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Volume 26 No. 182
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49ers' Food, Beverage Plan Marks Major Shift In Concession Strategy

The 49ers have announced a plan to include basic food and beverages in the cost of season tickets starting in '20, and it marks a major shift in concessions strategy. The change coincides with a season-ticket price hike, the first since Levi's Stadium opened in '14. The average increase will be $20 per game, or 13%. 49ers President Al Guido said season-ticket holders "overwhelmingly" reported they are willing to pay more than what the stadium currently makes on each fan to get concessions included. The non-transferability of the food and beverage deal is possible under Ticketmaster's mobile ticketing system that assigns unique barcodes to every user. The 49ers and concessionaire Levy have been studying the change since Levy won Levi's Stadium business in February '18. Execs had a strong intuition that fans would be willing to pay more, but it took more than a year of research and analysis to determine it could be done without causing prohibitive financial or operational costs. One key question remaining is how ordering will work -- whether season-ticket holders will have a separate line or how they will actually process a transaction (Ben Fischer, THE DAILY).

CHANGING TIMES: In San Jose, Jessica Yadegaran notes 49ers CMO Alex Chang in developing the package "mined six years of data, including real-time fan surveys, to find out just how important the food and beverage experience is to attendees," which came second only to winning (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 10/22). Guido said that the NFL, which tested all-inclusive premium seats for Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta, "approved the measure." VENUES NOW's Don Muret noted the all-inclusive ticketing model is "nothing new in sports, but to this point, it has been restricted largely to premium areas such as club seats." More teams are "adopting the model for suites as well," such as the Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Ten years ago, multiple MLB teams "marketed all-you-can-eat seats for certain sections such as the right-field bleachers at Dodger Stadium" (VENUESNOW.com, 10/21).