Scott Ball / Rivard Report
Alamodome management and the San Antonio Commanders acknowledged this week that long concessions lines soured the fan experience at what was otherwise a successful debut for the franchise and the Alliance of American Football league.
Some fans reported on social media that they waited as long as 30 minutes for food and drinks at the game Saturday night. The City of San Antonio owns and operates the Alamodome, and Savor Black Tie holds the concessions contract.
In responding to some of those annoyed fans on social media, Alamodome management admitted it had “fumbled a bit.” But stadium and team officials anticipated improvements for Sunday’s 3 p.m. home game featuring San Antonio and the Orlando Apollos.
“The awesome crowd at Saturday’s inaugural AAF game exceeded everyone’s expectations, but unfortunately that also meant long lines for food and beverages,” Alamodome management said in a written statement. “We’ve directed our concessionaire to add more staff and stands for the next game. The Alamodome is thrilled to be the home of the AAF Commanders and is committed to creating an enjoyable experience for all fans.”
While the City keeps revenue from concessions and parking at the Alamodome, team President Vic Gregovits said Commanders officials are involved in meetings and decisions about concessions for games. He said even the team was surprised by the size of the first game’s announced attendance of 27,857.
The crowd witnessing the 15-6 victory was easily the largest of the four games on the league’s debut weekend. The AAF game in Orlando attracted 20,191 fans, while just 15,000 watched the league’s contest in Phoenix, according to AAF attendance figures.
Gregovits said approximately 3,000 fans bought tickets on the day of the game at the stadium despite rainy, cold weather. He said having a few thousand more people than expected in the building probably played at least a part in long wait times for concessions.
“We’ve talked about it and I know the folks here with the concessions company, as well as the Alamodome, are fully aware [of the issues],” Gregovits said. “We’ll make some tweaks and be ready for Sunday.”
The upper level of the stadium was closed for the opener and likely will remain closed until there is a demand for more seating. Fans were seated only in the lower bowl and in club seats and suites. Most concession stands on the plaza level were operating.
Albert Hurtado, who attended Saturday’s game, said in a Facebook post he used a strategy to avoid the lines that might not work for everyone. He walked upstairs.
“I was going up to the club level to use bathroom and buy concessions,” he wrote. “Lines downstairs were very long and running out of beer. Up the 50 stairs I went and was fine.”
For Sunday’s second game of the 10-game regular season, Gregovits suggested fans should purchase tickets ahead of time on the team’s website to avoid any delays at the ticket windows.
With temperatures expected to be closer to 70 degrees Sunday, Gregovits said the tailgating and pre-game festivities in the H-E-B Plaza on the north side of the stadium should be more enjoyable, too.
“All in all it was a good game – the first time out and people are learning their way,” Gregovits said. “We’ll continue to work on the game experience and make it better every time they come.”