By David Wade, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) — Being a sports fan in Boston is great, and expensive, too.  The tickets, the parking, the food…it all adds up. 

One Bruins season ticket holder was curious why something that was always free is no longer there. 

Al in Whitinsville Declared his Curiosity saying: “I noticed that TD Garden has removed all the water bubblers. Is this legal for a building this size not to have anything but overpriced bottle water?” 

We checked it out and found it is legal, but the Garden’s explanation doesn’t quite hold water.

On a Friday night, during a recent Celtics game, WBZ-TV producer Ken Tucci and videographer Tom Matteo took a walk around the Garden concourse where there are many concession stands.  They were looking for a free drink of water. 

We learned from TD Garden officials that over the past few years they took out all the water fountains saying they were “underutilized and vandalized.”  The last four came out this summer. 

The Garden sent us a statement with what looked like a solution:  “Complimentary serving cups of water are available at all concession stands on Levels 4, 5, 6, 7 and 9.” 

So we decided to try it out.  Our producer visited 10 different concession stands asking for that free cup of water, but it was always the same answer…no…no…no…and no. 

Several concession stand employees told us every cup is “inventoried” so they can’t hand them out.  If we wanted water we had to spend $4. 

The Garden statement also explained that the Guest Relations office on Level 4 would also supply “complimentary cups of water.”  

But when our producer visited that office he found a water bubbler….but it was empty. 

The Garden also says guests can get free water at the First Aid Office, but when we went there the door was closed, so we didn’t go in.

City inspectors told us there are no rules about water fountains at stadiums and arenas, so not having any in the Garden is not illegal.  But many fans told us they thought it was greedy. 

“I mean the water is pretty expensive in there,” said one Celtics fan.

We told the Garden what we experienced and again asked them to talk to us about this on-camera. 

Instead they sent us a second statement saying:  “The drinking water policy has been in place for all events.  Upon further review, it has come to our attention there has been inconsistent availability of these courtesy cups at concession stands and mixed messaging relative to the location of drinking water to our guests.  We are taking immediate steps to re-train our associates on the policy.  We apologize to our guests for the poor execution of this policy.”

So maybe the next time you go to the Garden you can at least get a free sip.

Comments (20)
  1. Elaine says:

    Our local MacDonald’s (Stoughton) started this a couple of years ago. I don’t know if they all do this,but we have not been there since this greedy practice started.

  2. Cynic says:

    Who the hell do they think they are Kidding?Freakin’Thieves!!!

  3. Mike Fitzgerald says:

    Years ago someone I know who worked concessions at the Garden told me that the common vic license in the city of Boston REQUIRES licensees to serve water on request at no charge. They may not be required to have water fountains but if this concessions person was correct, they’re in violation of their common vic license if they refuse to serve you free water. This particular person kept a separate stash of cups for people who asked for water (since they actually do inventory the cups for soda and/or beer and use those figures to determine how much money they should have). He also said that if you bought a soda or beer and brought back the empty cup, they’d fill it with water at no charge. They just couldn’t give you a soda or beer cup because of the way they track their sales.

  4. Cynic says:

    Remember when Fenway Park said that you couldn’t bring in your own bottle of water because of the “THREAT OF TERRORISM”. Are they still pullling that one?!!

  5. Cynic says:

    In the days Of the White Castle I used to get a kick out of the area supervisor.He would come in,take all the money out of the register,put in a new drawer,Count every cup,Hot dog wrapper and paper bag in the place and then leave for the next store.I was always tempted to ask if he had counted the sheets of Toilet paper in the mens room.

  6. EMC says:

    I’d have to be pretty thirsty to drink from a water fountain.
    Anyone and everyone before you could be dribbling their saliva onto the spout.
    No thanks
    Maybe it’s a girl thing?

  7. WKS says:

    Casino’s in Las Vegas don’t have clocks but at least they have ‘FREE’ drinking fountains! The TD garden is names after a bank and banks are greedy as hell now days.

  8. patty says:

    I’m going to the Bruins game tonight. I’ll let you know if I get a free cup of water!

  9. Joe Dokes says:

    I say every person at the game tonight asks for a free cup of water.

  10. krtucci says:

    Yes! Please let me know what happens.

  11. dave says:

    You’d think that for the price you pay for a ticket to an event, you could get a friggin’ cup of water. What’s next, no water to flush the toilets?

  12. Davidk says:

    They may think it’s not Illegal , but let’s a put a spin on this , what if you are a pesron that needs to take Medications ? I would think they would have to give you some water .
    Seeing as most events are close to $100 a seat , they really should have water fountains & let me guess , the “Damage” to these fountains happens during sports games ? Prosecute them & make them pay for any damage they are caught doing , they damage toilets too , are you going tao take those out ?

  13. Mary says:

    um, you can buy a case of water for $4.00.
    Just because it’s not illegal doesn’t mean it isn’t immoral.
    This is just another greedy practice designed to hijack the fans.

    Outrageous and predatory.

  14. Gail Salvatore says:

    I am on medication and I need water constantly and paying $4.00 a whack is not an option for me. How bout bringing your own collapsable cup and then going to the concession stand? Water is free and they can’t deny that. And if they refuse then they really have a case on their hands. Also if you are really thirsty take your collapsable cup to the sink in restrooms. It’s the same water that you would get at the concession stand anyway…. NO NO NO is not an answer that I will not tolerate especially when when you need water to take medicine or you are plain thirsty.

  15. Joe Guzzo says:

    Yes they are definately requiered by Mass State Plumbing Code 248 C.M.R., and all other National Plumbing Codes. They had absolutely no right to remove the drinking fountains. Boston Plumbing Inspectors should be notified, and order them reinstalled.

  16. Frank Walley Nashua NH says:

    There should be some type of government action (yea right like they are going to do something good for us) $4 for a bottle we’ll say 16 oz and a CASE of 24 16oz bottles goes for UNDER $4. That’s about $0.16 per bottle. Take the $4 per bottle times the 24 per case that’s $96 per case. That is a total rip off. We go many places where water is $1 maybe $1.75. Vending machines are about that. It;s a rip off on the ticket prices and its’ a bigger ripoff for charging an outrageous price for something we all need.

  17. Cynic says:

    So how did the Free Cup Of Water thing go?

  18. BostonIrish says:

    Yeah! Patty! What happened? Did you ask for a cup of free water????

  19. everest says:

    Who would really want to drink from all those fountains. Do you know how many mouths slobber all over them. How disgusting that is and full of disease and germs, is that a risk most want to take.

  20. Bev says:

    I was interviewed in that report and am happy to announce that I asked for water at two different concessions stands tonight at the Celtics game and they both asked if I saw the news report. The TD Garden is now supplying the concessions with cups so they can give water if someone asks. :-)

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