Super Bowl sticker shock on concession prices: $17 beer, $12 hot dogs

INGLEWOOD, Calif. –  A 25-ounce can of Michelob Ultra is usually a pretty cheap beer to buy from a grocery retailer, costing $3 at Vons and $2.79 at Instacart.

But this is the Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium, where the same brand of beer costs $17 for the same-size can at Sunday’s game between the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals.

Other items at the concession stands on Super Bowl Sunday came with similar sticker shock:

►$12 for a jumbo hot dog

►$7 for a 20-ounce fountain soda

►And $55 for a small Los Angeles Rams T-shirt

What’s the deal with that?

Food and beverages at the Super Bowl are usually pretty pricey for at least a couple of reasons.

The stadium has a monopoly on the supply – no outside food or beverages are permitted.

And those who were lucky or wealthy enough to attend the game in person aren’t there to shop for beer bargains anyway. If they already paid thousands for tickets, a $17 beer isn’t even a speed bump between them and their wallets.

Super Bowl beverages at SoFi Stadium are not cheap.

“If you’re talking about a family experience, the NFL is not a family experience,” said Kent Davis, a Bengals fan who bought a can of Bud Light before the game for $13. “You can’t take a family to a game unless you’re wealthy.”

In this case, there’s also an added NFL wrinkle. The stadium’s concessionaire is Legends, a company co-founded and co-owned by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

Therefore it seems like a reasonable question to ask: How of much that $17 beer price is ending up in the pocket of Jerry Jones?

Legends didn’t return a message seeking comment. Neither did Anheuser-Busch, which owns the Michelob Ultra brand.

“The NFL charges exorbitant prices because it has a captive audience,” said Chris Hartweg, CEO and publisher of Team Marketing Report, which publishes sports marketing information. “So they decide to price-gouge.” 

SoFi Stadium had the most expensive hot dogs and beer in the NFL in 2021, according to Team Marketing Report’s NFL Fan Cost Index for 2021. The Rams and Los Angeles Chargers share SoFi Stadium and charged $8 for a hot dog and 92 cents per ounce for beer during the regular season, tied for most expensive in the NFL, according to the index.

That’s more than double the prices charged by the Atlanta Falcons, which offered $2 hot dogs and 42 cents per ounce of beer.

This is no accident.

Atlanta has “the lowest concession prices in the industry and also have extremely happy fans,” said Eric Anderson, marketing professor at Northwestern University. “When they hosted the Super Bowl (in 2019), they kept the same 'Fan First’ prices. The (Falcons’) owner, Arthur Blank, was instrumental in maintaining this pricing policy for all events – Super Bowl, Beyonce concert, tractor pull, etc.”

Kent Davis and his wife, Jenny, said they attended the Super Bowl there, too, and noticed those relatively cheap prices.

“Atlanta was wonderful,” said Jenny Davis, from Granville, Ohio.

She and her husband said they weren’t aware that the Cowboys owner co-owned the hospitality company that has a contract with SoFi Stadium. Jones and the New York Yankees founded the company in 2008 as they prepared to open their swanky new stadiums in 2009.

“I wish you hadn’t told me that,” Kent Davis said.

The details of Legend’s contract with SoFi Stadium were not available. But Anderson of Northwestern said the vendor typically has significant control over the menu, prices and staffing.

“There is obviously some input from the owner of the stadium, but control largely resides with the (food and beverage) vendor,” he said in an e-mail.

He cited a Northwestern study he supervised about the Falcons and said roughly half of the revenue from food and beverages is typically shared with the stadium owner. Labor and the cost of goods sold accounts for 48%, with about 3% attributed to the vendor’s commission or profit.

“So if a beer is $10, roughly $5 is going to the stadium as a revenue share,” Anderson said.

Other prices at Sunday’s game included $8 for a milkshake, $16 for a bacon cheeseburger and $6 for Lifewtr premium water.

“It’s too expensive,” Kent Davis said. “But you know, it’s part of the game.”

Follow reporter Brent Schrotenboer @Schrotenboer. E-mail: