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?