Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack

I think the key bit in this story about the Astros’ policy forbidding fans from bringing their own food into the stadium is this:

Most MLB teams list their policies on outside food and drink on their Web sites. Details generally can be found by clicking on the “A to Z Guide” under the stadium tab.

As for the Astros, Pam Gardner, the team’s president for business operations, said the team has opted to provide less expensive tickets rather than following suit with other teams regarding food and beverage rules.

“Our financial model, dating back to the Astrodome, was dependent on a number of revenue areas, including food and beverage,” Gardner said in an e-mail. “We elected to make our appeal to fans in the form of a $7 (for adults) and $1 ticket (for children) every day. I don’t think you will find many teams offering a $1 ticket.”

Indeed, only the Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers advertise seats for a buck each. (The Brewers call them “Uecker Seats” in honor of broadcaster Bob Uecker, who made several bucks bragging for assorted commercials about his seat locations.)

The Colorado Rockies advertise their cheapest tickets at $4 each, and the bottom price for Nationals, Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals games is $5.

That’s a perfectly sound business model, and if you care more about the game than the grub you can do quite well. You’re not really saving any money by supplying your own snacks if those seats cost you an arm and a leg. I’ve always considered the concession stand to be a key part of the stadium experience, and so it seems to be for the fans quoted in the story. Ken Hoffman, a man who knows his stadium food, agrees. What do you think?

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3 Responses to Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack

  1. Valerie says:

    Yeah, except according the the Press ( and others, despite offering those super cheap tickets, prices at Minute Maid are still higher than average for an MLB game.

    My problem is the quality of the food as much as the price. More times than not, the hot dog buns are stale and hard. The french fries taste like the grease they were fried in was a week old. And if you buy the cheaper seats (I prefer view deck 1 seats myself), you have to venture down to the lower levels to get the better food offerings.

    And don’t get me started about paying $8 for a Shiner …

  2. Michael Hurta says:

    It didn’t bother me before the article, but it bothers me that my fellow baseball fans in other cities can bring food into their games and we can’t. I think we’re fine with it because we are used to it; it’s part of our baseball culture here, but still.

    While I love the idea of getting a hot dog at the game, I don’t want to do that if I am going multiple games in a row. On top of that, the idea of bringing a picnic to a baseball game just sounds more…happy summer-ish, which is what baseball should be beyond anything else.

    One of my friends not from Houston was complaining that Minute Maid Park doesn’t have that BASEBALL Feel. I didn’t know what he was talking about, but I’ve been used to the culture of the Astrodome and Minute Maid. He was talking about the overall atmosphere — that it didn’t seem like your traditional ball park so much as a stadium or just a basic entertainment venue. Maybe allowing fans to bring their own food would help that.

  3. John Royal says:

    If it’s such a sound business model, you would think the other 29 MLB teams would be following it. But EVERY OTHER team in the majors allows fans to bring food and drinks into the stadium, and it doesn’t seem to be affecting their profits any. This is just another of the many thousands of instances of Drayton not knowing what he’s talking about when it come to baseball.

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