So UNLV football is in a bit of an enviable position. Their football program, while long-suffering, is perhaps beginning to show some signs of life after going outside the box to hire Tony Sanchez, a man with no prior collegiate coaching experience of any kind (but with strong high school connections).
The results on the field have not yet materialized, but progress has been seen and they’ve at least had their moments.
Now they’re going outside the box in another direction. Thanks to the Oakland Raiders officially getting all clearances to move and become the Las Vegas Raiders effective in 2020, their new $1.8 billion dollar stadium (cleverly known as Las Vegas Stadium) will become a replacement for Sam Boyd Stadium.
No offense to Boyd – the stadium had not yet hit its 50th birthday, and as such there are dozens of college football stadiums around the country that are much older and/or in much worse shape. UNLV didn’t need a brand new stadium.
However, it didn’t make much sense to keep using an old stadium when a second, much newer and nicer stadium was being built that is closer to your campus and would rarely be in use on the six days a year you would want it.
In that vein, the Rebels have now announced an “eat all you can” plan for their tickets as a way of boosting attendance for their two remaining seasons at Sam Boyd.
It’s quite simple; by adding this plan, you are allowed to go to the concessions stand as often as you want during the game, and on each trip, you are allowed to walk away with one each of a hot dog, soda, nachos and/or popcorn.
The fans benefit; they get essentially unlimited concessions (which is a cool thing to brag about) and don’t have to pay a whole lot more for it. Right now a three-game plan that would normally cost either $75 or $120 for just the ticket will only cost $79 or $129 with this option added. Heck, they even included the rivalry game against Nevada in this package.
The school benefits as well. They get to offer something really cool and flashy-sounding to their fans, without having to spend a lot more money.
“But Nick,” you say. “It’s unlimited concessions, how are they not losing money?”
Think about it. Most people, during the course of a football game, only make one or two trips to the concessions stand. They’re trying to balance out their desire to buy food and merchandise with their desire to watch the football game they paid to attend.
They also aren’t buying a ton of things when they do go to the stands unless they’re buying for a family.
Me personally, even with unlimited concessions at a football game that has bored me to tears, I’m unlikely to do more than two trips and one of everything before I’m so full I would explode (that’s two each of nachos, hot dogs, popcorn, and soda).
That would normally be about $30 to $50 worth of concessions depending on the stadium you are attending, which in this instance you’re getting for about $3 on the three-game plan.
The school is banking that the ~$40 per person per game they’ll lose in concessions revenue if people actually frequent concessions that much should be offset by the revenue that is generated by people buying tickets they would not have otherwise bought. You’d rather lose $100 in concessions revenue to a guy who spent $120 on three tickets than never get that $120 to begin with.
So the question then becomes, why is such creativity limited to UNLV? I can think of several stadiums whose concessions (both price and quality) are low enough that doing such a plan wouldn’t crush their revenue in the slightest, and they also could use a reason, any reason, to get folks in and help their flagging attendance.
Who knows how this will work, but I give much credit to Desiree Reed-Francois for at least having the guts to try something smart and different to see if she can boost attendance and interest before the Rebels move to a shiny new stadium.