Arturo Gomez makes his soft landing
November 3rd, 2017
College bowl games are around the corner, and no one’s more excited than Arturo Gomez.
He’s the longtime executive (with Billy Dec and Brad Young) at Rockit Ranch Productions, which runs Rockit Bar and Grill and the Underground night club.
Gomez has left the restaurant business but he he’s still focused on hospitality. Now it’s in the air.
He’s co-founder of Big Game Air, which offers charter jet flights to in-demand sporting events.
Gomez calls his career change “a soft landing.”
For about $1,800, fans are flown to big games and returned home the same day. Though Gomez says trips can be customized.
The charter flights are out of Midway and Wheeling airports. And the company has flown fans to Ann Arbor, Columbus, Madison, University Park and Pebble Beach. It’s not just college games that bring customers. Big Game Air also flew fans to the Chicago Bears game against the Green Bay Packers in September.
The packages are a good fit for executives who want to see the game but not make a big vacation out of it.
Jon Zirin, an executive with Elite Staffing, attended a recent Michigan vs. Cincinnati game. Attorney Carmen Rossi flew to Columbus for the Ohio State vs. Oklahoma match-up. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Antonio Gracias, who heads Valor Equity Partners, was part of a game flight. He’s a friend of Gomez’s.
The package is only for airfare–and specialty food and drink. Big Game Air has partnered with SeatGeek, where guests can buy their own seats separately.
Gomez grew up in Lansing, Mich., and attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor before landing in Chicago.
He’s passionate about Michigan sports and came about the idea for the business when he was trying last year to get to the Michigan vs. Iowa football game.
“My wife was like ‘Do you think that’s fair that you’re running around a college town for three days with a baby at home?’” Gomez agreed and talked to a friend who works at a private aviation field for help in getting a charter flight.
A business idea was born. Gomez and partner Todd Rubin, known for running Leader Bar Chicago sports bar, have raised close to $1 million to get Big Game Air up and running.
Gomez spent a decade as co-founder of and former president of Rockit.
While Dec has been the face of Rockit, Gomez for years kept the company running doing “all the unglamorous” back-office work that keeps a business healthy, Gomez explains.
The restaurant and nightclub industry is a nice career when you’re single. But Gomez, now a family man, wanted a career change.
“The birth of my daughter made me realize that time is something that’s a commodity that we can’t control and I felt I needed to do something different and challenge myself in different ways,” he told me. “That was the impetus.”