Recently, ESPN collected data
on the percentage of concession stands
at each of North America's major professional sports' venues that were tagged hit with "critical" health violations.
However, it isn't fair to rate these stadiums and arenas simply by their overall percentage of concession stand violations, as health departments in different states and cities clearly monitor sporting venues with differing levels of scrutiny. (For example, ESPN uncovered that every major sports venue in Florida had at least
a 67 percent overall rate of critical violations. Whereas, miraculously, three of the four ballparks in the city of Chicago
had absolutely no critical violations!)
So, we've taken ESPN's data and formed our own list of the five grossest stadiums in North America. We've computed these rankings based on a nominally scientific formula that includes how a venue compares to the others in its area, plus ESPN's anecdotal reporting of specific, unappetizing violations seen at that particular stadium.
5. Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (Oakland Raiders, Oakland Athletics)
It's appropriate that this stadium, known as the McAfee Coliseum as recently as 2008, was once named after an anti-virus software. Its concession stands could use a good sweep. The home of the A's and the Raiders easily garnered the highest percentage of critical health violations of any major sports venue in California -- including almost twice as a high a percentage as Oracle Arena, the other pro-sports venue in Oakland. Violations include several outposts lacking proper hand-washing facilities. (Although dirty hands are unlikely to deter the appetites of the costumed riffraff who attend Raiders games.)
Read on for the top four worst places to spend seven dollars for a hot dog.
4. Target Center (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Much like the Oakland Raiders, the Minnesota Timberwolves are a franchise in sharp decline. Also like the Raiders, they play in a venue that stands out among its neighbors for having a high percentage of food vendors that have collected health violations. One concession stand at the Target Center was cited for not cleaning a meat slicer enough to prevent cross contamination. And as your doctor will tell you, getting salmonella can be a fate even worse than following a basketball team that just inexplicably traded Al Jefferson
, its best player, for a bunch of worthless junk
3. Ford Field (Detroit Lions)
Ever since they declined government bailouts, Ford has been known as the "good" car company
. Ford Field, however, is well behind its Detroit-area peers in terms of cleanliness. Within the confines of the indoor football stadium, 70 percent of food vendors were hit with critical health violations, including one where inspectors found a half-eaten hamburger in a warming unit. That actually makes sense, as having to watch the woeful Lions would make anyone lose their appetite mid-meal.
2. Tropicana Field (Tampa Bay Rays)
As we mentioned, in Florida health inspectors seem to take a more aggressive look at sports venues when compared with health inspectors in other jurisdictions. Still, that's no excuse for Tropicana Field in Tampa, where a whopping 100 percent of food vendors were given critical violations. Maybe the squalid condition of food services at The Trop is why the Rays continue to struggle to attract fans, despite being one of the better teams in baseball.
1. Verizon Center (Washington Wizards, Washington Capitals)
D.C.'s Verizon Center is another venue where 100 percent of food vendors garnered critical health violations. Ten of its stands were cited for preparing food amidst rodent droppings. The fact that only 25 percent of of vendors in Nationals Park, the other downtown sports venue in our nation's capital, received critical health violations makes the Verizon Center's (im)perfect score that much more unpalatable. In fact, one could call it "a national disgrace."