There’s nothing quite like a belly full of hot dog and brewski to make a baseball fan feel like happy days are here again.
College World Series crowds were hungry for a good time with all the tradition-wrapped trimmings after a year of being cooped up by COVID. And Mississippi State faithful were especially thirsty for their first NCAA national championship.
Thus suggest the numbers on food and beverage sales at the 2021 College World Series.
“There is just this nostalgia that people have been missing out on over the past year that they were eager to come and take advantage of, and to just have the normal ballpark experience that they have come to expect at the CWS,” said Kristyna Engdahl, spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Entertainment & Convention Authority.
Total concession revenue was up 12% over 2019’s CWS, according to concessionaire Levy’s report to MECA. That’s perhaps to be expected in a year that the series set a new overall attendance record of 361,711, although there was no opening ceremonies night this year. The final game crowd of 24,052 set a record for a Game 3 final, and boosted the three-game final series attendance to a record 72,226.
Ebullient Mississippi State supporters painted the stadium maroon as they cheered their team on to the Bulldogs’ first national championship in any sport. Like other Southern schools, they’re known for traveling well to Omaha to support their team and enjoy the experience, Engdahl said.
“I don’t think it was probably a secret to anybody in the ballpark that the Mississippi State fans were there for a good time,” she said.
The concession numbers did not include separate figures for beer sales. Overall, bottled water was the top item sold.
Specialty dishes were popular. NachOmahas sales nearly doubled over 2019. But tradition ruled: The humble jumbo hot dog was the culinary Sultan of Swat.
“The ballpark staples are always the star of the show,” Engdahl said.