After peeling back prices on some of their most popular items last year to unprecedented levels, the Atlanta Falcons are ready to shock the sports world again with a $5 craft beer.
The Falcons will sell the $5 craft beers at their regular-season games — starting Sept. 16 against the Panthers — and any home playoff games. The craft beer price, along with all other concession prices, will remain the same next February when Atlanta hosts Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, despite the traditionally elevated concession prices at Super Bowls.
The Falcons aren’t saying who is making the beer, but it’s produced in small batches locally and costs $5 for 12 ounces and $7 for 20 ounces, the lowest price for a craft beer offering in the four major North American sports.
The beer, a pale ale, was the winner of a taste test among Falcons and Atlanta United season-ticket holders. The $5 price tag matches what the team charged for a regular domestic beer on draft last year. A premium 20-ounce beer previously cost $9.
When compared to beer prices for other teams, the new price is roughly half of what others charge for craft beer on draft.
A large 25-ounce cup of craft beer will cost a fan at Nationals Park $16. The San Francisco Giants charge $19.25 for 22 ounces of craft beer. At 88 cents an ounce, it’s the highest in all of sports.
Falcons and United owner Arthur Blank surprised many last year when he opened up new Mercedes Benz Stadium with food prices that put all others to shame.
The move paid off. Although food prices — which included water, hot dogs, pretzels and unlimited Coca-Cola for $2 each — were 50 percent lower than at the Georgia Dome, fans spent 16 percent more.
“One year in, our food and beverage pricing has absolutely resonated with our fan base,” said Steve Cannon, president of the AMB Group, Blank’s holding company. “We were No. 1 in the food and beverage category in polling of NFL and MLS fans by a ridiculous margin.”
While Blank has gotten the attention of many fans, other pro teams have been slow to adopt lower pricing. The Atlanta Hawks recently announced that they, too, would slash prices, and the Washington Redskins will have value pricing this year for the first hour after the gates open.
But after so many years of being able to charge their captive audience big prices, teams have found it hard to adjust.
Cannon says he will talk to any team looking into the concept.
“This isn’t our secret,” Cannon said. “Arthur was thrilled to do this, and we are willing to show any team our playbook and hope this has a trickle-down impact across the industry.”
For their final preseason game, which will be played against the Dolphins next Thursday, the Falcons will drop prices of six food items, each by a dollar. Chili cheese fries, for example, drop from $10 to $9, and the stadium’s Italian sausage drops from $8 to $7.
AMB also surveyed fans to rank the food and beverage concepts around the stadium in Year 1. In March, 20 underperforming concepts were changed out in favor of new ones. Since then, Cannon said, sales of the new concepts, compared to the old ones, are up 23 percent.
Even though the stadium’s Chick fil-A is closed on Sunday, missing many Falcons home games, Cannon said that the restaurant’s outpost inside the stadium finished the first year as one of the highest in revenue.