants. Just know that reservations are a must!

Sorry Charlie’s serves up some of Savannah’s best oysters while Coco & Moss is a top-notch spot for fresh sushi.


Interested in Joining SET in 2024? Please email sales@sportsandentertainmenttravel.com

By Rachel Nigh

This past week, Sports & Entertainment Travel (SET) had the opportunity to bring guests from “The Little Apple” Manhattan, Kansas, home of Kansas State University, to “The Big Apple” New York City, to cheer on the Wildcats in the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight basketball games of the NCAA Tournament. Check out SET’s go-to spots near Madison Square Garden and Times Square.

REGIONAL SEMIFINALS

Widely known as the “Sweet 16 and Elite Eight” for the number of team participants in the games, are part of the single-elimination tournament. The tournament consists of 68 Collegiate Division I Men’s Basketball Teams. The tournament first took place in 1939 and always promises outrageous upsets.

SET attended one of the four regional semifinal rounds at Madison Square Garden located off Seventh Avenue from 31st to 33rd Streets in the heart of New York City. On Thursday, the Kansas State Wildcats pulled off a stellar performance in the Sweet 16 against the Michigan State Spartans with a winning final score of 98 to 93 in overtime. Saturday, the Wildcats fell short by only three points to the Cinderella team – the Owls of Florida Atlantic University.


AIR

Traveling with SET’s Three-night air-inclusive package allowed for our guests to have a roundtrip, non-stop charter air transportation experience from Manhattan Regional Airport (MHK) to LaGuardia Airport, (LGA) via our longtime vendor, Southwest Airlines.


TRANSPORTATION

In the Big Apple, there are plenty of transportation options from Ubers and taxis to the intricate NYC subway system. All guests were given a Seven Day Unlimited Metro Card, offering them easy access to the entire city. If you are looking for directions, don’t fret, the app, CityMapper, is your public transportation mapping go-to.


ACCOMMODATIONS

Fanwise, you can’t do better than the team hotel. This year the Wildcats stayed at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel. This hotel property is only minutes away from Times Square, Central Park, and Radio City Music Hall.


RESTAURANTS

Prior to both regional games, the Kansas State Alumni Association hosted pregame celebrations at popular midtown sports bar – The Storehouse. This two-story venue was perfect for Wildcats fans to mingle and have a short walk to The Garden for the two days of regional games.

You can’t go to New York without having a slice of pizza, or four. PizzArte’s Neapolitan style pizza is to die for. In addition to fabulous cuisine, there is a rotating gallery of contemporary art displayed in the dining areas.

Need a quick bite at a unique location? Check out the secret Burger Joint for the best burger in Midtown Manhattan, located behind a red velvet curtain in the Thompson Hotel. The juicy burgers will make your mouth water at this hidden gem with walls covered in graffiti, stickers, and retro posters. 

If you’re looking for award winning food with seasonal ingredients, you must try Tom Colicchio’s, Craft New York. Located on the north side of East 19th Street between Broadway and Park Avenue South, this fine dining restaurants boasts phenomenal pan-roasted diver scallops, oysters, ribeye, and gnocchi.


MISCELLANEOUS

When you aren’t watching basketball games at The Garden, we recommend a walk/run in one of the world’s most iconic urban parks, Central Park. This location lives up to everything you see on the big screen and more.

If you are interested in SET’s collegiate and professional basketball experiences, email us sales@sportsandentertainmenttravel.com


By Laura Cooper-Arnold

This past weekend I had the opportunity to fly from Indianapolis down to “The Sunshine City,” St. Petersburg, Florida, to grab some sun and attend the 1st race of the 2023 IndyCar season. Below are some of my favorite stops when in the lovely downtown of St. Pete.  

ST. PETERSBURG GRAND PRIX

This IndyCar specific race is the current season opener for the series and has been held in St. Petersburg most years since 2009, though history dates to 1985 for other race series, such as IMSA, SCCA, Trans-Am and the Champ Car World Series. Taking place on the waterfront streets of downtown St. Petersburg, this race offers a unique viewing experience.

This race is hosted by Green-Savoree Race Promotions who also owns and operates the race property of Mid-Ohio Sports Course in Lexington, Ohio, as well as the Honda Indy Toronto, and the Grand Prix of Portland.

There are several ways to enjoy this race depending on your budget. A General Admission tickets gets you in the gate and there are many places you can catch the on-track action of the cars. My favorite spot is to take the bridge between turn 11 and 12 over to the Waterside Club, or Pit In Club. This is open to the public and is essentially a floating beer garden with a large tent for shade, TV screens, and fantastic bartending service.

On a larger budget, I would suggest the VIP Club. This club is located at Pit In of the Pit Lane Suites, and offers 3 days of amazing views, both in front of you in pit lane, and behind you of the straight between turns 10 and 11. This pass also includes a paddock pass (garage) and food and beverage all 3 days. The views and the breeze are worth the cost of this pass.


AIR

The great thing about St. Petersburg, is there are two great airport options to fly into. Tampa Airport (TPA) offers your standard airlines, while St. Petersburg/Clearwater Airport (PIE) offers discounted airlines such as Allegiant and Sun Country.

TRANSPORTATION

If you are lucky enough to snag a downtown St. Petersburg hotel room, ditch the rental car, as you will not need it. Both Uber and Lyft are great options and range from $35 – $60 each way, depending on the time of day.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Downtown St. Petersburg is not lacking great options to stay, but you have to get your reservations early.

Location-wise, you cannot get closer than the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront, which is located between Gate 1 and Gate 5 of the street circuit, followed by the Hyatt Place.

Just across from the Hyatt Place, a newly opened (March 1, 2023) AC Hotels by Marriott St. Petersburg towers down on 2nd St. N.

The most luxurious stay in St. Petersburg, is at the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort and Golf Club. It is still technically walking distance to the track, if you don’t mind a little sweat in the morning.


RESTAURANTS

St. Petersburg has no shortage of great places to catch a bite to eat, but make sure you grab those dinner reservations for any of the standard go-tos on Beach Ave. including Bella Brava, Bacchus Wine Bistro, Cassis, Beach 400 and Ceviche

A few years ago, a fully remodeled St. Pete Pier gave visitors the amazing food and view at Teak, located at the end of the pier. But do not fear the long walk, there are complimentary shuttles.

A few off the beaten path places I tend to visit when in town are the Tap Room at the Hollander Hotel, which offers 3 meals a day, and the option to sit at the hidden pool bar and grab a meal. My new favorite is the Bier Boutique, which serves candied bacon as an appetizer. Lastly, if you just need a coffee, a breakfast sandwich, or a quick Cuban Sandwich, and also need to grab some sunscreen, post cards, etc., located on Beach Ave. close to the Vinoy is the Annex.


MISCELLANEOUS

If you have any spare free time between eating and watching race cars, the North Bay Trail offers the option to run/walk along the water.

If you are interested in SET helping to customize a group travel package to the St. Pete Grand Prix in 2024 please email corporate@sportsandentertainmenttravel.com.


With over 50 years of experience, Sports and Entertainment Travel, LLC (SET), takes pride in our standing as the industry leader in team connection and incentive-based travel. We have a continuing reputation for creating turn-key, VIP sports and entertainment group travel experiences. Our customizable and unique packages drive engagement and help our partners to create memories that foster relationships within their programs. 

From the initial planning stages to on-site execution, SET provides corporate partners with a wide array of resources to make their travel experiences renowned among competitors. The relationships we have built with major hotel brands, commercial airlines, ticket distributors, and unique hospitality spaces, make SET a leader in corporate travel. Our management expertise ensures a convenient, carefree, and memorable experience enhancing continued corporate loyalty. 


At SET, the possibilities are truly endless. See below for a look into our vast portfolio of the top, bucket list trips in the nation. 

  • Kentucky Derby
    • There are few American sporting events with the history and popularity of the Kentucky Derby. Our unique travel packages offer the opportunity to take in all the sights and experiences of the Horse Capital of the World, Lexington, Kentucky, in the days leading up to Churchill Downs. 
  • Masters Tournament
    • The first of four major championships in professional golf, The Masters is a prestigious opportunity to gather together. Our customizable experiences include anything from badges to the Practice or Tournament rounds with VIP hospitality spaces, to rounds of golf at nearby Savannah. 
  • Indianapolis 500 
    • Each year over Memorial Day Weekend, the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway® hosts the largest single-day sporting event, the Indianapolis 500. At SET, we have access to some of the best views at IMS with premium seating and hospitality. Gear up for the race during the full weekend at Carb Day and Legends Day, enjoying private driver meet and greets and a tour of the garage. 
  • Super Bowl 
    • Your clients will be in the best hands with SET at the world’s most watched sporting event – the Super Bowl. With premium ticket and suite options and access to weekend VIP parties, this is sure to be an unforgettable experience. 
  • Daytona 500
    • The Daytona 500® takes place in early February each year on the sands of Daytona Beach, Florida. The first of two Cup races held each year at Daytona, this event is regarded as the most important and prestigious race of the NASCAR schedule. Experience this race with our special VIP club and in-track hospitality access!   
  • Baseball All-Star Game 
    • Starting in the 1930’s, this game has come to symbolically mark the halfway point of the baseball season. Treat your clients with deluxe hotel accommodations, premium tickets to both Monday’s Home Run Derby and Tuesday’s All-Star game, and more! 
  • Rose Parade & Game 
    • Ring in the new year at America’s New Year Celebration, the Rose Parade. After the parade, experience the “Granddaddy” of all college bowl games, the venerable Rose Bowl. Enjoy premium seating at both events, a pregame tailgate event, and deluxe accommodations in downtown Los Angeles.   

Additional Customizable Experiences

  • College Football Playoff National Championship
  • NBA All-Star Game 
  • NBA Finals 
  • World Series 
  • World Cup
  • Summer and Winter Olympic Games 
  • NFL International Series 
  • MLB London 
  • Open Championship 
  • Australian Open 
  • Wimbledon 
  • Formula One 
  • Rugby Sevens 
  • Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 
  • Kentucky Bourbon Trail 
  • Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 
  • International Golf Destinations
  • Flavors of Italy 
  • Galapagos Islands 
  • Antarctic Tours 
  • Trans-Siberian Railroad


About Sports and Entertainment Travel, LLC 

Sports and Entertainment Travel, LLC (SET) is a full-service travel and tour management company. SET’s collective experience spans the entire landscape of sports-related programs. SET pooled their expertise and deep industry connections with a common vision: to become the country’s foremost provider of sports-related group travel services. SET is committed to delivering the ultimate fan travel experience by utilizing its travel, hospitality, collegiate athletic, sports marketing, and sales experience to execute custom collegiate sports travel and hospitality programs for its partners. 

To learn more about SET, go to sportsandentertainmenttravel.com or call 844-438-8738.