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US sports teams lower food prices to fill seats

US sports franchises have begun making their in-stadium food prices cheaper in an effort to boost attendance figures and ticket sales.

The move comes during a time when an increasing number of fans are opting to watch games from home, causing a decline in attendance.

The NFL’s Detroit Lions, who saw a season average attendance of 64,137 in 2017, revealed it would offer discounts on concessions for the first hour after gates open at Ford Field, with $5 beers and lower-priced meal combos available at certain stands throughout the rest of the game.

In 2015, the Lions’ average attendance sat at 61,347, and dipped to 60,792 in 2016 before jumping up in 2017. Lions team president Rod Wood said that the team’s programme hopes to serve fans “without hurting the quality or speed of service,” CNBC reports. 

Meanwhile, the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks announced plans earlier this year to cut concession stand prices in half, becoming the first professional basketball team to offer what it called “fan-friendly” pricing.

In 2018, the Hawks suffered the worst attendance record in professional basketball, with an average of 14,409 fans at every game. The franchise is in the process of renovating its State Farm Arena in a $193m move that management said it hopes will excite the fans and see seats filled. 

Other Atlanta teams have moved to lower concession prices after the NFL’s Falcons and Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United moved into the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

According to CNBC, Falcons data showed that average per-fan spending on concessions soared 16 per cent over the 2016 season, with the trend continuing into last season.

Image: Michael Barera