BUFFALO, N.Y. (April 23, 2012) – Every year, from Opening Day until the last out of the season, Delaware North Companies Sportservice delivers the best and latest trends in concessions and retail to Major League Baseball ballparks.
Sportservice served fans in all four venues during the American League Championship Series and National League Championship Series, and during each game of the 2011 World Series in St. Louis and Arlington, Texas. And in 2012, Sportservice continues its tradition of adding innovative dishes, branded restaurant concepts and award-winning retail spaces to the stadiums in which it operates.
Enhancing ballpark fare – especially with locally sourced ingredients – continues to be a big part of Sportservice’s mission. So is improving the overall fan experience. Sportservice spent the offseason bolstering the food and retail variety at each of the 10 ballparks in which it operates.
“With our chef-driven culture, Sportservice will continue to innovate in all areas of the ballpark,” said Sportservice President Rick Abramson. “Whether it’s concessions, suites or premium, we want to make sure the fans are eating top-grade food from sources they recognize.”
Abramson’s approach is working for the 90-plus-year-old Sportservice, which is now home in 10 Major League Baseball venues: Busch Stadium (St. Louis Cardinals), Rangers Ballpark in Arlington (Texas Rangers), Comerica Park (Detroit Tigers), Great American Ball Park (Cincinnati Reds), Miller Park (Milwaukee Brewers), Oriole Park at Camden Yards (Baltimore Orioles), PETCO Park (San Diego Padres), Progressive Field (Cleveland Indians),Target Field (Minnesota Twins) and U.S. Cellular Field (Chicago White Sox).
Among the highlights for the 2012 MLB season:
The upgrades for 2012 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington include a complete renovation of Vandergriff Plaza and much of the centerfield office building’s first floor – highlighted by the construction of the new 150-seat Batter's Eye Club, a Rangers-themed party suite that has an inclusive buffet; Captain Morgan Club, a 300-seat eatery with a variety of a la carte items; an indoor kid's zone located in a conditioned space; and additional concession stands. In addition, the visitors’ bullpen will be reconfigured, along with the neighboring bleacher seating. The ballpark upgrades total $11.5 million, encompassing more than 55,000 square feet.
In Baltimore, Sportservice looks to build off its year-one success from 2011 by introducing several new local favorites to the Oriole Park at Camden Yard’s concessions roster, including Gino’s Burgers & Chicken and Stuggy’s. Also new for 2012 is Dempsey’s 24: A new sports bar and grill named after Orioles legend Rick Dempsey, who will be active in operating the Eutaw Street eatery.
In November 2011, Sportservice opened the doors to the Chicago Sports Depot at U.S. Cellular Field – a 12,000-square-foot retail store. The $7 million new-build celebrates not only the home-venue Chicago White Sox, but many teams from the region, including the NFL Bears, NBA Bulls, NHL Blackhawks and a number of collegiate programs. Equipped with state-of-the-art technology, the Chicago Sports Depot features 77 video monitors and four video-walls – ensuring fans do not miss a single play of any game during their shopping experience. The signature element of the new store is its digital staircase, which showcases sports-related images as customers move to and from the second level. A variety of new food items are added to the 2012 menu, including the Balkan Dog, the Juicy Lucy stuffed burger and chicken wings tossed in Hooters brand sauce.
At PETCO Park in San Diego, Padres fans can look for The Monterey Chicken Hoagie: sliced chicken breast sautéed with peppers and onions, topped with Monterey jack cheese, julienne Roma tomato and shredded lettuce. Sportservice is also introducing a new fry and tater tot concept for 2012. Fries or tater tots will be served with the guests’ choice of special sauces, such as pomegranate aioli, sirracha sour cream, roasted garlic and rosemary aioli, chipotle ketchup, pesto aioli and sweet smoky mustard. Bull Taco, a local favorite, will offer several gourmet tacos. Hodads will feature a variety of burgers, including its signature Guido Slider. Lucha Libre will offer a variety of burritos and tacos.
Twins fans quickly learned of Sportservice’s commitment to local ingredients when Target Field opened in 2010. Ever since, the ballpark fare has grown steadily to become one of baseball’s best. This year, fans can expect a baked-potato bar featuring four varieties of jumbo potatoes and various toppings. Garlic fries, tasty skin-on fries, seasoned with a garlic and parmesan marinade, are sure to be a fan-favorite. SuperMom’s Mini Donuts will offer three varieties: powdered sugar, cinnamon, and cinnamon and sugar. Leeann Chin is serving up Minnesota’s favorite stir fry. Valentini’s Supper Club is offering its famous meatballs – with a twist. A top-selling item at the State Fair, deep fried pickle chips from The Preferred Pickle will be served with ranch dressing on the side.
The Sportservice team at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati will continue to ensure Reds fans are well fed. The ballpark’s dynamic sports bar, Machine Room, will feature a brand new gastro pub-style menu this year. Fans in general concessions will notice the addition of the State Fair Stand and a burrito stand, among other newcomers.