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Beer Size/Pricing Gone Crazy

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Kosmo from The Soap Boxers passed an interesting link my way yesterday. I already had a post in mind for today, but it is Friday and a post about beer clearly takes precedent. The news that Kosmo sent me was about a Idaho Hockey Fans Suing CenturyLink Arena Over Beer Prices.

I know what you are thinking... it's about time that someone did something about the price of beer at sporting events! Unfortunately, we aren't making any headway there. The lawsuit is about the stadium selling a large beer at $7 and a regular beer at $4... which are exactly the same size, just different shape cups. They put together this video demonstrating the rip-off:


That's bush-league of CenturyLink to scam people on their beer. Because of the video, CenturyLink has been pressured to make change. Here's what they are doing according to the story.

"CenturyLink officials announced a short time later that the company would purchase new cups for the large beers that would hold 24 ounces instead of the previous 20 ounces for a bigger difference in size."

Problem solved, right? Well, not exactly.

Typically buying in bulk nabs you are lower unit price. This won't be the case at CenturyLink and it won't even be close. You get the first 20 ounces for $4, but when you pay $3 more you only get another 4 ounces? The small size gives you 5 ounces for your dollar while the large size gives you less than 3.5 ounces for your dollar.

Give me two small beers. I'll gladly pay the extra buck for 16 more ounces of beer.

[Update: I read another article that clarifies that the small size is 16 ounces giving you 4 ounces for your dollar. The new 24 ounce large size at $7 still won't give you the same value though.]

I've noticed the disparity on the pricing of beer at stadiums before. Usually when the smaller beer is a better value, it is really, really close to the point that is hardly worth mentioning.

Next time you are at a sporting event take a look and do a little math. You might be rewarded with a little extra nectar of the Gods.

Posted on March 14, 2014.

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11 Responses to “Beer Size/Pricing Gone Crazy”

  1. Kathy says:

    I think the obvious solution is simply not buy beer there. It’s not really needed to watch the sporting event and after all, its just another liquid you have to recycle, thereby missing part of the game when in the bathroom. (You can never really wait until half-time, can you?)

  2. Kevin says:

    Interesting, I think the venues are taking advantage of the fact that you can only hold two cups (additionally, some locations have legislation only allowing purchase of x numbers of beer at a time). If you buy a large, you aren’t really paying for the extra beer, you are paying to not have to get up additional times and wait in line. If you can’t hold more than 2 beers, then you can’t take advantage of the fact that you could buy smaller beers at a cheaper ounce/dollar ratio (unless you want to make multiple trips)

    • Lazy Man says:

      Kevin, I was thinking the same thing about the beer limit. Still, at least make it close. They could even raise of the small to $5.50, which would fix the inconsistency. (Hopefully they aren’t Lazy Man and Money readers.)

  3. Money Beagle says:

    That’s outrageous but I think they’re taking advantage of the fact that people just expect that bigger works out to be cheaper. Amazing how companies figure out how to exploit people’s habits and thoughts. Still, how do people that come up with these ideas and approve their implementation look at themselves in the mirror?

  4. Steve says:

    +1 to what Kevin said. They’re taking advantage of practical and rule-based limits on how much beer one can buy at a time, plus the fact that you want to spend as little time away from the game as possible. However I’d be really surprised if the large was literally the same size as a small, vs. a little bit bigger. Furthermore I’m surprised that there’s a $4 beer at those games. My local stadium charges minimum $9 for a darned beer.

    • Lazy Man says:

      I don’t think a minimum of $9 beer would fly at a minor league team in Idaho. I’ve seen dollar beer for a few innings at an minor league (AA) Oakland A’s game.

  5. Steve says:

    Well, I do live on a coast, so it’s partially just a cost-of-living difference.

  6. Steve says:

    Coincidentally, the stadium that sold me those $9 beers is also branded CenturyLink (but it’s a Field not an Arena).

  7. Marie Zalbe says:

    Beer here in country costs $1/bottle I think. But it’s different with the beers outside the country.

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