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The Economy of Food at Sporting Events

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The editors at Sports Management Degrees decided to research the topic of:

The Economy of Food at Sporting Events

Staples such as hot dogs, peanuts, and beer can still be found at Sporting Events, right along side lobster rolls and corn beef sandwiches - all for a steep price! With stadium fees and the team's take of the profits, the high price of concession stand food at sporting events is the product of complicated negotiations.

Two-thirds or more of a facility's total concessions revenues come from hot dogs, peanuts and other ballpark staples.

Drinks almost always have very high profit margins (in excess of 90%)

Hot Dogs Stats

What one ballpark food can you not live without (2008 info)?
- 63: percentage of fans that said hot dogs
- 18: percentage of fans that said peanuts
- 19: percentage of fans that said pizza, cotton candy, and cracker jacks

80: percentage of fans that have eaten a hot dog at a sporting even in the past year, or will eat one at a sporting event this year.


- 20,421,361: projected sale of hot dogs at Major League ballparks in the US in 2013
- 28,113: number of times the amount of hot dogs consumed would round the bases
- 361: number of home games it would take for all 56,000 fans at Dodger Stadium (MLB's largest stadium) to eat 20,421,361 hot dogs

There is only one major league ballpark that sells more sausages than it does hot dogs - Miller Park in Milwaukee, WI.5


- 150: average number of hot dogs a baseball vendor sells per game
- 10-12: thousand hot dogs - number of hot dogs a baseball vendor sells per season.6
- 40: pounds, approximate weight of a vendor's hot dog bin, fully loaded
- 4-5: miles, average distance vendors walk per game up and down stairs carrying their bin - they work on commission and tips, so they move fast

Signature Dishes and Brands

Detroit's Comerica Park


- Coney Dog smothered in chili and cheese from Leo's Coney Island
- Kielbasa with peppers and onions from the Kowalski Sausage Company
- Little Caesar's pizza

Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.


- Ben's Chili Bowl

Great American Ballpark


- Montgomery Inn pulled pork sandwich

Phillies' ballpark in Philadelphia


- Two local cheesesteak restaurants

Rogers Centre


- Gyros and souvlaki

Fenway Park


- Lobster rolls
- Clam chowder
- Cuban sandwiches
- Turkey BLTs

Tropicana Field


- "Chipsticks" (potato chips cooked on a wooden skewer)

Kaufman Stadium


- "Espinaca and chips" (chips with spinach dip)

US Cellular Field


- Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
- Corned beef sandwiches

Oriel Park at Camden Yards


- Rockfish tacos
- Bacon on a stick (everything's better on a stick)
- Crab cake burgers (crab cake on top of beef patty)

HEALTH ISSUES AT SPORTS ARENAS AND STADIUMS (2009)

There are 107 North American arenas and stadiums that are home to Major League Baseball, National Football League, National Hockey League and National Basketball Association teams in 2009.


- 28: percentage (30 out of 107) of arenas/stadiums with more than half of the concession stands or restaurants cited for at least one "critical" or "major" health violation.

CONCESSIONS - BIG BUSINESS (2009 data)


- $26 million: two-year contract to provide concessions at the University of Phoenix Stadium.
- $13 million: annual concession sales at the University of Phoenix Stadium
- $5.8 million: profit promised back to the Arizona Cardinals, Fiesta Bowl, and the Arizona Sports & Tourism Authority combined

Sample Concessions Product Profit Margins


- 47-64: percentage profit margin on nachos
- 62-81: percentage profit margin on hot dogs
- 69-75: percentage profit margin on pizza
- 82-87: percentage profit margin on a small popcorn
- 88-92: percentage profit margin on a large popcorn
- 92-97: percentage profit margin on snow cones

Overall, the Team controls all brands offered at their venue, often directed by the results of fan surveys.

Average cost of attending an NFL game (family of four)

Fan Cost Index (FCI) - 2012


- FCI: $443.93
- (Sample of expenses that make up the FCI)
- Ticket: $78.38 (x 4) (single ticket in New York Giants in 2012 costs $ 464.75)
- Beer: $7.28 (x 2)(Most expensive - San Diego's Qualcomm Stdm Buffalo's Ralph Wilson Stdm at $9)
- Soft Drink: $4.57 (x 4)
- Hot Dog: $4.84 (x4)

Lowest FCI: Jacksonville Jaguars = $342.70

Highest FCI: Dallas Cowboys = $634.78

Average cost of attending an MLB game (family of four)


- Fan Cost Index (FCI) - 2012
- FCI: $207.68
- (Sample of expenses that make up the FCI)
- Ticket: $26.98 (x 4)
- Beer: $6.10 (x 2)
- Soft Drink: $3.71 (x 4)
- Hot Dog: $4.13 (x4)

Lowest FCI: Arizona Diamond Backs = $145.94

Highest FCI: Boston Red Sox = $336.99

13 of the 30 MLB franchises offered all-you-can-eat seating sections for all or part of the 2008 season.

Average cost of attending an NBA game (family of four)


- Fan Cost Index (FCI) - 2010
- FCI: $301.06
- (Sample of expenses that make up the FCI)
- Ticket: $48.48 (x 4)
- Beer: $6.96 (x 2)
- Soft Drink: $3.95 (x 4)
- Hot Dog: $4.50 (x4)

Lowest FCI: Memphis Grizzlies = $192.80

Highest FCI: New York Knicks = $608.78

Average cost of attending an NHL game (family of four)


- Fan Cost Index (FCI) - 2013
- FCI: $354.82
- (Sample of expenses that make up the FCI)
- Ticket: $61.01 (x 4)
- Beer: $7.07(x 2)
- Soft Drink: $4.06 (x 4)
- Hot Dog: $4.48 (x4)

Lowest FCI: Phoenix Coyotes = $253.30

Highest FCI: Toronto Maple Leafs = $631.13



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