Concessions at Ravens games next season will include a $5 domestic beer, $3 hot dogs and $6 burgers, president Dick Cass announced at a news conference Thursday.
The new “Flock Friendly Fare” initiative reduces prices on 21 of the most popular menu items, with an average drop of 33 percent. Prices for favorites like soft pretzels and fries will be reduced by up to 53 percent, and no single item will cost more than $9.
Cass said the decision to reduce the prices came after hearing more criticisms than compliments about the cost of concessions.
“We heard the criticism, and we’re responding, and we hope they’re going to take that into account when they’re making a decision of whether or not to come to a game,” Cass said. “And if they do come, it’s going to be less expensive for them, particularly for a family.”
Non-alcoholic beverages will also be reduced by an average of 39 percent. Five alcoholic beverages, including domestic draft and packaged beer, will be reduced by an average of 16 percent.
The stadium will also introduce a 12-ounce domestic beer for $5 — a first for the stadium, Cass said.
“I think our fans will welcome a $5 beer,” he said.
“We’re expecting that our revenue from concessions on game day will decline something in excess of a million and a half dollars” over the course of the season, Cass said, adding that the cost will be absorbed by the team.
The move follows the Atlanta Falcons’ decision to drop their concession prices by 50 percent when they moved into Mercedes-Benz Stadium last year. Team officials reported that fans spent 16 percent more than in the previous year, according to ESPN.
For the Ravens, the move is part of an effort to be more fan-friendly after a 2017 season in which the team missed the playoffs for a third consecutive year. The number of empty seats at M&T Bank Stadium became a major storyline, as did the fan response to roughly a dozen players who knelt during the national anthem before the team’s game in London against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Discussions about reducing costs began before last season. Cass said the plan, with input and help of Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, came together in March.
Chris Bigelow, food service consultant to stadiums and arenas and the president of the Bigelow Companies, said it’s an unusual move for the NFL teams, whose fans pay higher fees for seat licenses, parking and tickets than fans of most other sports. Bigelow said food and beverage sales are a smaller percentage of revenue for the NFL than for other sports.
“When this was first announced [by the Falcons], I thought if there’s a lot of teams interested in that, we would have seen more by now,” he said.
But football is also facing increased competition from esports and the rising popularity of soccer.
“I think all the teams will be looking for ways to offer a better value to the customer,” he said.
Ravens concessions with reduced prices
Baltimore Sun reporter Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article.
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