Three weeks after the MCG announced it was reducing prices on several popular food items, including Four ‘n Twenty pies dropping from $4.80 to $4, rival Etihad Stadium has fought back, cutting theirs to $3.
The stadium is claiming it’s the cheapest footy ground pie in Australia and is introducing a range of measures in a bid to lure fans to games at the Docklands venue, including a trial of kick-to-kick after Sunday games in April and May, starting with the round 1 Easter Sunday match between St Kilda and GWS.
The move is a brave one, because despite the popularity with fans of a post-match muck around on the playing surface, the stadium’s turf is notoriously fickle.
The Docklands ground already lets in kids under 15 for free and now plans to hand out popcorn at half time, as well as offering $4 chips and $8 kids meals – a burger, chips and water.
The rules on bringing food into the ground have also been loosened for the 2015 AFL seasons and pots of beer are $5.
The venue is also installing 10 free water fountains.
The $460 million stadium, which opened in 2000, has struggled to draw AFL fans, with recent A-League soccer games attracting bigger crowds.
Last week at the club’s AGM, North Melbourne chairman James Brayshaw claimed the Kangaroos’ home-game deal at Etihad Stadium was the “worst stadium deal in the history of world sport”.
Etihad Stadium CEO Paul Sergeant hit back, saying the stadium forgave a $1.5 million debt owed by the Roos.
The average home crowd at Etihad Stadium for Norths was 27,479 last year. Melbourne Victory attracted crowds of up to 43,000 during the current season.
Sergeant said the stadium spent several months in discussions with the AFL to strike a deal to cut prices on food.
“It does need to be understood that Etihad Stadium is a private and commercially run business. We have big overheads including significant energy costs and loan repayments – we need revenue to meet these costs,” he said.
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