In a move that will likely be monitored by teams around the NFL, the 49ers have announced that starting in 2020, season-ticket holders will no longer have to pay for food and drinks at Levi's Stadium. Although fans won't have to pay for anything at the game, the food won't technically be free since the cost of the concessions will be included in the price of their season tickets.
The team has already announced that season-ticket prices will be increasing an average of 13 percent next season, so the free food will likely make that price increase a lot easier to digest. For instance, if you have a season-ticket package where a ticket to each game costs $100, your ticket will cost $113 next year, but by signing up for that increase, you'll be able to eat all the food you can handle at the stadium without paying a dime.
During an interview on CBS Sports HQ's "Reiter's Block" this week, 49ers president Al Guido explained that the team had been studying the free food idea for nearly two years before finally pulling the trigger.
"This was another way for us to think outside the box and do something ground-breaking, and we figured why just have all-inclusive food and beverage in the premium areas -- a lot of stadiums have those around the league -- let's do it to all 70,000 fans," Guido told Bill Reiter.
The free food in the season-ticket packages will include chicken tenders, hot dogs (beef and vegan), sausages, nachos (regular and loaded), fries (regular and garlic), pretzels, popcorn, peanuts and candies. The free beverages in the package will include Pepsi products, Aquafina water, Peet's coffee and hot chocolate. Unfortunately for 49ers fans, the package does not include free alcohol, so fans will still have to pay for their own booze. On the food end, the most noticeable item left off the list was probably hamburgers, which means fans will still have to pay at the stadium if they have a burger fix while the 49ers are playing.
Guido said the team became more enamored with the idea of including food in the ticket price after seeing the success Falcons owner Arthur Blank had when he cut prices at the concessions in Atlanta before.
"I give Arthur Blank a ton of credit at Mercedes-Benz Stadium with the Atlanta Falcons," Guido said. "Last year he rolled out street pricing, taking the concept that a hot dog should cost the same whether you buy it on the street or whether you buy it in a stadium. We're taking that a step further here. We're saying the value still exists, but taking out the pain point of maybe waiting in line for it and just being able to go up and grab it if you're a season-ticket member."
The 49ers' new plan might actually dissuade season-ticket members from selling their tickets, and that's because any ticket sold on the secondary market won't include the free concessions, according to The Athletic. Basically, the means if you buy your ticket on Stubhub, you'll still have to pay for all food and drinks at the stadium, even if you bought the ticket from a season-ticket holder.