Three months ago I wrote on this blog about how Major League Baseball should acknowledge the financial hardships of many fans during the recession. Today I’m pleased to pass along this bit of news reported in the Chicago Sun-Times:

Cash-strapped baseball fans will be getting some economic relief this summer from an unlikely place: stadium concession stands.

But as major-league teams plan to offer dollar menus, combo meals and other wallet-friendly items for their fans, the Cubs and White Sox haven’t decided whether they will follow suit.

It doesn’t surprise me that the Cubs don’t plan to offer any reduced-price concessions during games — they increased ticket prices during this recession, too. The team will continue to offer an “early bird” discount of 25 percent off non-alcoholic concessions during the first hour after gates open, but fans have to arrive at the ballpark extra early to take advantage of that promotion. And the Cubs know that the longer people are in the ballpark, the more concessions they are likely to buy before the game ends.

The Sun-Times article mentions five teams that will offer new concession discounts this year:

In addition to slashing ticket prices at Petco Park for 25 of their games, the Padres are offering fans a ”Five for $5” combo that includes a hot dog, soda, peanuts, popcorn and cookie — all for $5. The Cardinals also will test combination meals at a discounted price at Busch Stadium this season.

Three other National League Central teams have announced plans to reduce food and beverage prices. The Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds, both Sportservice clients, plan to offer a fast-food-style dollar menu at their stadiums. Fans at Miller Park and Great American Ball Park will be able to purchase a smaller hot dog, 12-ounce soda, 24-ounce cup of popcorn, small ice cream cone and large cookie for $1 each.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have announced the expansion of their Dollar Hot Dog Night promotion at PNC Park to 13 Fridays.

I’m glad to see the Brewers are among the teams offering cheap concessions. Every baseball season I attend at least one game in Milwaukee, a tradition that dates back to long before the Brewers became division rivals of my favorite team, the Cubs.

Kudos to the teams offering discounted concessions. Those cheaper items are sure to be a hit with fans.

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