Alamodome Pleased With Per Cap

San Antonio Final Four produces $18.56 per person for food and drink

  • by Don Muret
  • Published: April 11, 2018

Shifting the primary merchandise sales area off the concourse and outside the arena "was a key move for us," Alamodome General Manager Nick Langella said. (Courtesy Alamodome)

The NCAA Final Four generated a per cap of $18.56 for food and drink at the Alamodome. It’s a solid number considering that the NCAA prohibits alcohol sales in public spaces at the event, its men’s basketball championship, said Nick Langella, the stadium’s general manager.

Total sales were $2.5 million for the semifinals March 31 and the April 2 title game, which drew a combined crowd of about 136,000 in San Antonio, Langella said. Savor, an SMG subsidiary, runs the food at the dome.

“We’re very pleased with the numbers,” Langella said. “It’s not the biggest we’ve done, but considering we’re within walking distance of downtown and a lot of people spent time [eating and drinking] on the Riverwalk, they’re good numbers.”

The Alamodome’s record for food and drink sales is $2.8 million, established during a George Strait concert in 2013 that drew a crowd of 73,000, he said.

Figures for Final Four per caps are not always made available, but the 2018 event in San Antonio falls in line with available numbers from recent years. For example, the 2013 Final Four in Atlanta resulted in a $21.50 per cap at the old Georgia Dome, where Levy ran the food operation.

The dome’s $60-million renovation leading up to Final Four helped generate revenue by providing more space to install permanent concession stands and portable carts. The main concourse is now 20 feet wider than the original layout and the outdoor plazas have been expanded by 100,000 square feet, which enabled Savor to increase points of sale inside and outside the facility, he said.

Final Four merchandise sales were $1.2 million. Dome officials, working with the NCAA and River City Merchandising, the venue’s retail provider, set up a 30,000-square-foot tent outside the building to handle most of the merchandise transactions.

“We specifically moved merchandise off the concourse because it creates a stumbling block [with crowd congestion],” Langella said. “It’s a longer sales process because people spend more time making their selection with apparel. It was a key move for us.”

Overall, San Antonio’s presentation for the Final Four got a thumbs-up from both fans and event officials, according to Langella. The Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center played host to the Final Four Fan Fest, and the March Madness Music Festival drew capacity crowds of 25,000 over three days of concerts at Hemisfair Park.

This was the fourth time the Alamodome has had the Final Four in the past 20 years. The 25-year-old building stands out for securing the 2018 event against much newer stadiums, and there’s been speculation in the media over whether the dome will get another Final Four, in part because of fewer suites and other amenities.

“All along, the NCAA has been telling us, ‘Let’s see how it goes.’ In our opinion, the facilities performed tremendously,” Langella said. “We’re already bidding on the next level [beyond sites selected through 2022]. I would be amazed if they don’t come back.”

  • by Don Muret
  • Published: April 11, 2018