Aug
18

deMause: No outside food at the new ballpark?

By

I’ll let Neil do the talking, via metroblog:

It says something about how the Yankees’ season is going that the biggest excitement at the stadium came when the team tried to ban fans from bringing sunscreen through the gates. Anyone who complained was pointed to the concession stands, which offered tiny one-ounce tubes for a whopping $5.

The club ultimately backed off, but the kerfuffle could foreshadow a bigger battle to come. Currently, neither the Mets nor Yanks restrict fans from bringing outside food or drink (aside from alcohol) into their ballparks. While the Mets say this won’t change next year, Yankees management has repeatedly ducked the question.

Why next year? Because that’s when the Yankees open their new stadium, with its 100-foot-wide “Great Hall” that will be jam-packed with places to stuff your face at ballpark prices. This, more than anything, is why the Steinbrenners demanded (and got) two city parks to create space for their new baseball palace, and it defeats the purpose if fans turn up their nose at ballpark food in favor of takeout pastrami sandwiches from the Court Deli up the block…

This may seem like trivial stuff, but it could end up deciding whether many New Yorkers are priced out of attending ballgames. Both the Yanks and Mets, after all, have already built new stadiums with thousands less seats than their old ones, figuring that the resulting ticket scarcity will allow them to sell fewer seats at higher prices than the old ones.

As deMause notes, there is a certain level of historical precedent for a potential decision involving stadium food. The Pirates and Eagles have both tried, unsuccessfully and with much fan opposition, to ban outside food inside their respective stadiums. deMause also chides the city for falling, in its stadium lease agreement, to force the Yankees to allow outside food in, but that point is moot.

This is, on its surface, a very basic populist issue with deep economics overtones. The Yankees will want their patrons to spend reams of money inside the stadium, and the easiest way to do that is through artificially-inflated food prices. As with any ticketed event, Yankee fans are a captive audience. When the vendors sell water for $4.75 and beer for $9, fans can’t go to the stadium down the street to price-shop. They’re stuck with whatever they can get once they fork over their tickets at the gate.

By allowing food in, teams are undermining their potential revenue streams, but they’re also acknowledging tacitly that happy fans are better fans. I’d rather order a pastrami sandwich from any number of New York City delis than eat a lukewarm and wilted boiled hot dog for $5. I’d rather bring in my $1.25 20-ounce water than pay out of the nose for a bottle. The Yankees would rather reap ridiculous profits on their concessions.

This issue — which will come to a head (or not) early next year — will pit the fans against the team. Fans won’t be happy if they can’t bring in food, and they’re continue to see the cost — beyond just the ticket value — of going to a Yankee game skyrocket beyond the level of affordability. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Yanks opt to pursue this route. I hope I’m wrong.

Categories : Yankee Stadium
  • pat

    this is going to go over as well as the proverbial fart in church

  • kunaldo

    cant you just eat before you enter the stadium? granted, you may go 4 hours w/o food, but you can survive…

  • http://2009 Haggs

    Plus, no one will know about this rule (or pretend not to), and the Stadium will be confiscating people’s food and doing what with it besides throwing it away?

    Throwing away lots of food never goes over very well with the public.

    (I’m now picturing a fat security guard – like Chris Farley in Billy Madison – hiding in a corner of the stadium with 35,000 sandwiches.)

    • barry

      Haha priceless.

  • Pinko

    “The Yankees would rather reap ridiculous profits on their concessions”

    Uh…why wouldn’t they? It’s called free enterprise capitalism. Your choice is to stay away and avoid paying through the nose for refreshments. Either watch on TV or find something else to do with your spare time. Since when did we come to expect anything else from corporate America?

    • ceciguante

      savvy free enterprise capitalism takes into account questions like: is the company alienating its customer base? the yanks have never been very smart about this stuff — see the sunscreen debacle — but at least they reversed course on that one.

      there will come a day when the yanks aren’t selling out every tuesday night game against the royals. even the yanks seemingly endless fanbase has its limits. whoever said ‘don’t bite the hand that feeds you’ nailed it.

  • radnom

    This isn’t going to work. They have to let people bring food in. Honestly, idiots are still going to spend gobs of money there. Anyone who thinks ahead enough to bring food to the stadium would probably just eat before hand if its banned. I was at a game recently and saw people buying $8.50 miller light like it was gold. They don’t need to try this.

  • Brandon M

    You could eat before the game or get something to eat after, but what if u get thirsty sitting under that hot BX sun? I live in the Bronx, a few train stops away from the stadium and I know people in the area might not be able to shell out 5 bucks for a bottle of water. I know i wouldn’t want to. The Yankees are a team i grew up watching and loving but I wouldn’t be surprised if this happened. It’s just a shame the fans are getting pushed tot he side for profit.

  • rbizzler

    My experience is that it is only the vast minority of people who bring food into any stadium or park. Most people don’t even know that you are allowed to do so. When I break out food at Nats Park (I live in DC), most of my friends make sure to unnecessarily alert me if a security guard is nearby, thinking that I am breaking some rule.

    Most of the people who bring in food are regulars/season ticket holders trying to keep costs down and still attend a decent amount of games. This type of ban will do little to increase the Yankees revenues (regulars will consider other options) and families will be further discouraged from coming out to the ‘yard.

    Beware of biting the hand that feeds you (bad pun), and recruiting fair weather, monied fans in droves.

  • EricL

    This is commonplace in many sports. Try taking in food to a hockey game – not going to work. If you really want to bring food in, you can sneak it in, but inflated prices at a ballgame are the norm…..

  • steve (different one)

    it’s funny for people to complain about this on one hand, but on the other hand contunually BLAST the yankees for not trading a young, cost controlled pitcher for Johan Santana and ink him to the highest contract in history for a pitcher.

    or sit here and say the Yankees better sign CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira or Cashman should be fired.

    not that i don’t agree that banning outside food would suck and seems like a slap in the face to the fans. i do.

    just think it’s interesting. salaries for athletes are through the roof. if you want star players, you have to pay for them somehow. that means through increasing revenues or by growing the players yourself.

    yet we sit and complain when they try to do either.

    • steve (different one)

      and i didn’t mean to imply that the authors of this site are guilty of this.

    • 27 this year

      We complain about this because it is directly our money getting lost not Stein’s.

      • Old Ranger

        Ether way…it is our money. Just think of how they get the money to pay the players, stadium, MiL, etc. TV, advertisements, fans etc., all payed for by the people…one way or another. 27/09?

  • Manimal

    A drink, hotdogs and the saltiest peanuts in the world. Thats all I need.

    • 27 this year

      As a joke, you do realize the saltiest peanuts cause you to drink more fluids which you would have to buy. Why do you think everything is always so salty?

  • UNION YES.

    I was at the game last Friday and bought a 9 dollar heineken. I saw it almost as a donation. Maybe those dollars can help land CC. Half-kidding..

    P.S. Anyone notice that the bag of bazzinis nuts got a whole lot smaller?

    • http://www.workwithpete.com Pete

      Yeah, and for some odd reason the folks at the Stadium felt like the new container of Cracker Jack had to resemble a Wheaties box. This was from a few years back, mind you…

      Do I really need that much Cracker Jack?

      • Ed

        At least they’re not selling large boxes of Crunch’n’Munch anymore. “Crunch’n’Munch, get your Crunch’n’Munch!” just doesn’t sound right.

        • http://www.workwithpete.com Pete

          Ah yes, they tried to swap CJ out with Crunch & Munch a while back as well. I’m guessing there was a huge outcry. ;-)

  • UNION YES.

    conspiracy!

  • Old Ranger

    Anyone know the splits on Brett Gardner, Left/right handers?
    Going from memory, I thought he hit well against leftys as well. 27/09?