GENERAL NEWS

Two Arizona sports venues rank well in ESPN cleanliness study

Dec 13, 2018, 4:02 PM | Updated: 4:09 pm
(Arizona Sports/Kevin Zimmerman)...
(Arizona Sports/Kevin Zimmerman)
(Arizona Sports/Kevin Zimmerman)

Good news: If you like to enjoy stadium concessions when you’re taking in a game in the Valley, you’re in relatively safe hands.

A study from ESPN gathered food inspection data from 16,900 inspections at 111 North American sports venues. It ranked 107 of those stadiums (the other four had insufficient data) in order from lowest to highest percentage of food outlets inside the stadium that incurred a “high-level violation” in 2016 or 2017.

Out of those 107 stadiums, two of the venues in Arizona placed in the top 10: The Cardinals’ State Farm Stadium (eighth) and the Coyotes’ Gila River Arena (10th). The leading venue was Oracle Arena — the home of the Golden State Warriors — at just 1.12 percent, the best in North America by a good margin.

Only nine percent of food outlets at State Farm Stadium incurred a “high-level violation” in 2016 or 2017. Each stadium in ESPN’s study included examples of violations. For State Farm Stadium, the report said: “Inspectors saw an employee change gloves without washing his/her hands on Aug. 12, 2016,” and, “On June 7, 2016, inspectors noticed a slicer stored — as having been cleaned — with dried food on and around the blade.”

Not far behind the Cardinals’ home building was its next-door neighbor, Gila River Arena, which had a 9.52 percent violation rate. “On Aug. 3, 2016,” ESPN’s report read, “inspectors found an ‘accumulation of brown matter’ on soda nozzles. An employee cleaned them.”

The other two major professional sports venues in the Valley didn’t fare quite as well, but it could’ve been worse.

Chase Field and Talking Stick Resort Arena had high-level violation rates of 34.38 percent and 36 percent respectively, which were 57th and 58th out of 107 venues in the study. The worst-ranking venue was the Spectrum Center, the home of the Charlotte Hornets, which placed 107th with a 92 percent violation rate.

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Two Arizona sports venues rank well in ESPN cleanliness study