Inflation Is Hitting MLB Fans in the Wallet at Ballpark Concession Stands

Here’s how much prices for tickets, hot dogs and beer are up this season

Fans purchasing food from concession stands on Opening Day at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
If you take yourself out to a ballgame this season, be ready to take a bit more out of your wallet.
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty

Thanks to the inflation rate in the United States hitting a four-decade high of 9.1% in June due to factors including COVID-driven supply-chain issues and rising fuel prices, fans of Major League Baseball are now getting hit in the wallet at ballpark concession stands across the league.

With the average 2022 MLB general ticket price already up 3.6% this season to land at $35.93, the cost for beer, soda, hot dogs and other popular game-day necessities is also on the rise.

After polling the five vendors — Sodexo Live!, Levy, Aramark, Legends and Delaware North — that supply food and beverages for MLB’s 30 teams as well as collecting pricing data from team representatives, ESPN found that the average price of a hot dog across all ballparks is $6.33. The Mariners have the highest-priced dog at $8, while the Braves have the cheapest wiener at $3.50. (If Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest champion Joey Chestnut ate his competition-winning 63 dogs in Seattle on July 4, it would have left him with a $504 bill; in Atlanta, $220.50.)

Before January 2021, annual price increases for hot dogs typically ranged between 0% and 5%. From January 2021 to May 2022, price increases for items including packaging, meat, spices and gas have caused the price to acquire hot dogs to increase between 20% and 30%, an official from one vendor told ESPN. Per the vendor, that’s the highest annual increase in the past 30 years.

And, sadly, it’s not just hot dog sellers who are getting burned. Beer vendors are also taking a bath as the price of suds is projected for a 4% to 7% increase from 2021 by year’s end. At Citi Field where the Mets play, that increase has pushed the average price of a beer to $12, according to the 2022 MLB Fan Cost Index. Coors Field, the home of the Rockies, is also home to the cheapest beer in baseball at $3. That’s a good thing as watching the Rockies, who are 44-53 and sit 21 games behind first place in the NL West, play baseball would require quite a few brewskies.

“Timely recoveries [are proving] elusive with facility shutdowns, waves of COVID variants, doubled demands for products, port congestions and labor shortages,” Yale University professor of operations management Sang Kim told ESPN. “Never have we witnessed a succession of disruptions like this.”

The takeaway? If you take yourself out to a ballgame this season, be ready to take a bit more out of your wallet.

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