CFP Title Game Per Cap Tops $50

Levy generates gross of $3.75 million for Clemson-Alabama at Levi's Stadium

  • by Don Muret
  • Published: January 9, 2019

Levy saluted the Clemson Tigers and fed their fans with Ginger Beef Tiger Sliders. (Courtesy Levy)

Levy generated a per cap exceeding $50 for food and drink sales at Monday night’s College Football Playoff National Championship, sources said. Clemson defeated Alabama 44-16 in the game, played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., before a crowd of 74,814.

Doing the math, the average fan spend resulted in Levy generating about $3.75 million in gross food and drink revenue, covering both general concessions and premium dining. Levy took over the food at Levi’s Stadium, home to the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, in 2018.

The game was held in near-perfect weather conditions in the Bay Area, and the number far exceeds the final two BCS title games before the CFP format launched for the 2014 college football season.

It fell short of the first CFP National Championship game in 2015, when Legends reported a $75.60 per cap at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. That number included the Championship Tailgate party staged in a parking lot outside the facility. Ohio State beat Oregon that year before a crowd of 85,689.

Per caps were not available for the past three CFP title games, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta; Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.; and State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., then known as University of Phoenix Stadium.

At this year’s event, Levy ran the Championship Tailgate tent outside Levi’s Stadium, but it’s unclear whether the per cap covered that piece of the operation. The big difference, though, is premium food service.

The markup is substantial for catering services, and the Cowboys’ stadium can’t be beat in terms of sheer numbers. It has 300 suites, compared with 176 suites at the 49ers’ facility.

For this season’s CFP semifinals — played at the Cotton Bowl game at AT&T Stadium and the Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. — food and drink revenue increased 25 percent over last year’s bowl games, according to officials from the food providers at those two facilities. The games were not host to College Football Playoff matchups last year.

At the Cotton Bowl, the stadium was half-full 90 minutes before kickoff of the Clemson-Notre Dame game, which helped drive Legends’ concessions sales. Suite revenue jumped 40 percent over the 2018 game between Ohio State and USC.

For the Orange Bowl, Centerplate’s concessions were up 30 percent over last year. Catering for private parties and all-inclusive club revenue was up about 13 percent and suite food/drink sales were up 9 percent. The marquee matchup between Alabama and Oklahoma, plus the 8 p.m. Saturday kickoff, drove the increases, officials said.

CFP_Bama_Slamma_200.jpgAlabama Slamma brisket sandwich. (Courtesy Levy)

In Santa Clara, Levy completed its first year of running the food service at Levi’s Stadium after replacing Centerplate, which had been in place since the building opened in August 2014. For Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium, Centerplate posted a food/drink per cap of $87.57.

For this year’s CFP title game, concession prices for alcohol were $12 for bottled domestic beer, $14 for premium drafts, $14 for wine and mixed drinks and $16 for cocktails on tap. Four years ago at the first CFP national championship game, bottled beer cost $9, wine was $8 and mixed drinks ran $10 to $12.

For high-profile events such as the CFP and Super Bowl, concessionaires typically increase prices with approval from the events’ governing bodies. At Levi’s Stadium, prices went up slightly for alcohol items and remained stable for food for Clemson-Alabama, officials said. School-themed specials, including the Alabama Slamma brisket sandwich and the Ginger Beef Tiger Sliders, both cost $15. Levy’s team, led by senior executive chef Jon Severson, created those customized dishes for the CFP title game.

  • by Don Muret
  • Published: January 9, 2019