It's tough to decide what's funnier: That the Falcons are seeking credit for not extorting fans who'd like to eat at their new stadium, or that they actually deserve it.
Atlanta owner Arthur Blank and president Rich McKay detailed the "revolutionary" fan-friendly pricing scheme at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Monday. Here, "revolutionary" qualifies as charging your customers what they'd pay at a normal food spot, rather than $9 for a hot dog.
The full list of "street-priced" items: $2 hot dogs, pretzels, popcorns, bottomless regular Coke products and bottled water; $3 pizza slices, waffle fries, nachos and peanuts; $4 souvenir sodas; $5 12-ounce Bud Lights and cheeseburgers; and $6 chicken tender baskets.
MORE: MLB's best ballpark food in 2016
The end result is that a family of four can eat at a game for about $27, about 50 percent cheaper than the cost at the Georgia Dome. Not bad.
“The pricing is a way to say thank you to our fans for being supportive, thank you to our fans for helping us building and construct this magnificent stadium," Blank said. Mercedes-Benz Stadium, all told, is expected to cost $1.4 billion and open in June 2017.
“("Street-priced" items) probably represent 75-80 percent of the volume in the business," Blank said. "We didn’t take some weird items that maybe only you and I might order, and nobody else would order, and price those low."
It's a nice thing for Blank to do; the deal, he says, "is a core philosophy" that will extend to other events at the stadium like the Final Four and, potentially, the Super Bowl.
The team made up some of the difference, McKay said, by making food more widely available. He said there would be about 670 sale spots in the stadium, about double the amount at the Georgia Dome. More points of sale equals more sales. Levy Restaurants will also take a flat management fee instead of a percentage of the gross, which frees up even more money.
MORE: Bill Simmons pulls off gloves to attack NFL owners
Plus, it's ancillary costs like that that stop plenty of average people from buying season tickets; when your choice is either not eating at what should be a leisure event or spending an extra $100 every week, it's not much of a choice at all. If you're quiet, you can already hear the radio spots: Falcons fans: Buy your upper-level personal-seat license today, and take advantage of our new fan-friendly food policy!
In all, it's a nice, feel-good, P.R.-friendly move by a team that could probably use it. If they were losing money on the plan, they wouldn't have adopted it. They may be choosing to make a little less, but they're still going to make a lot. That's how low our expectations have become. We expect to be squeezed at every opportunity out of every possible dime. That's just how it's come to work.
That's also the business. The Falcons are choosing to be a little more creative and a little less evil about it — and in the NFL, that counts for somet[......]