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The Detroit Lions have jumped on a bandwagon started by the Atlanta Falcons last year.

Mike Pomranz
August 16, 2018

No matter how much you love a sports team, going to a game always comes with some inevitable complaints—be it parking or crowds or, if you’re a Browns fan, the game itself. Beer prices, in particular, are often a point of contention, inflated to the point where a single brew can cost more than you’d pay for an entire 12-pack at the store. But recently, a few forward-thinking teams have actually been moving that metric in the opposite direction.

This week, the NFL’s Detroit Lions announced their new “Silver Savings” program: All-day low prices on beer and combos including a Bud Light or Miller Lite for $5, a $10 hot dog, soda, and chips combo, and a $12 hot dog, beer, and chips combo.

Additionally, they’re offering an expanded “DTE Energy Power Hour”: For 60 minutes after doors open at select locations, fans can grab even better deals like $3 beers, $3 cocktails, and $5 specialty drinks (the icon suggests things like margaritas).

These fan-friendly, value-added food and beverage options are another example of us taking feedback from fans and using it to improve our gameday experience,” Lions team president Rod Wood said in a statement. “Over the past year, we have spent considerable time working with Levy to get something in place that makes sense for our fans without hurting the quality or speed of service. We're thrilled to be able to introduce these value options in time for the 2018 season.”

This move by the Lions is actually part of a small but growing trend. Last year, the Atlanta Falcons made headlines by launching their new Mercedes-Benz Stadium with “Fan First Menu Pricing” featuring everything from a $5 Bud Light draft beer to $3 nachos—a move deemed a revolutionary at the time. Then, in June, Falcons president and CEO Rich McKay revealed that the team was extremely happy with the results which included a 16 percent increase in fan spending, a 90 percent uptick in merchandise sales, and a top three ranking among NFL teams in gameday experience ratings, according to Forbes.

Maybe the Baltimore Ravens had gotten a tip on those results early, because in May, their team president, Dick Cass, announced M&T Bank Stadium would offer “Flock Friendly Fare” for this upcoming season, including, yup, a 12-ounce domestic beer for $5.

Needless to say, if these new value programs see similar results to what the Falcons experienced last year, it would likely behoove even more teams to jump on this cheap drinks bandwagon. But at the same time, the move may be about more than just boosting sales and improving fan experiences. After years of looking like an unstoppable juggernaut, the NFL has seen both attendance and viewership issues recently. Obviously, offering cheaper fare won't smooth over the league's larger issues like player protests and head injuries, but it could help alleviate the “half-empty stadiums” stories that dogged the sport last year.

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