Forced to get creative from the "Great Recession," sports teams — already freezing or lowering ticket prices — are using food to coax us to the ballpark or arena.
It's not a bad idea considering the fact that the CDC says two in every three Americans are overweight.
It's also not a bad idea because like tickets and salaries, the markup on concession items at a sporting event are due for a major correction.
Two minor league teams — the Lakewood BlueClaws and the Trenton Thunder — are offering up a can't pass up type of deal. The teams recently announced that kids, 12 and under, will get a free hot dog, bag of potato chips and 12-ounce soda with their ticket.
But the minor leagues are the minor leagues.
So you can imagine our shock when we heard that the San Diego Padres are now offering the "Five for $5" plan. It's a bucket of popcorn, a cookie, a 22-ounce soda, a hot dog and peanuts for $5 total. As a reference point, the Padres charged $4 for that hot dog and $4.25 for that soda last year.
I'm just going to guesstimate here, but I'm thinking the retail cost of this deal last year probably would have cost you about $18.50. This year, it's $5. That's a 73 percent drop in prices.
It still makes sense to the Padres. See, the retail cost of these items is around $1. So instead of making $17.50 on the sale of all of these items, the Padres will make $4. The difference of course is that, with the price lowered, the Padres will likely sell at least twice the amount of food and potentially more tickets. Last year, the Padres had their lowest total attendance in five years. If the game is a great background for a cheap dinner, so be it.
Expect more teams to understand this margin correction on concessions is coming pretty soon. The days of $1 hot dog night are over. At least for now, that's going to be every night in many places around the country.
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