New Stadium Trends over the last 10 Years

The loaded hot dog has become the "it" stadium food option over the last few years
The loaded hot dog has become the “it” stadium food option over the last few years

With more than ten years of stadium visiting under my belt, there are certainly changes I have noticed since the start of this millennium. Some good, some bad, almost all of them geared towards the almighty dollar. Here are a few that stick out:


……1.  Food Options – In the past, it was expected that an arena or ballpark had nachos, popcorn, peanuts, hot dogs and some sort of standard American beer. Now, go to any stadium of significant capacity and you are bound to find specialty items at many concession stands. This is a definitely a good thing as the options make for a better experience at the game. The minor leagues have got into it too and you can find surprisingly unique and occasionally decent food even at a small, local place. Things are great for the beer snobs as well with microbrews more common. One item that has really stuck out everywhere I have gone lately is the……

……2.  Loaded Hot Dog – Maybe because this is the easiest thing to do and fool the customer into thinking its “special”, but everyone seems to be adding these hot dogs with a hundred topping options to the menu. Not sure how the hot dog took off as the food to do it with. From Akron’s huge and loaded dog to a hot dog in Toronto featuring maple syrup and baked beans, I feel like I’ve seen it all. But then the next stadium has something even zanier

……3.  Home Plate Seats –
I hate this one. This definitely has skyrocketed over the last ten years as MLB teams now have turned the seats closest to the infield into specialty seating, complete with food service and (in newer ballparks) clubs or lounges. It’s an awful trend again geared towards money and away from the casual fan. It also looks terrible on TV, where scores of these
expensive seats sit embarrassingly empty. I hope it is shameful to these teams come playoff time as their ballpark doesn’t even look full since the most broadcasted seats are those behind home plate.

……4.  Sponsoring of Everything
– The VIST Financial Plaza, The Bud Light Bar, The Farmington Bank Fan Assistance Booth. We have all become accustomed to the ugly corporate names attached to stadiums, but now businesses are infesting our stadiums with their name plastered everywhere. From contests to lounges to even walkways, that old business model of name recognition rears it’s ugly head. Make it stop!

……5.  HD Videoboards
– This is one for the good (mostly). Teams and cities seem to have no problem lately spending the couple million to upgrade their scoreboard and make sure the video screen is of remarkable high quality. As a fan this means great things, like clear instant replays and live game video, more room for stats and a high-def look at Kiss Cam! (just kidding). I say it’s mostly good, because it can be a deterrent and distraction if operators aren’t careful in constantly utilizing it. This happens in Buffalo, where the First Niagara Center can be as quiet as a church because fans are gazingly staring up at the center scoreboard with jaws dropped at some silly production.

One comment

  1. Great observations and I agree with everything you have to say. Uniqueness is more and more important in this competitive market for the live sports dollar, unfortunately so much of what we see is just the same as the other guy’s stadium…

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