The Washington Nationals has become the first major sports team in the US to offer complimentary meals to children.

The Major League Baseball (MLB) team’s Kids Eat Free programme runs from today (July 22) until the September 2 fixture against the New York Mets – some 22 games.

Fans aged 12 and under can pick up a complimentary meal pack worth $17 from two dedicated Kids Eat Free concession stands. They must be registered as a Jr. Nationals Kids Club member to receive the pack, which includes a hot dog, a choice of chips or applesauce, and a 12 oz. bottled water or soda.

“We are thrilled to launch this first-of-its-kind programme,” said Jake Burns, Nationals executive vice president (business operations).

“The Nationals are committed to providing the best gameday experience, and the Kids Eat Free programme will offer tremendous value for our fans.

“Attending a baseball game is a quintessential American experience. We hope that this initiative will encourage more families to come to Nationals Park and enjoy the national pastime in the nation’s capital.”

Kids Eat Free is the latest in a series of family-oriented amenities developed by the MLB team, including PenFed Kids Fun Zone and Kids Giveaways. Kids Run the Bases offers fans aged up to 12 the opportunity to run the bases following each Sunday day game.

Image: Washington Nationals / Keith Allison