More than a half-dozen pro and college sports teams have followed Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s lead in reducing food and beverage prices. And now the stadium that started the trend plans to trim prices of additional items.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium officials announced Friday that prices of six items, ranging from Italian sausage to chili cheese fries, will be reduced by $1 next week as the stadium moves into its second year of operation.
In addition, all of last year’s more dramatic price cuts will remain in effect, including $2 hot dogs, $2 refillable soft drinks, $2 popcorn and $3 pizza slices.
The stadium has gained much attention for its concession-stand pricing, which is seen as revolutionary in a sports industry long criticized for overpriced food and beverages. Neighboring Philips Arena last month announced that it, too, will cut concession prices at Hawks games and other events when the arena reopens in October after a massive renovation.
Around the country, several pro sports teams, including the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens and Detroit Lions and MLB’s Baltimore Orioles, have recently reduced some prices on food and beverage. A number of college football programs, including Mississippi State, Texas, Texas A&M and UCLA, are doing likewise.
“One of the things (Falcons and Atlanta United owner Arthur Blank) told all of us from the beginning is that we really want to be agents for change on this,” said Greg Beadles, chief operating officer of Blank’s sports properties. “It is definitely gratifying to see others going in the same direction.”
These will be Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s new prices on the items getting $1 reductions next week: $5 for cheese fries, $7 for Italian sausage, $8 for Shock Top bratwurst, $8 for the ATL Bud burger, $9 for chili cheese fries and $10 for West Nest’s free-range fried chicken sandwich. The new prices, averaging 12-percent reductions, will take effect Aug. 30.
In addition, stadium officials announced a partnership with an unnamed Atlanta brewery to sell a new craft beer in the stadium starting with the Falcons’ Sept. 16 home opener. It’ll be sold in concession stands throughout the stadium for $5 (12-ounce draft) and $7 (20-ounce draft).
When Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened last year — Aug. 26, 2017 — prices were reduced by an average of 50 percent on 10 popular food and beverage items, compared to the Falcons' final year at the Georgia Dome. The lower prices drove Falcons fans to buy more items, and they spent an average of 16 percent more on food and beverage last season despite the price cuts, according to stadium officials.
The concession-stand prices apply to all events in the stadium. Beadles reiterated that the prices will be unchanged for Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 3.
Tim Tucker, a long-time AJC sports reporter, often writes about the business side of the games. He also had stints as the AJC's Braves beat writer, UGA beat writer, sports notes columnist and executive sports editor. He was deputy managing editor of America's first all-sports newspaper, The National Sports Daily.