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Volume 25 No. 155

Facilities

The Lions spent time this spring examining lower concession prices with Levy Restaurants
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Fans going to Lions games at Ford Field this season "won't need as much money for concessions," as the team "unveiled new prices for food and drink," according to Kirkland Crawford of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. At Ford Field this season, a beer "will be $5, a hot dog-soda-chips combo is $10 and a hot dog-beer-chips combo is now $12." For the first 60 minutes after doors open, fans can get a soda for $2, a hot dog for $2, a beer or a cocktail for $3, or a "specialty drink for $5." Doors "ordinarily open at Ford Field two hours before kickoff." The Lions "spent time this spring examining lower concession prices" with concessionaire Levy Restaurants (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 8/15). In Detroit, Justin Rogers notes the Lions are "matching the wildly successful $5 beer pricing" introduced by the Falcons in '17 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Levy also "manages the Falcons concessions." Lions President Rod Wood said, "We were looking at it with Levy and trying to learn what we could from what worked in Atlanta ... and adapt it to the best we could" (DETROIT NEWS, 8/15). In Michigan, Kyle Meinke wrote the Lions' new concessions prices are "not quite" what the Falcons are offering, but M-B Stadium also was built "with its low pricing in mind." Ford Field was not "built to handle that kind of volume," but the Lions were able to "make some changes anyway, like installing new point-of-sales systems that speed up turnover" (MLIVE.com, 8/14). Detroit Free Press' Brian Manzullo tweeted, "More stadiums and ballparks need to do this." Detroit-based WILX-NBC's Seth Wells: "I love the change, helps influence fans to get into Ford Field earlier!" Invite Manager VP/Strategic Partnerships Matt Ansis: "Great move and foresee this happening more and more" (TWITTER.com, 8/14).

HOOKED ON LOW PRICES: In DC, Jacob Bogage noted the Univ. of Texas announced this month it would "slash game-day concessions prices" at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on "items such as hot dogs (from $5 to $4), popcorn (from $4.50 to $3) and fountain sodas (from $5 to $3)." If UT has success with reduced concessions pricing, Univ. of South Carolina Assistant Professor of Sport & Entertainment Management Nick Watanabe said that it will "spread quickly through the rest of college sports" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 8/14).

Browns began distributing Keurig Dr Pepper products during concerts at FirstEnergy Stadium this year
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The Browns have signed a "stadium pouring rights deal with Keurig Dr Pepper," according to Darren Rovell of ESPN.com. The deal means that FirstEnergy Stadium will see Pepsi "be replaced" with RC Cola, Sierra Mist with 7Up, Pure Leaf with Snapple and MUG with A&W Root Beer. The Bears are the "only other team" in the NFL who have a "deal with Keurig Dr Pepper" (TWITTER.com, 8/13). In Cleveland, Kevin Kleps noted Dr Pepper has a "significant presence in college football -- most notably via its title sponsorship" of the CFP. The Browns "began distributing Keurig Dr Pepper products during concerts at FirstEnergy Stadium this year, and the company's products have been available at the team's training camp in Berea." The Browns had been "partners with Pepsi" since returning to the NFL in '99. As part of the deal, the premium club on the 300 level of the south side of FirstEnergy Stadium has been "rebranded as the 7UP City Club" (CRAINSCLEVELAND.com, 8/14).

Only about 82% of the retail space is leased, though some will not be occupied until next year
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The Battery Atlanta's pull as a shopping center "hasn't panned out as expected," as only about 65% of the mixed-use development's already-built retail and dining spaces are "actually occupied" deep into its second year of operation adjacent to SunTrust Park, according to Matt Kempner of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. About 20 retail spots -- most already built -- "remain vacant, particularly those farther" from the ballpark. An early plan to "draw day-time shoppers with women's fashion stores fell flat." The Braves said that a variety of other tenants have "committed but are not yet open." The team reports 82% of The Battery's existing retail space is "leased, though some of that may not be occupied for another year." Restaurateurs and bar owners have "signed on -- there are about 15 of them, including ones that are partly attached" to the ballpark. Some said that business so far has "met or beaten their expectations." Antico Pizza owner Giovanni di Palma, whose restaurant opened in The Battery last year, said that sales are trending 30-40% "above expectations ... largely because of hungry crowds heading into SunTrust Park." Even non-game weekends are "doing a bit above projections." Kempner notes The Battery's retail lineup "includes about eight permanent stores, two or three of which are largely focused on baseball." Among the other outlets is a "small Harley-Davidson apparel shop, one clothing store aimed at women and a home and gifts shop." Braves Development President & CEO Mike Plant predicted that 90% of existing retail spaces "will have operating tenants a year from now" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 8/15).

Annual rent for the 49ers' use of Levi's Stadium was recently increased by $262,000 to $24.762M
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Much of the feud over how much rent the 49ers should have to pay the city of Santa Clara to use Levi's Stadium "stems from a bitter dispute over how the annual amount is calculated," according to Emily DeRuy of the San Jose MERCURY NEWS. An arbitrator recently said that the team "should pay $262,000 more in rent, raising the annual payment" from $24.5M to $24.762M. The increase in rent is "relatively minimal given the large overall amount, but the dispute and the bitter fallout could ultimately damage what is an already tense relationship between the team and the city." Arbitration documents show that the dispute is "centered around whether revenue, and what kind of revenue, should be a factor in determining the rent." From the outset, both the city and the team "agreed on the end goal, that the payment should cover ground rent, stadium operating expenses, debt service and capital reserves." They also "agreed that debt service estimates had decreased while operating expense estimates had increased" as of '15, when it "came time to reevaluate the lease." But initial revenue also "came in higher than expected and the 49ers argued that should be taken into account and the rent reduced." The team also "argued that interest earnings on money sitting in reserves should be included." But the city "disagreed, arguing revenue should not be considered and that the lease clearly specified only changes in debt service or operating expenses should trigger a rent adjustment." At one point, the city suggested an "annual payment" of $25.862M (San Jose MERCURY NEWS, 8/15).