As I watch the first football games of the season and see b-roll images of people eating popcorn and drinking sodas, I couldn’t help but think about how much money those people must have spent on their mediocre snacks. They obviously aren’t at the new Mercedes-Benz stadium in Atlanta. The home of the Falcons is seriously changing the game when it comes to stadium entertainment, and the MVP awards go to the revamped food and beverage.
Imagine walking into a stadium and smelling pretzels, popcorn, hot dogs, brats, and… tacos, fried chicken, hot chicken, and veg and vegan options like a Portobello mushroom burger or fresh Cobb salad. The new stadium food and beverage service is something to talk about. You can either choose to eat healthy or…not, which is usually the only option at stadiums. And here’s the thing, the prices match what one would expect to pay outside the stadium. Grab a $2 pretzel, $2 popcorn, $2 hot dog, $3 waffle fries, $3 pizza, $5 cheeseburger, $5 beer and water bottles are $2, too. And the food tastes good, like real food should. Another fun fact: sodas are also two bucks and refills are unlimited.
To make this investment, the team behind this $1.5 billion dollar stadium used data from fan research and fan feedback. We imagine the conversation to go something like this:
Fans: Hey we want the food to be great and it just isn’t.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium: Let’s partner with the amazing food already here in Atlanta and bring it into the stadium.
Will more stadiums follow suit? We sure hope so.
The technology inside the stadium is advanced as well. While watching the games, there’s a 360-degree video halo board – totaling 1,100 linear feet – ringing the stadium. It’s the largest in the world.
When on a snack run during a timeout, there are now 650 points of sale throughout, so no waiting in line forever. And when it comes to beer taps, they have 1,264! The Mercedes-Benz Stadium is all encompassing, especially when it comes to food and beverage. Read what happened to Sports Illustrated while waiting in line at the best barbecue joint inside the Mercedes-Benz stadium:
“Atlanta has some great barbecue, and Fox Bros. is among the best. I arrived at the Fox Bros. stand and found a line commensurate with the esteem in which the place is held. But even though I was probably 30th in line, I was at a register within five minutes. I ordered smoked wings ($9 for six at the store, $12 for eight at the stadium) and a pulled pork sandwich ($10 with chips at the store, $8 with no chips at the stadium). Both dishes tasted just as good at the stadium as they did at the flagship. The wings were crispy and drizzled with a spicy sauce. (So invest in one of those $2 drinks.) The sandwich passed the ultimate test. It didn’t require one drop of sauce. The pork was juicy and rubbed beautifully.”
With the world’s largest video board and bird sculpture (obviously a falcon), creative use of art and design including the one of a kind retractable roof modeled after the Roman Pantheon, plus affordable food and drink, the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium has many “firsts” and optimistically will be the first of many.
Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium is opening its roof this Sunday for the first time, providing the weather cooperates, when the Falcons take on the Green Bay Packers. And it’ll be first open-air game since 1991, when the Falcons moved into the closed Georgia Dome, officials recently announced.