Groups cry foul over all-you-can-eat seats

March 7, 2008 at 4:26 PM
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ARLINGTON, Texas, March 7 (UPI) -- Downing a dog while watching the Texas Rangers or another team may put a fan in the middle of a new controversy: ballparks' all-you-can-eat seats.

At least 13 of the 30 major league teams will offer all-you-can-eat seats for all or part of the 2008 season, up from six last year, USA Today reported Friday.

All-you-can-eat options -- usually offered in the cheap seats -- allow teams to wring revenue out of parts of ballparks that used to sit empty, team officials told the newspaper.

"We're getting rid of (tickets) and making the public happy" by offering them a way to save money, says Andrew Silverman, executive vice president of sales and marketing for the Rangers.

Diet and health specialists say the seats symbolize super-sized fast-food and poor nutrition. At a time when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the nation is in an obesity crisis, setting aside places for fans to feast is irresponsible, many specialists say.

"It's disgusting," Christine Gerbstadt, an American Dietetic Association spokeswoman, told USA Today. "Why can't people just enjoy the game and eat sensibly?"

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