By Ken Roberts
Tuscaloosa News City Editor
Fans can look forward to lower prices at Bryant-Denny Stadium concession stands, according to the University of Alabama’s athletics department.
Beginning with Saturday’s home opener against Arkansas State, bottled water will cost $3 and pretzels, hot dogs and soft drinks will each cost $4. Last season, those prices were $1 to $2 higher.
The move, announced Friday on UA athletics’ social media sites, follows a trend that began last season in the NFL. The Atlanta Falcons cut food and beverage prices for its first season in Mercedes-Benz Stadium and saw sales rise. A quick Google search shows that the University of Texas, Mississippi State University and the University of Mississippi have also announced plans to reduce prices at concession stands this season.
The price cut announcement was the last item in UA’s “18 in 18” campaign, designed to raise awareness about improvements made to the fan experience at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Beginning Aug. 21, the UA athletics department announced one enhancement per day on its Twitter and Facebook pages.
The enhancements range from upgraded safety measures to improved cellphone reception inside the stadium. Of course food is featured prominently in the enhancements, with new items available, including script “A” branded turkey legs and chicken sandwiches from a certain restaurant that prominently features cows in its ads.
Here’s a run-down of the other enhancements announced earlier by UA:
• Levy and its retail subsidiary, Rank + Rally, will now serve as UA’s hospitality and merchandise partner and will revamp several aspects of the in-venue guest experience. Concession stand enhancements, grab-n-go markets and portable dining options along the Walk of Champions are just a few of the upgrades fans can look forward to on game days.
• Students can also look forward to added concession options in their sections, such as Dippin’ Dots, frozen lemonade, nachos, pretzels and funnel cake.
• Security measures have been enhanced with the addition of walk-through metal detectors. UA says the detectors will be installed at all gates entering Bryant-Denny Stadium. In order to help the flow of fans’ entry, UA will use more metal detectors than recommended and gates will open earlier, two and a half hours before kickoff. More information is available at www.rolltide.com/safe.
• Bryant-Denny Stadium facilities staff will incorporate customer service cards for cleaning and maintenance. If patrons have questions regarding the stadium, staff can provide a wallet-sized informational card directing them to the game-day hotline number for answers.
• Each game will feature a new commemorative stadium cup, which can be purchased at concession stands throughout the stadium.
• More than 550 event staff workers will be available to answer any game-day questions at the stadium.
• Go Green, Go Bama, is a new recycling initiative with the goal of reducing waste on game days. UA will provide tailgaters on the Quad with specially marked recycling bags as well as recycling receptacles around campus. Fans are encouraged to recycle all aluminum cans, plastic bottles, paper items and cardboard.
• Alabama Athletics officially launched the Crimson Tide Access program, formerly known as the Experience program. Through Crimson Tide Access, fans can purchase game-day experience upgrades and behind-the-scenes passes for the entire season. Offers include Friday morning locker room tours, passes to park at Coleman Coliseum and pregame sideline access.
• Beginning this season, the Southeastern Conference has implemented a television timeout clock to provide fans a look at exactly how much time is left in the break before the game resumes.
• The Crimson Crave food truck is coming to the Walk of Champions outside the stadium. The food truck will feature items such as an Alabama-branded turkey leg, High Tide Shrimp and Dreamland smoked chicken nachos.
• The Crimson Tide Sports Network has expanded to 75 radio stations, making it the largest such network in the country. Fans from Atlanta to Honolulu and many cities in between will be able to listen to UA football games.
• Former Alabama football players John Parker Wilson and Rashad Johnson will join the Crimson Tide Radio Network, with Wilson serving in the booth alongside Eli Gold and Johnson on the sidelines. Chris Stewart also remains a member of the team as broadcast host.
• Twenty new ticket scanners have been added to help fans get into the stadium quicker.
• AT&T and Verizon customers will now have better coverage inside and outside the stadium. The entire infrastructure was replaced and will now utilize 5G technology.
• Ticket transfer fees have been waived for all Alabama Crimson Tide ticketed sports. This makes it easier than ever to instantly give your tickets to friends and family all the way up until game time via print-at-home delivery.
• UA will send out a Football Game Week email that will contain everything fans need to know including the day’s schedule, ticket information, upgrading the game-day experience and more.
• Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches will now be available for purchase inside the stadium.
More information about all of these enhancements is available at www.rolltide.com.