Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, who enjoyed a profit at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium despite having the lowest food and beverage prices in major professional American sports, hopes the model catches on with other NFL teams as well as other sports franchises.
"I think you find ways to be sensitive and supportive of your fans, and that's the way that we could do it," Blank told ESPN during a phone interview Friday. "I think other owners are trying to find ways to create a better fan experience in their stadiums. We've received a number of questions about, 'How does it work?' And we'll be happy to share whatever. If it works for us, you always wonder if it will work for other teams in the NFL, or the NBA, or Major League Soccer, or hockey, or whatever it may be."
Steve Cannon, CEO of the AMB Group, Blank's holding company, told ESPN's Darrell Rovell that fans spent 16 percent more at Mercedes-Benz Stadium this past year although food and beverage prices were 50 percent lower than at the Falcons' previous stadium, the Georgia Dome. The "Fan First Menu Pricing" includes unlimited soft drinks for $2 as well as bottled water, popcorn and hot dogs for the same price. It also includes $3 nachos with cheese, waffle fries and pizza slices. The prices include tax.
Officials said the same fixed prices for those items will be in place when Atlanta and the $1.5 billion Mercedes Benz-Stadium host Super Bowl LIII next year. The venue also hosted the College Football Playoff National Championship between Alabama and Georgia last month and will host NCAA basketball's Final Four in April 2020.
"First, I would say we did it in response to our fans," Blank said of lowering the prices. "We did it in response basically to the complaint that we've seen across all sports venues around the country where people get inside and they feel like they're prisoners and pay too much for food and drink and whatever else. They're not happy about it. I wasn't happy about it myself when I was a young father."