Blank and Koonin Make Sporting Events Affordable

Blank and Koonin Make Sporting Events Affordable

Price changes are on the rise at Philips and Mercedes-Benz.

More affordable fare is coming to Atlanta arenas.
More affordable fare is coming to Atlanta arenas.

Taking a cue from Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Philips Arena will be offering “drastically reduced” concession pricing for 11 of its most popular food and beverage items starting in October, according to the NBA. The average price reduction is 50 percent and includes such items as french fries, hot dogs, pizza and bottomless soda for $4 or less. A $5 beer has also been added to the menu. The specific brand wasn’t released.

The Atlanta Hawks, which play at Philips Arena, and the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United, which play at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, have Jewish leaders. With the “fan-friendly” pricing, the Atlanta Hawks becomes the first NBA team to offer such reductions, the basketball association reported.

The pricing will go into effect in two months, after the completion of what the NBA says is the second-largest renovation in its history.

Dropping food pricing has proven popular and profitable for Mercedes-Benz Stadium, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Despite stable attendance rates and a 50 percent drop in food pricing, average spending per fan at Falcons games between 2016 and 2017 increased by about 16 percent, resulting in 53 percent more sales at the stadium. More than 6,000 fans per game entered the stadium earlier than previous years to take advantage of the food and beverage pricing, based on gate and transaction data, the paper reported.

Philips Arena also has worked with food and beverage partner Levy Restaurants and E15, Levy’s tech and analytics subsidiary, to redesign the guest experience. This includes enhancing speed of service, increased cooking capacity, nearly 40 percent more beer taps and new line designs and self-serve stations intended to decrease wait times, the NBA said.

Hot dogs, pizza, french fries and drinks will be sold at a reduced price in October.

“At the core of the transformation of Philips Arena has always been creating a state-of-the-art venue that allows us to listen to and serve our fans with an amazing experience tailored to their lifestyle and means,” said Steve Koonin, CEO of the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club and Philips Arena.

“The undeniable success of Fan First pricing at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the incredible experience of The Masters set terrific precedents and built demand from our fans to add value menu pricing that complements the wide assortment of premium food options introduced by our Executive Chef Joe Schafer. We are thrilled to respond to our fans in this way and will continue listening to the fans to enhance their experience.”

In related sports news, attendance at the soccer match between the MLS All-Stars and Italian Juventus at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Wednesday was expected to be the second-highest All-Star crowd in history, according to WABE.

Dan Courtemanche, Major League Soccer executive vice president of communications, told the news station that ticket sales recently hit 70,000. More than 72,250 attendees would dethrone the 1958 NFL Pro Bowl Game to be second in All-Star attendance.

“We’ve had tremendous success with our All-Star weeks throughout the years, but this will be the biggest and best ever,” Courtemanche told the radio station last week.

“It really is the incredible soccer fans in Georgia and throughout the southeast that will make a historic All-Star week and really showcase Atlanta and Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the incredible environment we see each and every week at Atlanta United matches.”

Arthur Blank’s Atlanta United, which has six players on the MLS All-Star team, leads MLS attendance at 52,409 fans per game, the highest of any sports team in the U.S. other than NFL clubs. Atlanta broke its own single-match record on July 15 against Seattle Sounders with 72,243 in attendance, according to the Business Chronicle.

The Five Stripes saw unparalleled success during its inaugural season last year, setting new MLS records in almost every attendance category, the paper reported.

Courtemanche told WABE that Blank’s leadership has helped draw the largest crowds in MLS history to the games. Since the Atlanta United started playing in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, game attendance rose to more than 70,000.

“The unprecedented success of Atlanta United is really an incredible statement about the passionate soccer fans in the Southeast. They’re young, diverse, they are digitally savvy and consuming the sport of soccer in record numbers,” he said. “Arthur has put together a tremendous team both on and off the field … and the organization continues to over deliver.”


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