Buy Me Some Peanuts and Cracker Jacks… uh, Hold the Peanuts
Posted by Jamie on Thursday, August 28, 2008
When you are a marketing executive for a professional sports team, you are always looking for ways to sell a few more tickets to each game. In major league baseball, stadiums hold around 40,000 fans for each game. As a marketer, you have to fill those seats. That pressure can be beneficial to the consumer in that it makes professional teams focus on their customers and their customer’s specific needs. One innovation this summer that should interest peanut allergy sufferers is that several major and minor league baseball parks are offering “peanut free zones” or “peanut free nights” in their ballparks.

It is estimated 12 million people in the U.S. have food allergies, about one-quarter of them children. According to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, the incidence of peanut allergies among children doubled over the five-year period from 1997 to 2002. Going to a baseball game is a great way for a family to enjoy a summer evening out of the house. Having a peanut free area in the stadium is a wonderful idea to help allergy sufferers and parents enjoy themselves without worrying about coming into contact with peanuts.

On September 9th, the Mariners’ ballpark, Safeco Field, will have two “peanut free” seating areas. Team management is taking several steps before and during the game to ensure an enjoyable and safe experience. The Food Education Allergy Support Team will clean and check the seating area just prior to game time. Secondly, the seating areas are going to be cleaned thoroughly the night before the game, and all peanut products will be banned from the areas. At concession stands near the sections, peanut products will not be sold. Additionally, the Mariners are recommending a way to enter the stadium with the least chance for peanut exposure. Earlier this summer, a similar night in Seattle had a large response with the sections being sold out.

To learn more about the Mariner’s peanut free section, click.

The St. Louis Cardinals and Minnesota Twins also set aside peanut-free seating areas this season. The concept is not limited to the big leagues. A minor league team in suburban Chicago made its entire stadium peanut free earlier this month; and, the Nashua Pride in New Hampshire have been peanut free all season. Though it might seem sacrereligious to some to not be able to buy peanuts at a baseball game, in most stadiums there are plenty of other food options. For example, when I lived in Pittsburgh, PNC Park served the best hot wings in town, from a local restaurant called Quaker Steak & Lube. Peanuts can be potentially deadly for some allergy sufferers, and make more a miserable experience for others. Ultimately peanut free seating a few times a year is a very small concession for teams to make, so if having a “peanut free” zone in the stadium allows more people to enjoy the game I fully support the idea.

1 Comment
On 9/4/2008 PJewett wrote:
That is a great idea! This year we took our 6 yr old Son who is allergic to peanuts to a Yankee Game for the first time. My older Son is a HUGE fan but I was never comfortable taking them because of the peanuts - get your peanuts here! Every time we heard them yell peanuts our hair stood on the back of our necks, finally my 6 year old asked to leave because he got so nervous. This would be a great thing of all parks would do something like that. Thanks for your story.
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