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Read the Fine Print to Beat High Vendor Prices at Sports Stadiums

April 3, 2014 at 11:19 AM | by | ()

Baseball is officially back, and along with it comes a summer full of sports travel, groups of friends and families making their way across the country to visit different stadiums. Some make it their life goal to visit them all, others simply try to catch a game as an activity while in town. Either way, donning the hometown jersey is a great way to fit in and experience a little local flavor.

Yet the reality is that sporting events are expensive, and the ticket is only part of the problem. Once inside, street-level pricing goes out the window, and you pay dearly as a captive audience. For a solo traveler only responsible for himself, it might not be the end of the world. But a family of four? With tickets and food/drink, a trip to the ballpark all of a sudden becomes a $200 night out.

Luckily, there are a few tricks to keep in mind that can help alleviate that pain, and we recommend reading the stadiums rules and regulations before you go. For example, most people don't realize that stadiums allow you to bring in coolers of food, water, and soda. Although every stadium is a little different in its exact regulations, this is pretty common across the board. Take Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati:

"Guests are welcome to bring bags, backpacks, SOFT SIDED coolers, and purses into Great American Ball Park provided their dimensions do not exceed the 16" x 16" x 8"... No glass bottles or cans may be brought into Great American Ball Park. Guests are welcome to bring in soft drinks and water provided they are in clear plastic bottles and the safety seal has not been broken."

And, even though there is absolutely no mention of it anywhere on the official site, you are allowed to bring food into the stadium. We've done it, and so have others. Declan Mullin of Ballpark Operations told a local radio station that guests can bring in food products "as long as they're in a small zip lock bag and security can see them." The reason they don't advertise it is pretty obvious.

As for alcohol, that's unfortunately still one area where you're at the mercy of the vendors. Our advice is to set aside $20 for a few beers and sip them at the game's pace. We recommend saving yourself for a few out on the town after the game, and make sure you don't change your clothes. We found sporting the home-team colors provided us with an instant conversation starter as we explored the city.

[Photo: Urban Cincy]

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