Stadium menu value

Author Andrew Burer, University of San Francisco

Posted: October 30, 2017

Tagged: value

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the new home of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and MLS’s Atlanta United, uses a variety of different sport marketing frameworks to enhance the gameday experience and create value for consumers. Namely, the two organizations have implemented leveraging activities to influence key delivery variables by enhancing the stadium’s setting, and to ease consumers’ participation costs by utilizing strategic design factors in the venue. Moreover, the Falcons & Atlanta United have increased consumers’ reference price levels for buying concessions—and ultimately the cost of attendance—by lowering the objective prices associated with purchasing food and beverage at the new stadium.

Unlike many stadiums or arenas across the United States, Mercedes-Benz Stadium offers affordable concessions through a value food pricing system or program, called “Fan First,” which gives consumers the option of buying “$2 hot dogs, sodas and popcorn, among other items” (Muret, 2017, para. 2). By offering such low concession prices, the two organizations have positively influenced consumers’ reference price levels. As a result, consumers’ transaction values are elevated because the organizations are utilizing a “context in which the expected price is high (such as the common occurrence of high concession prices at sporting events) and the objective price benefits from the comparison” (McCarville & Stinson, 2014, p. 59). So far, low concession prices have been a huge hit at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. “By the time we start an event here, we’ve sold more food and beverage than we would at the Georgia Dome (the Falcons previous venue) for an entire event,” said Arthur Blank, owner of the Falcons and Atlanta United (Muret, 2017, para. 4).

The “Fan First” food-pricing program also demonstrates how Blank, and his sport organizations, use leveraging activities to enhance the setting at the new stadium by “easing the burden of participation” (McCarville & Stinson, 2014, p. 56). In this way, consumers don’t have to worry about outrageous prices for food and beverage in addition to other gameday expenses such as tickets and/or parking.

Furthermore, Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s infrastructure uses functional design factors aimed at easing participation costs for consumers. As McCarville and Stinson (2014) point out, “two of the greatest burdens that sport consumers must bear are inconvenience and lines” (p. 56). At Mercedes-Benz Stadium, unlike the Georgia Dome, the venue has 65 percent more points-of sale. Additionally, the stadium’s design also incorporates enough circulation space for the purpose of restocking stands and other dining areas, and “items are overstocked to avoid running out of them during events… and more than 50 percent of the concession stands have cooking abilities, which reduces the number of times the vendor has to transport food from centralized commissaries” (Muret, 2017, para. 7-11). Marketers for the Falcons and Atlanta United can use this information to show potential consumers that all fans will have easy access to the lower-priced concessions and, more importantly, won’t have to wait in long lines to purchase them.

Ironically, consumers are still purchasing higher-priced items at the new stadium. According to McCarville and Stinson’s (2014) leveraging activities for enhancing the setting, “teams also commonly use localized concessions to add value, and to differentiate the sportscape experience” (p. 56). In Mercedes-Benz Stadium, one of the top-grossing stands is from a well-known local chef, Kevin Gillespie. His stand, Gamechanger, features the “Closed on Sundays Chicken Sandwich”, which sells for $12. Brian Lapinskas, director of operations for the food provider at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Levy, praised Gillespie for how “his interaction with our fans goes a long way. It’s been a huge hit, without a doubt a slam dunk” (Muret, 2017, para. 16-18). Clearly, consumers are still willing to purchase higher priced food items because of Gillespie’s local ties, reputation, and his personal engagement with fans.




McCarville, R., & Stinson, J. L. (2014). Creating Value as Part of Sport Marketing. In M. P. Pritchard, & J. L. Stinson (Eds.), Leveraging brands in sport business (pp. 56-59). New York, NY: Routledge.

Muret, D. (2017, September 25). Stadium’s Fan First program turning up the food volume. SportsBusiness Journal, 20(23), 1.


About Andrew Burer, University of San Francisco

Andrew Burer (@andrewburer) is a graduate of San Diego State University, and is currently enrolled as a graduate student at the University of San Francisco’s Sport Management Master’s program. Currently, Andrew works at a sports talk radio station in San Diego, The Mighty 1090, as a multimedia journalist, and as a sports producer for Fox 5 San Diego. This article is an edited version of a paper Andrew prepared for Dr. Michael M. Goldman’s Sport Marketing class at the University of San Francisco.

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