This article was written by Phin Upham
Baseball has a long and storied history, but it tends to skip over all of the back-end stuff that makes the game as charming as it is. One of the pieces of that backbone is the vendor. This individual is responsible for feeding fans as they partake in America’s favorite pastime.
Baseball reached new highs in the early 19th century, when it began attracting more fans for actual games. At the time, race tracks and fairs were already known for their concessions. Baseball was merely playing catch-up when it introduced concessions to fans.
Food would often vary by region. Chowder could be found at Fenway, while Philadelphia preferred the pretzel with mustard. Nathan’s famous franks were available in New York City, but even fine dining options were in high demand. People of wealth wanted a place to sit and observe the game at their own pace, eating something with a finer taste than the American hot dog.
If you are one of those people who likes to talk about “the good old days,” and how much cheaper everything used to be, it might surprise you to learn that food was expensive back then too. Stadiums knew the simple economics of it: people who were sitting outdoors for long periods needed food and drink.
The hot dog is what truly revolutionized the world of baseball stadium food. It became the standard offering at most games, and grew to immense popularity in American culture at the time.
About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website