Fans of the Minnesota Twins, Pittsburgh Pirates, Houston Astros, Baltimore Orioles, Atlanta Braves and other major league baseball teams can have their game and eat it too. For a few bucks extra on designated nights, ticket holders can head over to the ball park or stadium and stuff their faces with as much concession food as they like. Thanks to some creative marketing, these baseball franchises are finding new ways to attract fans to the ball park during lean economic times.
Major league baseball attendance is down 6 percent this year and franchise owners are desperately looking for a way to lure fans back to the fold. Although lowering ticket prices would be a start, they went in the other direction instead, raising prices but throwing in the attractive offer of all-you-can-eat junk food.
In the Metrodome, where the Minnesota Twins play, two sections have been turned into “all you can eat”seats on ten Tuesday nights this season. For an extra $12, fans have 3 ½ hours to eat as much as they like during the game, with their choice of gourmet ballpark offerings such as hot dogs, nachos, pretzels, peanuts, popcorn, soda and water.
Sorry guys and gals, the all-you-can-eat offer does not include beer.
In Pittsburgh, Every Night is “All-You-Can-Eat” Night
The Pittsburgh Pirates are offering all-you-can-eat seats for each and every one of their home games this season. For a flat price of $35, fans can dine on the same gourmet offerings, plus have the additional choices of burgers, salads and ice cream.
Can you order a bottle of Pepto-Bismol with that?
If you live in Houston, the price is only $20 for an all-you-can-eat seat on Thursday evenings throughout the season. They dropped the price from its original $35 to try and drum up more fans. For $20, it seems like a good deal, even if the team is in the toilet.
Meanwhile, back in Minnesota, the majority of the fans sitting in the all-you-can-eat seats were young guys ” mostly college students who had walked to the Metrodome from the North Central University campus just a few blocks away.
Buddies Kyle Cash and Adam Petersen weren’t too worried about the potential after effects of their binge eating. “We’re just here to pig out,” Cash said, during an interview with the Associated Press.
Another student, Ron Benson, quipped, “As long as there’s food involved, that’s all that matters.” His goal was to devour 20 hot dogs.
At the Metrodome, the free chow line stops serving food at 9 p.m., no matter how many innings are left in the game, so there’s always a long line of fans waiting to get their last supper before the designated “all-you-can-eat” concession stands close.
The Trend Started in Los Angeles
All-you-can-eat seats started two years ago in Los Angeles, when the Dodgers were trying to find ways of filling empty outfield bleachers. They decided to offer fans free “Dodger dogs” with their ticket purchase. This season, the Dodgers all-you-can-eat tickets cost $25 when purchased in advance, $30 on game day.
Just down the road, in San Diego, the Padres have joined the trend, with tickets ranging in price from $28 to $32, depending on the seat. Health conscious fans also have the option of all-you-can-eat “veggie dogs,” in addition to the regular menu of ball park fare.
Although it may not be filling every empty seat, the all-you-can-eat tickets are definitely filling the tummies of many fans during game nights. For those who enjoy stuffing themselves till they’re green in the gills, pack up those hotdog coupons and head out to the game, this is like Christmas in July.