All You Can Eat seats are prevalent in many major league baseball stadiums and some college and professional football games have tried the same deals. A certain section of tickets are sold as a package deal which includes a seat to the game as well as all you can eat hot dogs, popcorn, cracker jacks, nachos, and non-alcoholic drinks.
Golden Gate Fields in Albany, CA is trying a spin on the all you can eat promotion by offering spectators an all you can drink promotion for $30 called “bottomless Saturdays”. Golden Gate Fields is a horse racing track in the Bay Area which has seen a decline in spectators and revenue over the last few years , with an uncertain future. The aim behind the promotion is to get a younger crowd to attend and place bets on horse racing. Many individuals in the 25-35 crowd either don’t typically come to horse racing events or if they do, they spend their money on alcohol rather than betting on the ponies. With a $30 flat fee for all you can drink, ownership is hoping for a livelier atmosphere which will encourage additional betting revenue for the track.
This promotion as expected is drawing criticism from many groups including some staff at Golden Gate Fields as well as M.A.D.D. (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). They fear this will encourage binge drinking and unruly patrons. Ownership has promised that there will be beefed up security and bartenders have received additional training on how to deal with disorderly drinkers.
All you can drink areas are nothing new to major sporting events however they are typically sold at a higher price point. Tickets for these all you can drink seats go in upwards of $100 and are geared towards older more mature patrons and try to eliminate binge type drinkers. With a price point of $30 for all you can drink, you are inviting a much younger crowd and in a way encouraging heavy drinking.
The most famous low cost drinking promotion occurred back in 1974 at a baseball game between the Texas Rangers and Cleveland Indians. The night was billed as “10-cent beer night” and as you can imagine the crowd got out of hand. There were many precursors to cause what happened that night but during the game a young woman ran to home plate and flashed the crowd, a naked man sprinted to second base, and a father and son ran to center field and mooned the crowd. Later in the game the crowd finally erupted and a riot occurred on the field causing the game to be forfeited by the home team. Security protocols and bartenders were not trained properly back then to avoid such a situation, however will newer laws and a better trained staff prevent something like this from happening at a race track? Only time will tell and it will be very interesting to see how the crowd and drinkers handle themselves at Golden Gate Field this year.
On April 19th, Golden Gate Fields announced that this promotion would be cancelled. Employees and community members expressed such displeasure with the promotion that Golden Gate Fields was forced to cancel the Bottomless Saturday promotion.