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Cheaper stuff could help keep stadiums full

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The NFL is dealing with the reality of fewer fans at games by dangling more and more bells and whistles.  The secret, however, could be not more, but less.

Lost in the outside-the-box brainstorming is the exorbitant cost of the food and beverages sold at an NFL game.  For the league, gouging has been good business for years.  Fans traditionally haven’t obsessed over paying a premium over the movie-theater premium when it comes to beer and nachos and popcorn and candy and hot dogs and other stuff.

Part of the fun of attending the game is making a run to the concession stand, and part of the fun of going to the concession stand is not thinking about the money used to buy the things sold at the concession stand in the same way money is thought about when used to buy food and drink elsewhere.

But it all adds up, and fans are figuring out that, from the tickets to the parking to the food to the drinks to the lines at the bathroom stall to the scene inside the bathroom stall to the loud-mouthed, foul-mouthed drunks in the stands, it’s harder and harder to justify going to a game.  Finding ways to make the entire experience cost less could go a long way toward keeping the stadiums full.

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25 Responses to “Cheaper stuff could help keep stadiums full”
  1. dlc618 says: Jul 6, 2012 4:01 PM

    I agree..the cost of food and drink has gotten insane…add the parking and outrageous ticket prices, it’s just not only unaffordable for a lot of people, but just plain stupid to spend that much money on a 3 hour event even if you have the money….I’d rather save it, invest it or give it away to charity than just blow it.

  2. eaglesw00t says: Jul 6, 2012 4:02 PM

    Im one of these terrible fans.

    I let my Eagles season tickets go this year. I didnt pay for them just to sell them, or anything like that…I actually gave them up, knowing there is a loooong waiting list, and I will never have them again.

    I cant afford them, plain and simple. $1510 for 2 tickets to every game. Plus $25 for parking (even a mile away) and $7.50 for a beer because Im not allowed to bring ANY drinks inside the stadium, even sealed water bottles.

    It costs a fortune to watch football in person, and I would spend all Sunday every week, from 6am until 8pm bare minimum every week they are at home.

    Instead, the wife and I spent about the same amount on a really nice 55″ LED HD TV. And no added costs.

    As much as I will miss going to the games and being there in person, I sure wont miss 0 degree weather.

  3. schmitty2 says: Jul 6, 2012 4:05 PM

    A discussion about cheaper stuff followed by a picture of a staduim owned by Mike Brown. How ironic

  4. realitypolice says: Jul 6, 2012 4:12 PM

    Supply and demand. Owners will never lower the price for anything, nor should they, until you stop buying it.

    Your grocery store doesn’t charge less than you are willing to pay for a gallon of milk, and restaurants don’t charge $20 for a steak you’ll pay $30 for.

    I applaud fans like eaglesw00t, who vote with their feet. He’s practicing capitalism just as surely as the owner is, refusing to spend his money where he is not getting proper value.

  5. handsofsweed says: Jul 6, 2012 4:19 PM

    Who here HASN’T looked down while leaking and seen the amazing array of really bizarre objects in the stall’s toilet @ (fill in the blank) Stadium?

    Beer bottle(s)? Check.
    Plastic cups? Check.
    A pair of soiled tighty-whiteys? Check.
    Half-eaten food? Check.
    Plastic baggie and blunt wrap package? Check.
    A used diaper? Check.
    Alien-looking vomit? Check.

    And that was just in Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. May God help the plumbers in Oakland, New York and Philadelphia.

  6. naanunaanu says: Jul 6, 2012 4:34 PM

    Season Ticket Price for two = $3,000
    Parking at the games = $400
    Tail gate food and beer = $1000
    4 beers per game = $300
    2 waters per game = $80

    Spending quality time with my dad……. priceless!
    over the last 15 years my father and i have become best friends, and i know, if it wasn’t for football we may have never gotten this close.

    a few things at the games, that drive me crazy, but slapping high fives and hugging when your team wins, nothing like it.

    Thanks Art, for making it possible. Go Ravens

  7. dirtybird28 says: Jul 6, 2012 4:41 PM

    That’s the biggest problem so many have with going to games: cost of the entire endeavor is like paying for a small getaway, for half a day. $10 beer is unfathomable, as is $7 hotdogs. If theentire prices are cheaper, I wouldn’t be surprised if people were more willing to go to a game.

  8. thirstymofo says: Jul 6, 2012 4:53 PM

    I think I speak for most people when I say: “duh.”

  9. pastabelly says: Jul 6, 2012 4:55 PM

    Teams that routinely sell out won’t be reducing the price of anything.

  10. jcb6427 says: Jul 6, 2012 5:06 PM

    2 season Club tickets per game $302
    Club parking $35
    2 hot dogs, 2 cokes, bag of peanuts $41
    RIDICULOUS!

    If my team wants to move to LA again, go for it!

    I’ll get the NFL ticket for $199/yr, a new 63″ flat screen HDTV and will be well ahead in the financial analysis. The savings wil pay for a nice relaxing vacation.

    Wake up NFL. You can only gouge the troops for so long then it’s a rebellion.

  11. pcjag says: Jul 6, 2012 5:13 PM

    After the pre-game beers I end up buying the $7 -$9 beers in ther stadium and feel like a sucker, but buying food in the stadium has never occured to me. Other than for medical reasons (diabeetus?), I don’t understand all the people buying food in the stadium. Tailgate food and then for 3.5 hours you don’t eat. I see families going back and forth to the concessions- unbelievable. So, other than the overpriced beverages- beer, water and gatorade I try not to give them anymore money.

  12. timpaz says: Jul 6, 2012 5:13 PM

    I agree , why spend all that money for lousy seats and horrible food, when u can watch the game in your home on a big screen HD television and eat some good grub.

  13. db105 says: Jul 6, 2012 5:29 PM

    Prices are based on demand. Quit buying and prices will drop. For most teams ticket prices for low demand upper endzone seats have been reduced in recent years. Prices at concession stands will drop too when fans stop buying.

  14. SmurfJuice says: Jul 6, 2012 5:33 PM

    In an average home season, the 49ers sell 150,000 hot dogs and 138,000 sodas, according to 49ers.com.

    150,000 x $5 = $750,000
    138,000 x $5 = $690,000

    You’re tellin me that these teams are ripping us off on hot dogs and soda (not to mention beer!) only makes them approximately $1,500,000 a year? We pay $100 to go to a game in a stadium WE finance, they should give us a break on wettin the whistle so we can yell more.

  15. ndnut says: Jul 6, 2012 5:36 PM

    One problem: Cheaper beer= more drunks in the stands. Lower soda, water, and food prices, but keep alcohol at premium levels (cheaper soda with no alcohol price change may result in frugal decisions limiting drunks in the stands).

  16. jakek2 says: Jul 6, 2012 5:41 PM

    It’s amazing that these supposedly brilliant businessmen can’t see the big picture. For every family that they turn away due to prices, they are losing a kid or two to soccer. These kids grow up to spend big bucks on sports entertainment. If they keep turning families to other forms of entertainment, children of diehards such as Eagleswoot will never share that moment with their dads, those children will not grow into big spending diehards and those children will find their sports entertainment elsewhere. It’s called investment and these spoon-fed sons of pioneer owners who never worked a day in their lives are missing the boat on this.

  17. nomoreseasontix says: Jul 6, 2012 7:37 PM

    Great idea!!! Make it cheaper to attend games!!!
    Right… That’ll happen…

  18. watermelon1 says: Jul 6, 2012 7:44 PM

    If they charged reasonable prices for food and drink(without increasing ticket prices to just cancel out the discount), I’d definitely go to more games.

    Of course, this still first solve the dilemma that Thor concession workers can never seem to get the nacho cheese hot these days. Is there some regulation as to only being able to hear nacho cheese up to Luke-warm temperatures anymore?

  19. 49ersgiants4life says: Jul 6, 2012 9:31 PM

    The cool thing about AT&T park is that they let you bring in all the food and drinks you want as long as they are sealed

  20. dayno66 says: Jul 6, 2012 10:21 PM

    Just so we’re clear a lot of teams are struggling with attendance. Eagles, Steelers, Giants, Patriots, etc., yeah those teams are fine. Teams without diehard fans aren’t even close to filling their stadiums, and the nfl’s blackout rule isn’t helping.

  21. zn0rseman says: Jul 6, 2012 10:42 PM

    This just in…

    The New York Giants will now be selling Personal Bathroom Licenses to fans who would like to use the bathroom during their stadium experience.

    Critics have called these PBL’s just another way for teams to milk millions out of fans, but the Giants football club insists that is simply misinformation.

    “These Personal Bathroom Licenses will go a long way toward improving the experience of fans when they attend the amazing event that is the tradition of great New York Giants football.” Said Giants head of PR; Hugh Wineburg

    Giants PBL’s are an optional purchase when you buy season tickets, which give the purchaser access to stadium bathrooms. Those who don’t buy them have to use an outhouse out back near where the union bosses buried Jimmy Hoffa. The licenses cost $99.99 per game.

  22. jcg23 says: Jul 7, 2012 5:31 AM

    @watermelon, I bet you they don’t want a lawsuit if that napalm cheese dip hits hot. Ever since that woman sued because her coffee was hot, you can not get hot food or drink anymore.

  23. darkhorse08817 says: Jul 7, 2012 5:38 AM

    I’m personally not worried about the food prices: plenty of grub at the tailgate, and it’s not that much of a hardship to go 3 or 4 hours without eating some stadium grub that’s poor quality anyway.

    Naaaaah – the real pain is the price of the ticket itself. *That’s* what’s keeping me away from the stadium :D

  24. swive says: Jul 7, 2012 6:43 AM

    Don’t forget the constant harassment and verbal and physical assaults that come from being a fan of the visiting team. Yeah, I love to buy those $8 beers just to have them ripped from my hand and dumped on the ground.

  25. sportsstink says: Jul 8, 2012 10:15 AM

    The “you’re stuck in our stadium so now you’re going to have to pay OUR prices” is the biggest scam going. It is the #1 reason I stopped going to games more than once a year (I still have to catch one live event).

    So you buy a ticket, and you don’t want to sit in the rafters, so your out a nice chunk of change. Let’s say at least $100. Got to park, right? There’s another $25. Food and drink for your tailgate will run you a little bit, let’s say another $20. So you’re at $150′ish before you walk through the gate – THEN – it’s a whole other ballgame. Inside these stadiums, price gouging isn’t illegal, it’s the norm (and no, the prices aren’t fair market when considering the quality of this jail food). $10 for a beer, and you get at least two of those for a 3 hour event (probably closer to 4). Got to get some food, so throw in a $7 hot dog or hamburger (at Giants Stadium, you can always splurge for the $16 prime rib sandwich). Get hungry in the second half, buy a $5 popcorn. When it’s all said and done, it’s like $200 PER PERSON. You want to bring a family of three, your out like $600 (I didn’t even hit the souvenir stand). For what? To watch a live sporting event filled with insanely drunk people, swearing that is out of this world (and I swear A LOT), unable to see anything if you get that person who has to stand EVERY play, the occasional terrible in-game replays, throw in a fight or two because you happen to be in section with opposing fans, and then enjoy the bumper-to-bumper traffic unless you leave early. The price simply doesn’t warrant then enjoyment you can derive from the event. Even if you play the secondary market, wait till at least you’re two days away from the event for the prices to crash, you only save on the ticket price. The in-stadium prices will remain the same.

    It would be great to see fans finally stand up to this garbage and across the board stop buying tickets, stop buying overpriced food, stop buying $30 hats, and squeeze the owners to lower their prices. That’ll never happen though because people are sheep, and fans don’t understand they actually control these prices by actually paying them. If these stadiums go empty, the prices will fall.

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