Ravens try to win back fans with lower concession prices

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens are continuing to try to win back fans, announcing Tuesday they will reduce concession prices at M&T Bank Stadium in 2018.

This is the latest example of the Ravens looking to repair the relationship with fans who have become angered by some players' national anthem protests and disappointed by a three-year playoff drought.

Over the past few months, the Ravens invited fans to ask questions at a pre-draft news conference; held a question-and-answer session with fans at the team facility with owner Steve Bisciotti, coach John Harbaugh and general manager Ozzie Newsome; and had team president Dick Cass meet and talk to fan clubs.

The Ravens have sold out every game during their 20-year history at M&T Bank Stadium, but there was an increasing number of empty seats throughout last season. The no-shows were in the thousands for the 14th-largest stadium in the league.

At the NFL owners meetings in March, Cass said there has been "a disconnect" with fans.

"We have to do a better job of engaging with our fans," Cass said.

The Ravens are following the lead of the Atlanta Falcons, who dropped prices of concessions after moving into the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium and made more money. The Falcons lowered prices on food and beverage by 50 percent, and fans spent 16 percent more.

Bisciotti said in February he thought about doing this but pointed out that the team would need to renegotiate the contract with its vendor.

"It's something I would really like to take a hard look at, and at least, come up with select items that we can do," Bisciotti said then. "If it means us ... I can't make Aramark do that with me, but I can make them go along as long as it's my share of the profits that I'm waiving. Yeah, I'd like to take a look at that. I think we could probably do that."

The Ravens will hold a news conference Thursday to announce the price reductions on food and drink.