Wed, 11 Mar 2009 00:01
BY KEVIN ALLEN firstname.lastname@example.org
Cash-strapped baseball fans will be getting some economic relief this summer from an unlikely place: stadium concession stands.
But as major-league teams plan to offer dollar menus, combo meals and other wallet-friendly items for their fans, the Cubs and White Sox haven’t decided whether they will follow suit.
Sox spokesman Lou Hernandez said Tuesday the team has no plan to provide discount concessions at U.S. Cellular Field, but team officials are gathering this week to address the topic.
”It’s certainly something we’ve taken into consideration,” Hernandez said. ”At this point, no. But that could change by Opening Day.”
The Cubs, who use concessionaire Levy Restaurants, have no plans to offer reduced-price concessions.
”We always have an ongoing dialogue about different promotions and offers for fans, but at this time we don’t have a new discount program in effect,” team spokesman Peter Chase said.
The Cubs do offer an ”early bird” discount, implemented in 2008, of 25 percent off non-alcoholic concessions for an hour after the gates open.
Delaware North Sportservice, which has provided concessions for the Sox since 1945, has worked with other teams — including the San Diego Padres and St. Louis Cardinals — to come up with cost-saving options at the concession stands. Sportservice spokesman Glen White said the lackluster economy prompted the move.
”We saw what was coming with the economic situation as it got worse and worse in the offseason,” White said. ”So we started to develop a number of different concepts that we’ve been customizing with each of our teams.”
In addition to slashing ticket prices at Petco Park for 25 of their games, the Padres are offering fans a ”Five for $5” combo that includes a hot dog, soda, peanuts, popcorn and cookie — all for $5. The Cardinals also will test combination meals at a discounted price at Busch Stadium this season.
Three other National League Central teams have announced plans to reduce food and beverage prices. The Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds, both Sportservice clients, plan to offer a fast-food-style dollar menu at their stadiums. Fans at Miller Park and Great American Ball Park will be able to purchase a smaller hot dog, 12-ounce soda, 24-ounce cup of popcorn, small ice cream cone and large cookie for $1 each.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have announced the expansion of their Dollar Hot Dog Night promotion at PNC Park to 13 Fridays.