Could the Atlanta Falcons concessions shake-up affect the Arizona Cardinals?
By Erich Becker
Attending an Arizona Cardinals game may not be the most expensive thing you can do with your Sunday, but that doesn’t mean it has to be close.
Going to a sporting event is expensive, I won’t sugarcoat that in any way, shape, or form, and while the price of a game has not affected the NFL as much as it has some leagues, the Atlanta Falcons’ shake-up of the concession industry within games has to have more than a few teams watching very closely, especially those with lower attendance numbers.
Specifically, the Arizona Cardinals do not have a lot to worry bout at this time, the team has sold out University of Phoenix Stadium since it opened in 2006, but one of the biggest revenue streams for any team is that of merchandise and concessions at home games, that’s why many teams are reluctant to lose a home game to an international market, losing a home game is losing a lot of money.
The Arizona Cardinals manage the concessions in University of Phoenix Stadium through Rojo Hospitality Group, and the team attributes this revenue stream to being able to attract top-tier free agents to the valley, because they have the money to do so.
What the Falcons are doing is putting the fan first, something the NFL in general has not been able, or willing, to do over the last few seasons because it hasn’t, frankly, met a saturation point.
People crave the NFL, that’s why 5,000 people turn out for a two hour practice on a Wednesday afternoon in August, they want to see anything to do with the NFL, and to a point the league knows this, people want to see their teams play, and with a supply of only 8 home games in the regular season, the demand will be there,
But where will the breaking point be.
Full disclosure, I pay for season tickets to the team, I’ve been a season ticket holder for the past six years and I love every minute of it. In the first few years, before my kids were born, my wife and I would tailgate, eat, drink and be merry before we went into the stadium. Since my son and daughter were born, we can’t devote an entire day to tailgating, the game and the drive from the east side of the suburbs of Phoenix, to the west.
Concessions are not astronomical, but they aren’t cheap either. A $4 pretzel, $4 churro, $6 soda with $1 refills for that game only. But to eat inside the stadium is ridiculous in most cases, a $9 personal pan pizza, $9.75 for chicken tenders, $8 for a burger. I’m lucky I’m not a beer guy, but I am a margarita guy and its $12.75 for mid-shelf, and entire bottle of mix costs that at Total Wine & More or BevMo.
Will the Atlanta Falcons change the game in concessions and make it more fan friendly to come and see a game?
That’s the question and the answer is, “maybe”. I do believe that sporting events in general are reaching a point where 4K TV, multiple camera angles, and loads of two-screen content allow the fan to be more disciplined if they spend the money at a game, or decide to stay home. For the fan of an in-market team, you can have a DIRECTV subscription, with Sunday Ticket and get every game for the entire season for the cost of attending one home game and eating some food, with a few beers.
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There is nothing like the experience of a home NFL game, with a stadium packed with like-minded people, but with that said, the power of the almighty dollar will ultimately reign supreme.
What the Falcons are doing is trying to change the landscape of the league for teams that struggle with attendance, but at some point you have to look at fans in another market and think to yourself, “Why is this hot dog I’m eating three times more than his.” And when there isn’t a good answer, you may just buy a pack of hot dogs and watch the game at home.
Plus, there’s never a line for the bathroom.