Other teams have tried it, so the Falcons have decided to charge for a thing that used to be free.
The team announced that their Sunday, July 29 practice would be held at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and that tickets for the camp practice would be $5.
They said in their release the proceeds would go to the “Atlanta Super Bowl host committee’s capital improvement project,” whatever that is. The Falcons’ release touts the availability to sample “its award-winning food and beverage experience,” (i.e. buy some consumable stuff) as well as other entertainment beyond a football practice.
Last year, the Panthers started charging for their Fan Fest practice (also $5 per ticket, and they said they were donating the proceeds to the team’s charitable foundation). The Buccaneers are limiting access to their camp, trying to use it as bait to get fans to buy season-ticket packages.
In the past, teams who charged for such practices opened the door for opposing scouts to sit in the crowd and take notes, but the league changed that policy in 2014. So now it’s not an issue of competitive advantage, it’s just about the money, and how teams can pry more of it from their fans.