Mercedes-Benz Stadium to maintain low food prices for Super Bowl

The price of food and drink at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium is set to remain low for this year’s Super Bowl, Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay has confirmed.

Some 75,000 fans are expected to attend the NFL’s showpiece fixture on February 3 and although ticket prices will be expensive, refreshments will be reasonably priced.

The stadium operates ‘Fan First Menu Pricing’, with cheeseburgers costing $5 (£3.87/€4.40), nachos and cheese priced at $3 and refillable soft drinks costing $2. ESPN notes that 12 popular food and beverage items are offered at lower prices than any other major professional US sports venue.

Speaking to ESPN, McKay said that the stadium never planned on increasing concessions prices due to the high-profile nature of the Super Bowl.

“We said this in our negotiations with the SEC (Southeastern Conference), the college football championship, the Super Bowl, and the Final Four … what we basically said is every customer that comes through that door is our customer,” McKay said. “So we want to treat all those customers the same and give them the same experience in food and beverage.

“What was interesting with the SEC negotiations, (late) commissioner Michael Slive kept telling me, ‘Hey, I want a provision in this contract that talks about the pricing and prohibits you from being able to raise the prices for our game.’ And I said, ‘Commissioner, we want the same provision.’ It was interesting that we had a common goal yet two different mindsets. So we put that in the bids for all the major events, including the (FIFA) World Cup.”

The low-cost pricing model has been in place since Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened in 2017. The stadium, which serves as the home of the Falcons and Major League Soccer team Atlanta United, is reaping the benefits.

McKay told ESPN that from the last year of the Falcons’ former home, the Georgia Dome, until the first year at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, spending per customer increased by 16 per cent in spite of the 55 per cent drop in prices. “So that just shows you the amount of volume that took place,” he said.

McKay added that the stadium will open four hours before kick-off on the day of the Super Bowl as opposed to two. He also hopes other major-league teams will follow the Falcons’ lead in terms of affordable pricing.

“The one (team) in the NFL that really adopted a program similar to ours is the Baltimore Ravens,” McKay said. “And what we like is at the end of the year, in the NFL fan ratings, we finished No. 1 in all food-and-beverage categories. And from how I understand it, the Baltimore Ravens are now No. 2 in many of those categories.

“What I like about it is (the Super Bowl) gives us a chance to further tell the story nationwide. We still have people that come to our venue for their first event, and they’re surprised by it. You’re going to have a lot of fans coming from all different parts of the country, whether it’s the two teams’ fan base or it’s just fans that are coming to a Super Bowl. We like the fact that No. 1, they’re going to have a great experience, and No. 2, they’re going to take the story back and continue to push the story.”

Image: Mercedes-Benz Stadium