Revenue / 02.06.19
Super Bowl LIII: Sky-High Tickets, But Dirt-Cheap Concessions
Saying the Super Bowl makes money is like saying restaurants make food. Indeed, this past Sunday’s Super Bowl LIII was reported to be one of the most expensive Super Bowls ever: The average ticket price was $6,122. And knowing that big spenders are sitting in the stadium seats, many venues for the Bowl would hike up (and have hiked up) concession prices to round out the final tally. But not Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Last year’s Super Bowl boasted hot dogs for $15 and beer for $13. On Sunday, however, fans were able to grab both for under $10. That’s because Mercedes-Benz Stadium doesn’t dynamically price concessions based on events; pricing remains the same whether the stadium is half-empty or overflowing. That means Super Bowl attendees got $2 hot dogs and $5 beer — really.
This business model was implemented with the opening of Mercedes-Benz Stadium in 2017, slashing prices by a hefty 50 percent. How is this possible?
In lieu of a third-party food partner paying the company that operates Mercedes-Benz Stadium (AMB Group) a fixed fee to gain control of concessions, AMB Group now pays its food provider, LEVY, that fee. This gives AMB Group total control of pricing.
While this might scare venues, Dr. Tim Kellison, a Georgia State University researcher who specializes in politics and public stadium financing, said this pricing strategy could increase attendance, bring guests into the stadium earlier, and boost food and merchandise sales. And this isn’t just a theory: Based on the numbers, it seems to be paying off.
In 2018, Mercedes Benz stadium hosted the most attended single-match game in Major League Soccer history. More than 6,000 Falcons fans per game entered the stadium as much as an hour earlier compared to the Georgia Dome, according to data from AMB Group. Cannon said merchandise sales also increased by 88 percent with the implementation of the fan-first food pricing.
This strategy seems to be in direct response to the times. Nowadays, it’s getting more and more difficult to physically bring fans to an event, so venues have no choice but to get creative. Fans have already started to expect this kind of affordable pricing at their hometown stadiums. And with the Super Bowl being such a visible event, that demand will surely only increase.
Tags: Sports , Concessions , Stadium , NFL , Consumer Preferences