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MLB Opening Day: What do hot dog sales tell us?

The ballgame with a beer or Coke and a dog. Historic sales data gathered by the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (NHDSC) shows that there is a strong link between the number of hot dogs and sausages sold at Major League Baseball stadiums and their team’s ability to win games (graph below).

The Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals, each of whom average more than one million hot dog and sausages sold per year, are five of the seven teams with the most wins over the five year period that the data examined.

“The right players on the field aren’t the only ingredient of successful teams,” said NHDSC President Eric Mittenthal. “It’s clear that well-fed, enthusiastic fans drive winning too and no food makes fans happier at a ballgame than hot dogs and sausages.”

Major League Baseball fans typically eat around 20 million hot dogs and 4.5 million sausages per season, with the reigning world champion Dodgers and their iconic Dodger Dog regularly selling the most.

With COVID-19 restrictions remaining in place around baseball, the 2021 season will again look much different than a typical one, but as restrictions start to lift and fans return to stadiums, teams will again continue the long-standing tradition of passing out wieners at baseball games. Many teams have announced on their websites that streamlined menus will be offered with individually packaged foods and condiments.

“We have implemented our Play It Safe – Commitment to Care program at all of our ballparks to establish strict COVID-19 protocols in accordance with federal, state and local COVID guidelines,” said Marc Heintzman, Communications Specialist at Delaware North, a global food service vendor supplying products to several MLB teams. “For our guests, this means adoption of cashless technology, mobile ordering, no more vendors walking the stands, and socially distanced layouts at walk-up concessions.”

Many teams have announced their attendance plans for opening day on April 1, with most teams allowing somewhere between 10 and 50 percent capacity for fan entry.

“While the number of fans in the seats might be lower, the emotional connection between hot dogs and baseball remains,” said Mittenthal. “As the original in-stadium delivered food, hot dogs and sausages are well positioned to only grow in popularity as fans return to the ballpark this summer.”


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