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A football stadium just made major headlines with normally priced food. Could a ski resort?

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In Atlanta, Georgia sits a stadium. The new-fangled kind that have the foresight to realize that a retractable roofs not only keeps patrons dry during the rain but keeps revenues flowing by hosting indoor events.

Built mainly for football, sorta for soccer, the construction costs will reach nearly a half-billion dollars by the time the last weld cools.

But for all that cash, a $2 hot dog seems to be getting them the most headlines.

Because when patrons attend an Atlanta Falcon’s game this fall, they won’t have to pay $10 for a burger or $5 for a pretzel or $5 for a Coke.

They won’t be free, but they will at least be somewhat normal.

Looking closer we’ll find a quote hidden in the full press conference that I’m sure most fans gloss over but I think is where the lesson may start for skiing.

“Our fans have frustration at times over food and food pricing and the like, so we tried to figure out how we could come up with a different financial model and a different operating model. And then Arthur gave us the blessing and the direction to accomplish it.”

That’s sounds normal enough, but there are a handful of assumptions to this soundbite from Falcon GM, Rick McKay.

  1. They are in the business of sports experiences, but their customers were having a less-than-ideal experience because of the food they sold at those events.
  2. The way things have been done for a long time left their hands tied in terms of doing something about it. Fixing required a totally new model in terms of kitchen space, points of sale, etc.
  3. It wasn’t easy and it didn’t just happen, it took a lot of hard work and creativity to make it work within the business model of live sports.
  4. To make it happen they had to have full support from higher ups.


There are many reasons ski resorts change $10 for a bowl of chili and $15 for a hamburger, but they wanted to improve the experience. They wanted to better compete with alternatives, they wanted to get more families out, and so they did something about it.

Those goals should not sound foreign.

Two Things
I think this stadium reminds us of two things: opportunity and competition.

On the one hand it’s a reminder that making waves in terms of both PR as well as new business models in a challenging industry can be as simple as how much we charge for food. It doesn’t always require a $100,000,000 investment, it could be solved by applying some hard work and creativity to a decades-old model.

But it’s also a reminder of who our competition is. Because we don’t just compete against other ski areas, we compete against XBOX, against sitcoms, against laziness, against gas prices, against ACLs weakened by desk jobs, against beach vacations, against social media, against cell phones, against kids who aren’t used to being cold, against city league soccer, and, yes, against spectator sports like the NFL.

Just because the resort down the road isn’t the ones charging $2.50 for a bowl of chili doesn’t mean your competition hasn’t.

Food for thought.

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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