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Mets’ $600 Million Citi Field Lowers Beer Prices, Sells Lobster

March 31 (Bloomberg) -- If the New York Mets stage another late-season collapse, fans won’t have to spend as much to drink away their sorrows at the new baseball stadium.

The $600 million Citi Field in Flushing Meadows, Queens, where the Mets will play their first regular-season home game on April 13, will serve a 12-ounce can of Budweiser for $6. That’s a 20 percent drop from the $7.50 charged at Shea Stadium, the old ballpark, according to a team handout.

The New York Yankees, who are moving into a new park this month, will also serve a $6 beer, and keep “traditional stadium fare” at 2008 levels.

The price cuts come as part of a larger effort to increase concession sales while U.S. consumers pare their spending amid the recession. The Mets seek to lure hungry spenders by cutting not just prices, but wait times as well, and offering high-end food at reasonable markups.

“We’re mindful of where we are in terms of the economic situation and we’ve tried to be judicious in setting our concession prices,” said David Howard, the Mets executive vice president of business operations.

Lobster rolls will cost $17 -- less than the $20 to $30 that city restaurants regularly demand for the New England specialty. The dish will be sold at “Catch of the Day,” a fish shack overseen by David Pasternack, the seafood chef who owns Esca in Manhattan’s theater district with Mario Batali.

No Lines

Drew Nieporent, an owner of Nobu and president of the Myriad Restaurant Group, will consult on the Acela Club restaurant in left field. He said he’ll charge $48 for a prix- fixe meal, which is less than a typical diner will spend at his Tribeca Grill, the American restaurant after which Acela is modeled.

Nieporent, who called himself an avid Mets fan at a Citi Field press conference today, said his mission is that there be “no lines” at the Acela Club, which will have 350 seats.

Hamburgers at the Citi Field branch of Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack, located in the outfield of the stadium, will cost $5.75. That’s just a dollar more than at the Manhattan locations of Shake Shack, and 21 percent less than the 2008 Shea Stadium price of $7.25 for a burger.

If lower prices mean more customers, the stadium’s Shake Shack will also have to combat long lines. Its Manhattan locations in Madison Square Park and on the Upper West Side regularly draw 60-minute queues.

Cheaper Popcorn

“We shouldn’t have to challenge people to spend their money,” said Howard, who said extended waits were an impediment to increasing sales at Shea Stadium.

He said wait times will be reduced by modern kitchen infrastructure and a high point-of-sale ratio -- an industry term for the number of places customers can order food. That number is 1 per 150 guests -- a 41 percent increase over Shea Stadium, according to the Mets’ Web Site.

“We’re very confident that the service will be prompt and people will not stand on line very long,” Howard said. “Waiting in line for an inning or so for food is just not acceptable.”

Other price drops at Citi Field include popcorn, which was lowered 15 percent from its 2008 price to $4.25; knishes, down 29 percent to $3.75. A bottle of Aquafina water is down 50 cents to $3.75; Pepsi is down 25 cents to $4.75.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ryan Sutton in New York at rsutton1@bloomberg.net.