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Friday, April 5, 2013
What would help game-day experiences?

By Paul Kuharsky

In a growing, ongoing attempt to keep the game-day experience at NFL stadiums more appealing than sitting home and watching it on TV, the league is installing cameras in locker rooms for video that will be shown exclusively on stadium scoreboards.

No team is going to allow anything remotely revealing about what’s unfolded or what will unfold, and they will have final say. Yes, fans are sure to like whatever glimpses behind the scenes they can get. As a piece of a stadium experience that’s getting a lot of add-ons, I have no objections.

But I do think there is one very easy, very obvious thing the NFL can prompt teams to do that would dramatically enhance game-day experiences in all 31 stadiums:

Lower concession prices.

Odds are if you have the money to pay for a ticket, you have the money to eat and drink at the game. Odds are also that when you hand over nine bucks for a beer you can get at the store for $3, you’re bitter about it, no matter how many of them you have had.

Paying for a seat at an NFL game also buys you the right to purchase some of the most overpriced food and drink you can find anywhere. It makes airports look like they use discount pricing.

Kudos to the Jaguars, who last year began allowing people to bring their own food into games.

It’s one of the fan-friendliest policies I can recall.

Highly overpriced concessions are the second biggest rip-off in all of professional sports, I believe, trailing only NFL preseason games being mandatory purchases for season-ticket holders.

You want people in the stadium instead of in front of their HD TVs? Well, the stuff in their fridge and pantries didn’t cost a ransom. And if the stuff on the concourse doesn’t either, that would be a huge upgrade in game-day happiness.

I’d venture a guess that the results of an unscientific poll like the one you’ll find here will lean heavily toward cheaper food over locker room video. (But feel free to give fans both.)

Put that on the list, NFL.

The top of the list.