July 29, 2016 / By Michael Kelley
There’s a reality soon to exist in which you can get $2 hot dogs and unlimited refills at a world class sports and entertainment venue, and yes, it will be here in less than a year.
This ‘Fan First Menu’ will be a sight to behold and satisfy hungry stomachs everywhere, but it’s just one component of what’s being appropriately dubbed “The Stadium of the Fan.” That thematic is the exciting story set to be told about Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Owned and operated by one of Taylor’s newest client partners, the AMB Group (the Arthur M. Blank Family of Businesses), this dazzling new facility is set to open in June of 2017.
Taking a quick step back, I had the recent pleasure of attending the Variety and Sports Illustrated Sports & Entertainment Summit here in Los Angeles, where our very own Vice President of Digital Strategy Dan Gadd lent his expertise on “The Future of Sports Marketing” panel alongside other industry leaders.
Where’s the connection between this summit and those aforementioned hot dogs and sodas? That came from The Future of In-Stadium/Arena Entertainment panel featuring executives from the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco 49ers the Staples Center, and Monster Energy.
There’s clearly an issue with counteracting waiting times for concessions and the executives discussed this common fan complaint at length. In fact, the NFL’s Voice of the Fan Survey identified that food and beverage is the third-most important driver of game-day satisfaction, yet it remains the lowest rated aspect of the guest experience in stadiums nationwide.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, rightly acknowledging that their lower prices will lead to an increased demand, aptly put into place a stunning 673 points of sale, a 65% increase from the allocation at the Falcon’s current home, the Georgia Dome.
That in itself would significantly alleviate the problem, but again, it’s just one component. Then, there’s the use of whole dollar prices in the ‘Fan First Menu’, which increases the efficiency and speediness of monetary exchanges. Don’t, however, overlook the importance of unlimited refills. No longer is it required to wait in line to get that second Coca-Cola while your team’s driving down the field. Mercedes-Benz Stadium has installed self-service stations throughout the three tiers, dramatically accelerating service times and more importantly, removing those thirsty fans from the concession lines.
Together, this approach creates an industry standard that we’re seeing other stadiums adopting, most recently with the introduction of self-service stations at Bank of America Stadium, home of the Carolina Panthers.
Our role over the coming year with this exciting and innovative client partner will be to position Mercedes-Benz Stadium as a re-engineering of the fan experience. That job’s made a little easier with the innovative approach to customer service put in place by the AMB Group in advance of the stadium’s opening next summer, many of which we hope you’ll hear about in the coming months as the real fun gets underway. In the meantime, save those $2 bills.