Why Does It Cost $700 to Eat at a Stadium?

September 2, 2009 | By | Comments (0)

Yesterday my husband and I took Eldest and Middle to the U.S. Open,
which we do every year. It’s a real late-summer highlight for me: The
weather is usually great, it’s a short trip from our house, everybody in
my family loves tennis and some of us are actually good at it. The Flushing Meadows grounds are set up in such a way that you can not only watch matches, but—the highlight for me—can also watch players practice. (Let’s just say there is nothing
like staring at Rafael Nadal as he hits the ball for an hour to make you feel
small, weak, old, not cute and very mortal.) The people watching is wonderful, because there are lots of (inexplicably) dressed-up women, which makes you feel like you are going to a sporting event at a giant country club in the 1950s.

And the food is wonderful. Here’s what we ate:

Beef crepe
Peach crepe
Ice cream bar

Penne al fredo
Ice cream bar
Waffle fries

Half a pretzel
Salmon sandwich
Bottle of water

Half a pretzel
Lobster roll
Diet Snapple
Diet Pepsi

Now, we’re not going spend too much time thinking about my children’s high fructose corn syrup consumption, or the fact that I had two diet drinks when water would have sufficed. What I’m really fascinated by is the fact that our food bill was about $700, or at least that’s what it felt like. And so, in addition to some wonderful tennis, our trip to the U.S. Open provided my family with a number of questions.


  1. Is Roger Federer truly charming and humble, or just faux-charming and humble?
  2. Are tennis umpires volunteers, or paid?
  3. How do you get to be a ball girl/boy at the Open?
  4. Are the Open organizers happier when the weather is hot, because they sell more Evian?
  5. And finally, why is stadium food so expensive?

Any answers, to any of the above, would be helpful.