Texas Rangers

Gross or not? Depends whether you’re asking ESPN or vendors at DFW pro-sports venues

Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas. The relaunch of the XFL will be coming to Arlington, and its home stadium will be the “old” stadium of the Texas Rangers. (Harold Stiver/Dreamstime/TNS)
Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas. The relaunch of the XFL will be coming to Arlington, and its home stadium will be the “old” stadium of the Texas Rangers. (Harold Stiver/Dreamstime/TNS) TNS

Try to keep that hot dog you ate in 2017 at Globe Life Park from coming up, or that helping of nachos from American Airlines Center in 2016.

An ESPN report ranked those DFW sports venues among the worst in professional sports in terms of cleanliness of their concession stands and other food area.

Those in charge at the venues, however, say they aren’t quite as bad as the report makes them out to be.

ESPN gathered health inspections from 2016 and 2017 from 111 venues in North America, and Globe Life Park, home of the Texas Rangers, and American Airlines Center, home of the Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Stars, ranked third-dirtiest in the MLB and the NBA and the worst in the NHL.

The survey found that 83.08 percent of the concessions inspected at the AAC had high-level violations and 71.15 percent at Globe Life Park.

Ewwww! Gross!

Not so fast, said the vendors who run the concessions at both venues.

Delaware North Sportservice, which handles things at Globe Life Park, said that the ESPN report does not accurately reflect the scoring used by the City of Arlington health inspectors, and Levy, the concessionaire at AAC, said that the violations weren’t deemed as severe by the City of Dallas.

First up, Globe Life Park, where the ESPN report cites a 2017 instance of a live roach visible at one stand and a notation of “clean bird poop up” at another. High-level issues were found at 111 of the 156 stands, the ESPN report says.

“Food safety at Globe Life Park and the health and safety of Rangers fans is a top priority for Sportservice,” Delaware North said in a statement. “Our chefs and managers are ServSafe certified, and our employees are trained in proper food safety and handling. As an added measure, we work with EcoSure, an independent third-party food-safety assessment organization, to conduct safety audits at the ballpark.

“It should be noted that ESPN did not take into account that each health department uses a different scoring method, and as a result the ESPN story inaccurately portrays the results for Globe Life Park. Our managers work closely with health inspectors and immediately begin addressing and correcting any issues. We are committed to continuing to meet health-department standards to ensure the safety of our guests.”

About 15 miles to the east, ESPN found that high-level violations occurred in 54 of 65 stands at the AAC. Levy acknowledged that there were violations, but not at the level the ESPN report cites.

“We welcome the local health department in Dallas and employ third-party sanitation experts to ensure a safe environment for our guests,” Levy said in a statement. “Related to the recent reports around high-level violations, these violations are actually categorized in Dallas as priority rather than high-level.

“The priority concerns were immediately corrected, and the health department can verify we’re in full compliance. We take every violation incredibly seriously and work to immediately correct them, and our ultimate goal is to provide a safe experience for our guests at American Airlines Center.”

AT&T Stadium, the Arlington home to the Dallas Cowboys, rated as the cleanest DFW pro-sports venue in the survey, with high-level violations at 46.71 percent (149 or 319) of stands. That was 17th-best in the NFL.

One of the cited violations was a chef sweating on food being prepared and some salmon that was being stored at too high a temperature. (The report said nothing about the merit of serving salmon at a ballgame.)

Legends, the food vendor at AT&T, said it is no different than the others in how much care and training they put into their operation.

Dan Smith, president of hospitality for Legends, also takes exception to the ESPN methodology.

“We treat food safety with the utmost care,” Smith said in a statement. “It is priority No. 1 for all of our patrons. As a result, over the 10-year period of time since AT&T Stadium opened, all of our food stands have averaged an A-level grade from City of Arlington health inspectors.

“We disagree with this report, whose methodology is unexplainable and does not take into account that each health department uses a different scoring method to determine their evaluations. We work closely with the City of Arlington Department of Health on regular inspections. We also complete our own independent assessments with various consultants and auditors, including food safety companies. If any violation is pointed out, it is addressed and corrected immediately. ”

The City of Arlington said that it works closely with both venues.

“The City of Arlington’s health inspectors proactively work with all food establishments, including the numerous permanent and temporary food vendors at our sports venues, to promptly address any violations found at the time of inspection and to ensure the highest level of food health and safety for our residents and visitors,” the city said in a statement.

Construction workers pour the final concrete on the main concourse of the new Globe Life Field. Globe Life Field is scheduled to open in March 2020.



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After 11 seasons covering the Rangers for the Star-Telegram, Jeff Wilson knows that baseball is a 24/7/365 business and there is far more to baseball than just the 162 games each season. There’s also more to Jeff -- like a family and impressive arsenals of Titleist hats and adidas shoes -- but sometimes it’s hard to tell.
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