I know because I saw him. He was three sections to my left in the 4th inning, and two sections to my right in the 6th.
I watched him like a hawk between pitches, and saw him finish with his row, exit to the concourse, and then disappear completely on both occasions. Meanwhile, the cotton candy guy went up and down our aisle more or less constantly for 7 innings.
We were sitting in the 19th row of the upper deck, the park was completely full, and a hot dog just seemed like the right thing to have (call me crazy). But I knew it would take some time to climb down, that the line at the concession stand would be long, that the help would be essentially untrained, and that I'd probably have to miss an entire inning or more in order to indulge my appetite.
What's more, the hot dog would come out of a drawer -- not off a grill or even out of hot water. No part of this process interested me, so I simply went without.
For me, it meant that I remained unsatisfied, and began to fume somewhat. For the concession company it meant that I went home with $10 in my pocket that they could have gotten if only there were a second hot dog vendor roaming the upper deck.
Concession Economics at the Metrodome
(2005, all events/sports, in millions)
Paid to teams/tenants: $6.6
Paid to Centerplate: $1.1
Profit to MSFC: $2.2M
Mind you, this isn't the Twins' fault. They do not control the concessions at the Metrodome. Concessions are controlled by the Metropolitan Sports Facilites Commission -- the body which owns the Dome and was snubbed by the legislature in the creation of the new Ballpark Authority. Perhaps this snub was deserved.
In fact, concession control is one of the major upgrades the Twins are looking forward to in the new park. There they will have complete control over all aspects, including menu, pricing, signage and design, even how many people are out in the stands selling hot dogs. I have no doubt that they will do a better job than the company which does it now (Centerplate).
The numbers in the sidebar show just how little the Twins make on concessions. The $6.6 million paid to tenants is for all teams/tenants combined (Twins, Vikings, monster truck rallies, etc.). Even assuming that 3/4 of that goes to the Twins, that would come out to just $3.53 per fan at any given game (1.4 million fans in 2005).
That's insanely low -- especially given the outrageous prices. One suspects that the MSFC, Hormel and Centerplate are the ones making the real money in this arrangement. The new park will be a major improvement for the Twins.
But setting aside my hunger pangs, the dynamic of roaming vendors (also known as "in-seat vendors") is pretty important to determining everything from how many fixed concession stands you need to how many seats are appropriate for each row, and how many rows can fit between horizontal cirulation aisles. The fewer roaming vendors, the more space you need to allow for fixed stands, their long lines, and fans moving to and from their seats to spend money.
And the money part is the real issue, of course. The easier it is to spend money at the game, the more people will spend. It's that simple.
It's more fuel for those, like me, who vehemently dislike the Metrodome. There are 31 rows in the upper deck, with no horzontal aisles of any sort. Each row has from about 20 to 35 seats, with only skinny aisles at each end. (I'm choosing not to mention how cramped the leg room is, but this could be a subject for another entry.)
It would seem that economics alone would suggest that investment in roaming vendors would pay off very well. Since we have to live with the Dome for 3 more seasons, it would be great if someone at the MSFC would get on Centerplate, or just fire them and find somebody else.
Concessions at the Dome have been a problem since day one. No wonder the Twins were so adamant that they regain control in their new home. Whether it's hot dogs or walleye-on-a-stick, I'm looking forward to buying it right from my seat on a regular basis.
"You talk about the magic, the aura, but what really makes a stadium is the fans. Concrete doesn't talk back to you. Chairs don't talk back to you. It's the people who are there, day in, day out, that makes the place magic."
– Bernie Williams
Explore the Site
Here are 50 images chosen randomly from the 3037 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Somebody asked how long it would be before the tarp had a sponsor. Well, not very long.
Steps, skyway, and plaza intersect.
Ballpark elevation diagram, viewed from Fifth Street. (Click to enlarge.)
Checking out the bike racks on the promenade.
There must be millions of details needing tending
Not my actual kids!
What can you see from up there? Some say not much.
Awesome seat. Awesome sun. Awesome hitter. (Photo by Tony Voda, courtesy Jared Wieseler)
Glove from above
ATM-style ticket machines have appeared beneath the steps to the B ramp (you can also enter the B ramp directly by walking past the ticket machines)
Millers fans leaving Nicollet Park after a game in 1923, where a trolley was waiting. (Click to enlarge.)
The wall of brands at General Mills headquarters in Golden Valley (Source: RP)
Back of scoreboard; facade in context.
Here's the view from the main concourse out through Gate 3 "Killebrew".
Trampled, repaired, and re-trampled grass
The creative design of the admin building stands in stark contrast to the horribly pedestrian appearance of the LRT platform. This design looks like it came out of a public transportation manual.
Final Metrodome baseball sight
Walkway sneak peek
This view, from the Minnekahda building (or possibly a predecessor), looks toward the right field corner. The City Market, at left, occupied the land where the B ramp and Target Plaza now stand (over I-394). And the Overlook now juts out just a little beyond where that driveway enters the railyard.
The Fifth Street side is pretty busy. There's a small street entrance to the B ramp, then ticket booths and an entrance gate, a rare exterior section not covered in limestone, the wooden screen covering the circulation ramps, the administration building, and finally (just out of view) the interface with Northstar. All of that sits behind the LRT action. How pedestrians will interact with this side of the park is a great mystery to me. You know that Metro Transit won't be letting them cross the tracks anywhere but at either end of the block...
They could not help the Twins on this night.
Um, I think that guy is out.
That is the gun-metal gray wall of The Stadium just beyond the elevated tracks.
(Click to enlarge.)
Staging for the next section (Home Plate Box)
A detailed crowd shot. Click to enlarge greatly.
(Click to enlarge.)
The view from the Penn Ave entrance to 394 (and all the way into town! Click to enlarge)
Ballpark elevation viewed from the promenade (HERC plant) side. (Click to enlarge.)
View from the Overlook
B ramp improvements are finally becoming usable. The doors lead to the plaza beneath the skyway steps.