Depending on who you ask, reduced concession prices at Mercedes-Benz Stadium were either a good deal or an unwelcome move, setting a new standard that competitors felt compelled to match. The concession cost cuts were a major hit with Atlanta sports fans, but not so much with the owners of the NFL, according to an executive with AMB Group LLC, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported.
NPR’s “Planet Money” podcast recently praised the dramatic dip in food prices inside the $1.5 billion stadium that opened last year. The hosts spoke with Falcons president and CEO Rich McKay, among others, to discuss the risk and benefits that have come in the season-plus long experiment. The podcast explores how AMB Group LLC, the investment management and support services arm at the stadium, decided not to outsource concessions, as is the norm. Instead, the company took control of the process in the hopes that increased customer satisfaction from cheaper food prices would outweigh the expected $4 million in revenue losses.
AMB has seen a revenue loss much smaller than that, according to the podcast, because of a 53-percent uptick in food product sales — despite fans refilling sodas more than three times per game. Other professional franchises have taken notice and are following suit.
But the idea didn’t initially sit well with the other NFL owners, according to Greg Beadles, COO for AMB Sports and Entertainment.
“The first NFL owners meeting that we went to after we announced it, there were other teams that were mad. I mean, really upset with us,” Beadles said on the podcast. “’What are you doing to us? Why are you guys doing this?’ This is a big revenue stream for us.’”