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Kristin Gumper


Sight, Taste and Smell of Roasting Peanuts Returns to the Ballpark with In-Stadium Peanut Roasters

BUFFALO, N.Y. (March 26, 2008) – “Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack; I don’t care if I never get back!” Those words will once again ring true on Opening Day as the sight, smell and taste of hot roasted peanuts fill Sportservice stadiums.

Delaware North Companies Sportservice, the oldest sports hospitality provider in the U.S., which has been serving up hot dogs, popcorn, peanuts and other baseball fare for more than 90 years at the country’s most prestigious stadiums, is proud to re-introduce hot roasted peanuts, toasted on site at eight Major League Ballparks across the country on Opening Day. In 2008, when fans visit a Sportservice ballpark, they’ll hear the sizzle and smell the delicious, distinct aroma of roasting peanuts before taking in the sight of the cart-top roasters toasting the nation’s highest-quality peanuts to perfection.

Who better to bring true roasted peanuts back to baseball than the company that introduced so many fans to pretzels and Cracker Jack? And who better than the company that is now led by Rick Abramson, the man who worked his way up from a vendor, hawking these tasty treats at Milwaukee County Stadium at Milwaukee Brewers games in the ‘70s?

“Delaware North Companies has a rich history in the concessions business and actually got a strong start by selling popcorn and peanuts,” said Rick Abramson, president of Delaware North Companies Sportservice. “Sportservice has always served the highest-quality peanuts in the nation, but for many years they have been roasted only off site, then packaged and delivered to the vendors at the stadium. In our continued pledge to take our food offerings to the highest levels, we have made a commitment this year to having fresh, hot roasted peanuts at all of our Major League venues.”

“We know the aroma of peanuts roasting is a smell that takes many people back to their childhoods, and the great memories they have of spending their summers at the ballpark,” added Abramson. “So this year, these new roasters will bring those traditional sights, smells and tastes back, creating all new memories for today’s fans. There aren’t too many places in the world that can say they offer hot roasted peanuts – and we’re proud of the fact that Sportservice ballparks will now be one of them.”

Even though it’s a deliberate process to warm roasted peanuts for large numbers of fans, it’s something that Sportservice is dedicated to doing. The aroma of hot roasted peanuts is a smell that welcomes fans to the ballpark and makes them feel at home. (The popular, pre-roasted and bagged peanuts will continue to be available in 2008 and beyond. In 2007, Sportservice sold more than 1.1 million bags of peanuts at its venues.)

To further ensure the quality of this tried-and-true concourse cuisine, Delaware North Companies Sportservice has gone to extensive lengths. In fact, during the 2007 Major League Baseball off-season, Sportservice Corporate Chef Rolf Baumann did what few other chefs have done before: He traveled to North Carolina to personally follow the path of the peanuts from the farm to the grandstand. (View the YouTube footage here.) For the food that defines American’s favorite pastime, Baumann considers the trip part of Sportservice’s larger commitment to preserving the All-American ballpark experience.

“My Sportservice colleagues and I continue to take a hands-on approach to the food we serve – even after 90 years in the business,” said Baumann. “From visiting the farm where our peanuts are grown, to purchasing in-stadium peanut roasters for all of our stadiums so that fans can enjoy the sight, smell and taste of traditional hot roasted peanuts, Sportservice takes extra care in making ballpark fare extra special for our fans.”

Over the years, Sportservice has held true to the tradition of providing some of the best ballpark staples in the industry, but also has led the way in bringing new tastes to ballparks, too. The company has consistently reinvented ballpark food, introducing low-fat, low-carbohydrate and chef-prepared items along with local flavors and spices, fresh options and made-from-scratch delicacies. One thing that’s stood the test of time is the hot dog – still fans’ top choice!

Baseball clients served by Sportservice are a regular “Who’s Who” of Major League teams, including: the Cleveland Indians (Progressive Field); the Texas Rangers (the Rangers Ballpark at Arlington); the San Diego Padres (PETCO Park); the St. Louis Cardinals (Busch Stadium); the Milwaukee Brewers (Miller Park); the Chicago White Sox (U.S. Cellular Field); the Cincinnati Reds (Great American Ball Park); the Detroit Tigers (Comerica Park); and retail for the Los Angeles Dodgers (Dodger Stadium). The company also provides foodservice at more than a dozen spring training and Minor League parks in Illinois, Arizona, Ohio, Florida, California, Texas, Missouri and Pennsylvania.

About Delaware North Companies Sportservice
Delaware North Companies Sportservice is one of the nation’s leading food, beverage and retail management companies, providing concessions, gourmet catering and fine dining operations at more than 50 professional sporting venues, entertainment complexes and convention centers across the United States and Canada. Sportservice is the provider of choice for an impressive client roster including the World Series, the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball's All-Star games, Stanley Cup Championships and the Olympic Games.

For more than 90 years, Sportservice has demonstrated that it knows what it takes to effectively develop, operate and manage multi-faceted kitchens, restaurants, suites, fine dining and retail facilities in order to meet the changing demands of today's fans. From introducing healthier food selections and creative cuisine to twists on traditional fare and new organic options, Sportservice continues to innovate and enhance the fan experience.

About Delaware North Companies
Delaware North Companies is one of the world’s leading hospitality and food service providers. Its family of companies includes Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, Delaware North Companies Gaming & Entertainment, Delaware North Companies Travel Hospitality Services, Delaware North Companies Sportservice, Delaware North Companies International and Delaware North Companies Boston, owner of TD Banknorth Garden. Delaware North Companies is one of the largest privately held companies in the United States with revenues exceeding $2 billion annually, and 40,000 associates serving half a billion customers in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.  For more information, visit

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