About the project
ESPN's Outside the Lines reviewed and collected more than 16,000 food-safety inspection reports from health departments that monitor the 111 professional football, baseball, basketball and hockey facilities across North America. The review of routine inspection reports from 2016 and 2017 found that at about 28 percent of the venues, half or more of the food service outlets incurred a high-level violation -- one that poses a potential threat for foodborne illness. Outside the Lines also calculated the average number of high-level violations per inspection at each venue, and compared that to the average for restaurants and other food outlets in the surrounding area, for the 82 venues for which we had community data provided by Hazel Analytics. Find your favorite stadium to determine how many high-level violations were found, how the stadium's inspection results compare to other eateries in the surrounding community, and notable samples of our findings. Read the full story.
rates than community
or more of outlets inspected
Inspections at some stadium venues turned up a higher percentage of trouble spots than at others. Here are the three venues that had the highest and lowest percentages of outlets where inspectors found at least one or more high-level violations.
* Venue now closed
Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
No inspections were completed in 2016 and just six in 2017.
Toyota Center, Houston
Instead of issuing an inspection report for each food service location, the health department writes up one inspection report for the entire facility in a way that they could not be broken out.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta
The new stadium, which opened in August 2017, had 122 initial inspections done before the venue opened. There were no routine inspections until 2018.
Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec
The health department provided only seven reports, of which five were routine inspections and two were in response to a complaint, for 2016 and 2017.
Types of Violations
Poor condition of food
Local health departments typically use a version of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Food Code, or comparable rules in Canada, to define food-safety violations; however, classifications of the severity of violations can vary among jurisdictions. For example, sometimes the same violation can be high level in one spot but not in another due to how pervasive it is -- a dead roach under a sink could be considered a low-level violation while live cockroaches crawling around popcorn can be a high-level violation. And some jurisdictions might simply designate certain violations as posing more, or less, of a risk to public health.
* Venue now closed
Research by Sandra Fish
Comparison data by Hazel Analytics
Illustrations by Todd Detwiler