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 3042 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
The official ballpark development area
Giant screened images! (573 Club, my back to Seventh Ave windows)
July 7, 1966 (Click to see the entire scorecard with ads)
Click to see the whole, beautiful image. (Photo by Tyler Wycoff)
Replays on the out-of-town scoreboard!
For those who have never seen it up close, that's what it looks like when steam comes out of the HERC plant.
One of those funny little sections above the entrance stairs
The right field foul pole seen against a backdrop of Butler Square (itself a site of great significance in the history of professional baseball in Minneapolis)
This is from inside the B ramp, where an entrance to the plaza will one day be
Home Run Porch Terrace
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...
That's Fifth Street (and a tattooed arm) in the foreground.
Which way to the skyway? Really??
Section 237, Row 15 (top of the Trap)
Another classic space in the making above the Hrbek gate.
Note the speakers hanging beneath that deck
This appears to be the floor to the home dugout!
The same section seen from Target Center. Yep, looks like bridge supports.
Yes, son, Memorial Stadium used to be right there, just beyond those gates.
The blue line now indicates where the back of the accessible seating ends and standing room begins.
This is a good overview of the spot where the Northstar (bottom) and LRT (top) will intersect.
The Carew lounge was all ready for some corporate event.
End of the line.
The Hennepin Grille appears to feature chicken, brats, and fries.
(Click to enlarge greatly)
This was actually taken from the top floor of the International Market Square.
Friendly faces greet you right inside the door of the Legends Club.
Looking down what was Third Avenue, and will be a freeway entrance ramp beneath the outfield stands.
Hardware in the window! (But why are there three trophies? 1924?)