Sunday, May 16, 2010

Epilogue: Rationing "Unlimited" Beer At Preakness

I wrote last Friday about how the Preakness was offering $20 beer mugs in the infield for yesterday's Preakness horse race.   The Pimlico race track authorities had done so because a blanket ban on beer in the infield last year had resulted in a precipitous 30% drop in attendance from 112,222 in 2008, to 77,850 in 2009. The $20 bought not only the 16 oz beer mug, but also unlimited refills all day, from 8:30 AM when the park opened until the race at 6:18 PM, prompting The Washington Post to call it, "the biggest bargain in sports history or the most ill-advised."

So how did it go yesterday? In the end, it was neither. According to a New York Times article that you can read HERE, it was a moderate success as judged by attendance figures, with surprisingly few resultant "disturbances." Attendance increased to 95,760, well above last year's figure but still far below that for 2008.  If all those additional 18,000 people came for the $20 beer mugs, though, many would have been sorely disappointed. Only 11,000 such mugs were ever available, apparently (according to an Associated Press article that you can read HERE), and they all sold out by 9 AM.  Many fans reportedly waited for 45 minutes to get their beer mugs, and then another half hour each time they wanted a re-fill.

Ah rationing.  The cause of, and solution to, so many of life's problems.

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