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Charlotte Hornets to respond to a top fan concern: the price of food and drinks

The Charlotte Hornets will soon launch “fan-friendly” concession pricing through the team’s mobile app for the upcoming season at home games at the Spectrum Center. Prices on the six most popular concession items at the arena will be 35-45 percent lower than normal menu prices, the team said.
The Charlotte Hornets will soon launch “fan-friendly” concession pricing through the team’s mobile app for the upcoming season at home games at the Spectrum Center. Prices on the six most popular concession items at the arena will be 35-45 percent lower than normal menu prices, the team said.

Fans will soon notice that some food and drink items are cheaper at the Charlotte Hornets’ arena uptown.

On Monday, the team announced “fan-friendly” concession pricing through its mobile app for the upcoming season. Prices on the six most popular concession items at the arena will be 35-45 percent lower than normal menu prices for the Spectrum Center, the team said.

That means you can get pretzels for $3, hot dogs for $4, nachos for $4, popcorn for $6 and 22-oz. sodas for $3. A 12-ounce Bud Light beer will be $7, the Hornets said.

Only a handful of other professional teams have lowered prices on concessions.

The Atlanta Hawks, for instance, this summer announced cheaper food and drink options at the Phillips Arena. The new menu, the team said, includes price cuts of up to 50 percent, including $5 beer. The Hawks said they were inspired by the lower prices the Atlanta Falcons recently introduced at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Conversations with the Hornets’ concessionaire, Levy, began this summer soon after the Hawks announced their new pricing, said Pete Guelli, the Hornets’ chief marketing officer.

But the decision to lower prices on popular menu items ultimately came from feedback from fans, Guelli said. Lower food prices, along with the team’s performance, are what fans ask about most, he added.

“We’ve responded on both areas pretty aggressively,” Guelli said.

In Charlotte, the new prices will be available for the first time at the Spectrum Center at the Hornets’ preseason game Tuesday against the Miami Heat.

Fans using Express Ordering on the Hornets app will be able to pick up their orders at the six designated concession stands that have Express Pickup lines, the team said. Fans can also have their orders delivered to their seats, or pick up their food in the new “app zone” on the 200-level.

For now, the lower prices are only available at Hornets home games, and not non-NBA events at the Spectrum Center.

The rollout of lower prices available through the mobile app is the latest way the Hornets are moving to make the Spectrum Center completely mobile-friendly. Last season, the team launched a new iteration of its mobile app that lets fans order beer and nachos from their smartphones, and check real-time player stats from their seats.

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The app has been downloaded about 20,000 times over the last year, the team said, and it’s been upgraded to include offerings like live streaming of games and press conferences, and a “Queen City Bingo” game that awards prizes like game tickets and merchandise.

“As we continue to enhance our mobile strategy and refine the offerings on our app, we want to be sure we are providing features that benefit our fans and their experience at our games,” Hornets President and Vice Chairman Fred Whitfield said in a statement.

This season marks the 30th anniversary of the NBA in Charlotte. The Hornets have announced a number of ways the team is commemorating the anniversary, including with a number of “Classic Night” promotions at home games. On those nights, the team will wear white versions of the classic pinstripes-and-pleats uniforms from the NBA’s first decade in Charlotte. The team will also have a court painted similarly to the design from the mid-1990s at the old Charlotte Coliseum on Tyvola Road.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta



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