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July 28, 2010

Yet another reason not to eat food at sporting venues

Do you go to a lot of sporting events? Do you find yourself eating there? That can be quite the expensive proposition. We go to Vancouver Canucks games at GM Place (It will take me a while to start calling it Rogers Arena), and all we buy is a large Diet Coke that lasts us the entire game. The prices are outrageous!

A rather small cup of Molson beer (basically equivalent to Budweiser as far as market saturation goes) costs over $7!! And if you want a "good" beer, like Okanagan Spring, it's over $8! Even our large diet coke costs $4.75 ($5.25 if they're doing "collector's" cups). I can't imagine trying to take a family of 4 to a game, and actually trying to feed the kids.

So do you really need another reason not to buy food at the ballpark?

I don't care. Here's another one!

Want to get sick?

ESPN has published a report on health inspections at various sporting venues around the US and Canada. It's categorized by state an then venue within that state, and some of the results are rather shocking.

Here's Tropicana Field, where the Tampa Bay Rays play baseball:

"Vendors with critical violations: 100%
Inspection report excerpt: Several violations addressed dirty countertops, utensils and equipment. Although every report indicated a critical violation, all vendors met basic inspection standards to keep operating."

That's heartening, isn't it? Here's another Florida stadium, American Airlines Arena, where the Miami Heat play basketball:

"Vendors with critical violations: 93%
Inspection report excerpt: Critical violations included several safety issues related to electrical wiring and such equipment as gas boilers."

Or how about this statement, from Sun Life stadium, where the Miami Dolphins and Florida Marlins play?

"In June 2009, an employee complained anonymously that small insects and other debris were blended into frozen alcoholic beverages at a stand where equipment wasn't being cleaned. When inspectors checked, they issued a critical violation for a buildup of slime inside the frozen drinks machine."

Thankfully, GM Place Rogers Arena only has 9% violations, with the statement: "A sushi display cooler was malfunctioning, and the temperature of the sushi rose above safe levels. Inspectors also cautioned one stand regarding properly heating donairs, which have been tied to E. coli outbreaks elsewhere in Canada."

Not *too* bad, right? I avoid sushi anyway.

Is it too much to ask that these venues pay more attention to cleanliness? You're servicing 15,000-22,000 people in arenas and upwards of 50,000-80,000 people in outdoor stadiums. I'm surprised there haven't been more issues with this.

Kudos to those venues that have 0% violations, like Nassau Coliseum (where the New York Islanders play hockey) and Scottrade Center in St. Louis (home of the Blues). Of course, you New Yorkers could go to Madison Square Garden:

"At one stand, inspectors found "53 mouse excreta" (38 on top of a metal box underneath the cash registers in the front food-prep/service area and 15 on top of a carbonated-beverage dispensing unit)"

Ok, maybe I should have warned you not to read this while eating dinner.

Enjoy the game!

(h/t to somebody who posted this link on the Game Informer discussion forum)


  1. I'm just glad the one I went to last year got 0% lol

  2. Yeah, that's always a good sign!!!

    Now you have a guide for future sports endeavours. :)


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