Following a trend in the sports industry, the Heat will test a limited number of “all-you-can-eat” seats at three games this month.
The seats, which cost $45 piece, are on the 400 level at AmericanAirlines Arena and come with a chance to pick up four items from a very narrow list of options – regular hot dog, regular nachos and cheese, small popcorn, peanuts, small soft drink and bottled water - on an unlimited number of trips to the concession stand. Fans are required to buy at least two tickets to qualify for the promotion.
Fans with season tickets in the designated area can get the food for an extra $10 per seat per game. The games are Dec. 13 versus the Washington Wizards, Dec. 17 versus the Minnesota Timberwolves and Dec. 20 against the New Jersey Nets.
The Heat is trying out the promotion earlier than anticipated. Team officials told me earlier this fall they were developing a food included ticket option for the 2008-09 season.
The Los Angeles Dodgers helped spawn the growth of tickets with food when they designated 3,000 bleacher seats as the All-You-Can-Eat Right Field Pavilion last season. The food included Dodger dogs, peanuts, popcorn and soft drinks and ran $20 for group tickets to $40. They sold 70 percent of capacity for the season and a half dozen other MLB teams have since added all-you-can-eat sections.
Meanwhile, the Panthers and Dolphins have created higher-end seating options that come with upscale food. The ADT Club at BankAtlantic Center offers fans who spend $7,500 to $9,000 a year, depending on the length of the contract, to get a seat and fancy food for every hockey game and every concert in the building for a minimum of 75 events. The idea is to create the exclusiviity of a suite, but at a more affordable price. A hockey-only option on the 400 level with sports bar style food averages $2,000 a season.
The Dolphins offer a couple of higher-end options with food, including 10-person suites in the east endzone of Dolphin Stadium that include food in a common area shared by three others suites, and run $80,000 a season.