Athletic stadiums try to boost attendance with cheaper food prices

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The move comes as the team – which last season suffered the worst attendance record in professional basketball – awaits the completion of a $193 million renovation of State Farm Arena that management hopes will help excite the fan base and fill seats.

The Hawks are Atlanta’s third pro franchise to offer cheaper food stand prices, following moves a year earlier by the NFL’s Falcons and Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United, when they moved into the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Both teams topped fan satisfaction surveys that measure food and beverage experiences at sports venues. Meanwhile, Falcons data showed that average per-fan spending on concessions soared 16 percent over the 2016 season, with the trend continuing into last season.

Deep price cuts may cost stadiums needed revenue, but according to NYU sports management professor Wayne McDonell, it’s a relatively low-risk bet. When fans are saving on concessions, they may be more willing to spend elsewhere, like on merchandise or tickets to other games, he said.

“I think we saw that with the Falcons,” McDonell told CNBC recently, citing “the accessibility and affordability of food” as a way to help fans feel invested in the game.

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