UPDATE: I incorrectly stated that ARAMARK was the beer vendor for Qwest Field during the National Football League playoff game in early January, the actual vendor was Levy Restaurants. The list that I was using of stadiums that ARAMARK services was outdated, and incorrectly included Seattle's Qwest Field.
As a result, I have edited several portions of the article at the request of BleacherReport and ARAMARK's communications department and removed the stadium list from the bottom of the article.
A couple losing seasons, no problem. Traded my favorite player, okay I can deal with it. Placed tarps over the seats of the upper deck where I watch my favorite team, I'll buy the more expensive ticket. Raise the price of parking, now I'm a little annoyed, but it's still okay. Cheat me on the price of my beer? That's it, now you've gone too far!
A youtube video taken last spring at an A's game has called attention to the beer vending services at several stadiums. It appears that when you go to watch your favorite team play, and you decide you want that large beer instead of the smaller one, you are actually being taken advantage of.
The larger size cup holding your favorite beverage actually held the same volume of liquid as the smaller sized cups, except the larger cup was taller and shaped slightly different.
The problem caused a little bit of a stir recently at Seattle's Qwest Field, in which it was displayed that the larger beer, $1.25 more than the small, actually held the exact same amount of the beverage. Not the best situation to emerge before the Seahawks hosted their National Football League playoff game in early January.
The problem is not isolated to Seattle either. A similar demonstration was completed in Oakland at the Oakland Coliseum, home of the Oakland A's and Raiders. In Oakland, where I attend several games a year, the difference in price is greater than the $1.25 difference in Seattle. A small beer cost $5, while the large is $8.
Oakland fans in particular have had plenty of reason to pony up for the larger cups in recent years, with the Raiders completing their first non-losing season out of the last eight attempts, and the A's not contending for a playoff spot since their appearance in the American League Championship Series in 2006. Seattle fans watched the first losing team in NFL history compete in the playoffs this season. They won their first playoff game before being eliminated the following weekend.
When contacted about the problem in Oakland by consumerist.com, ARAMARK services, the vendor responsible for beer sales in both Oakland and Seattle, had this to say:
"For a short time early last baseball season, we used an incorrect cup size for the $4.99 beer. The cup was larger than it should have been. When we discovered this, we began using the correct cup size."
I would like to take ARAMARK at their word and believe that this was an isolated error, except that the incident repeated itself in the NFL in January. Kind of makes you wonder. Granted these were separate beer vendors, so it could be coincidental.
While the only publicized instances of overpriced beer being sold at games have been in Oakland and Seattle, it makes you wonder how many similar instances have taken place nationwide that have gone unnoticed. What can be done to prevent this from happening again?
Don't refrain from purchasing your favorite adult beverage and enjoying your favorite teams play at their home stadiums and arenas, but make sure you ask how many ounces that cup holds before you shell out extra cash to get that larger cup.