Lessons Learned From $2 Pretzels

May 18, 2016 AudienceView Staff

Recently the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons announced that they would be creating an improved in-venue experience with their new stadium in a mouth-watering way. Opening in 2017, the Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be making their in-game concessions more affordable, going against every industry norm. How affordable? A group of items will start as low as $2 and $3, and a domestic beer will cost $5. Falcons president Rich McKay told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that those prices will be in effect for Falcons games, Atlanta United soccer games, and all other events in the new downtown stadium. Positive coverage surrounded the announcement, because if there’s one thing people love talking about, it’s how cheap food prices are at events.

Online, this announcement was met with responses from the internet that fell on every end of the spectrum. Some fans were thankful that affordable concessions would soon be sold in their venue, while others wondered if the prices would be made up by raising costs for other services the venue would provide. This skeptical happiness is to be expected, but fans wondering if it’s too good to be true in Atlanta proves that this program will be welcomed with open arms. This should come as no surprise to anyone, as a 2014 survey of 136 athletic directors listed ’food and beverage options’ as one of the three highest priorities for stadium spending. People have long known that food prices are too high at stadium games, and giving fans a discount is a sure way to increase engagement and loyalty.

But what if your stadium took it a step further and asked fans to trade data for this discount? You can keep the prices down while putting a low barrier around them, making it so that a fan needs a loyalty card to access them. The card is free, but the data stored on it is invaluable to you. What happens if a stadium then begins to track the data associated with their purchase? Having cheaper food prices drives fan happiness, but what else happens when you know your attendees are buying three or four food items in the span of a game instead of just one? Now you’re getting more information on their preferences, and finding out what drives their purchasing decisions. 

The more data points you can collect, the more you can analyze the behavior of your program's lifeblood. Maybe you upsell fans on a jersey in the fourth quarter of a winning game, since you know they’re buying pretzels until the final buzzer. What if you recommend they see another sporting event in your venue on a different day? The opportunities to upsell and cross-sell are unlimited when you’re able to draw data like that, and all because you lowered the price of some pretzels.

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