FOOTBALL fans will be able to enjoy the cheapest food and drinks in more than a decade this season after the MCG slashed its prices by up to 40 per cent.
The MCC and its hospitality partner Epicure will take a annual financial hit of $2 million to give spectators better priced food and beverages in an agreement that will extend for at least the next seven years.
And pressure is now on Etihad Stadium managers to follow suit.
AFL chief Gillon McLachlan he was "quietly optimistic" food prices would also be cut at the Docklands ground.
"We've been meeting with Etihad as well. They understand the agenda that we've set and we've been talking to them many times," McLachlan said.
"So I'm optimistic, but we'll keep talking to them.
"Certainly we've been having some pretty direct dialogue with them (Etihad). This is a big statement by the MCG today and hopefully we'll have an announcement out of Etihad, but we'll keep talking to them."
Favourites such as the meat pie will now be priced at $4, down from $4.80, while hot dogs will be $4, down from $6.50 - the biggest price cut from the food menu.
Bottled water has fallen from $5 to $3, which is the cheapest it has been since 2001.
Other family favourites such as hot chips and soft drinks have also fallen, as well as healthier options like salad and sushi.
Food sizes will remain the same despite the drastic price change.
MCC CEO Stephen Gough said the stadium's prices would be unrivalled around the world, with the possible exception of Augusta National Golf Course in America.
"I do think it will be the cheapest in these areas by a long way," Gough said on Monday morning.
"What other stadiums do is not my business, what AFL and cricket do with those stadiums is not my business, but clearly I would say we'd be a leader by a long way."
A spokesman for Etihad Stadium said chief executive Paul Sergeant was expected to make a public announcement about his venue's plans before the start of the AFL season.
Given the magnitude of the MCG's discounts, it's unlikely the privately-owned Docklands venue will be able to offer such a cut.
However, Etihad Stadium has already indicated it will lift the ban that prevented spectators bringing in commercially prepared food from outside the venue after it was trialled last year.
The investment in the aspect of the fan experience will cost the MCC and Epicure $14m over the next seven years.
If sales stay the same as they have been in the past, both parties look set to lose $2m from the bottom line each year to sustain the prices.
But Gough said it was a "sound investment".
"If we can do something that does make difference without compromising our ability to upgrade the MCG and service the debt, we're delighted to do it," he said.
"This is a major impact and we don't need market research to tell us - we know what fans think about coming to the MCG, it's mostly very positive."
Alcohol prices are set to stay the same with discounts on such drinks not a priority, although a "beer tray" will now be free and not set spectators back $1 as it did in the past.
"We focused our attention here on the family and the fans there so alcohol wasn't a part of those considerations," Gough said.
NEW MCG FOOD PRICES
Hot chips $4; were $5.60
Four'N Twenty pie $4; was $4.80
Hot dog $4; was $6.50
Chicken schnitzel burger $7.50; was $10
Soft drink (600ml) $4, was $5
Bottled water $3, was $5
Sushi $5, was $6.80
Salad $8, was $11.50