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Delaware North Companies Sportservice Named Exclusive Food Service Provider at Hartford’s XL Center by Northland AEG

Addition of home to UConn hoops and AHL Wolf Pack bolsters Sportservice arena portfolio

BUFFALO, N.Y. (August 14, 2008) – Delaware North Companies Sportservice has been named the exclusive food and beverage services provider at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn., the state’s largest indoor sports and entertainment facility.

The XL Center’s 16,500-seat Veterans Memorial Coliseum is the home of the Big East Women’s Basketball Championship and home away from home of national power University of Connecticut Huskies men’s and women’s basketball teams. The Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League also play at the XL Center, and the arena also hosts concerts, circuses, ice shows and other family entertainment and sporting events.

The XL Center’s 68,000 square feet of flexible exhibit and meeting space hosts exhibitions, trade shows, conventions, and conferences.

Sportservice will take over the concessions, premium dining and catering operations from Centerplate on Friday, Aug. 15, under an agreement with XL Center operator Northland AEG LLC. A year ago, the joint partnership began management of the XL Center, as well as the Wolf Pack’s business operations and Rentschler Field, home of the Huskies’ football team.

"Northland AEG is extremely pleased to add Delaware North Companies Sportservice to the team at the XL Center," said Charles Steedman, senior vice president and general manager of the XL Center.

"The timing of the partnership with Sportservice couldn’t be better. As we head into the fall hockey and basketball season, we will work hand in hand with Sportservice to enhance and expand our luxury product offerings. In addition to the many things that we are doing to enhance the customer experience, we will be rehabbing and repositioning concession stands and carts to create a brighter, more comfortable concourse with easier access to food stands.

"Sportservice has an excellent reputation for serving fans a wide variety of great food and delivering outstanding customer service," Steedman said.

Terms of the agreement are not being disclosed, but Sportservice is making an investment to enhance concession area functionality and aesthetics, complementing lighting and other improvements planned by Northland AEG.

The XL Center’s Comcast Coliseum Club features a 45-seat bar, a restaurant that can seat up to 180 gourmet dinner guests, and 302 tiered plush seats with available in-seat dining overlooking the arena floor. The Club Level seating area also features a restaurant and bar. Sportservice will also provide catering services for the center’s 46 executive suites and large Director’s Suite, which features dining and meeting space available for both event and non-event days.

"It’s great to be coming to Hartford and the XL Center, and we thank Northland AEG for the opportunity," said Sportservice President Rick Abramson.

"We look forward to expanding the XL Center’s selection of foods and beverages, including introducing some great new signature items. We’re focused on enhancing the experience for fans at the XL Center — from concessions to clubs and suites — with culinary excellence and outstanding customer service," Abramson said.

Founded in 1915, Sportservice provides concessions and premium dining at more than 50 sports venues, including those of eight Major League Baseball teams, four National Football League teams, six National Hockey League teams, and one National Basketball Association team. In late 2007, Sportservice began jointly operating the Grand Ballroom of the iconic Plaza Hotel in New York City. The company also operates at several convention centers, including the Wildwoods Convention Center in New Jersey.

In addition, Sportservice is part of Delaware North Companies, a global leader in hospitality and food service that operates at dozens of sports and entertainment venues, national and state parks, resort hotels and airports. Among the locations where Delaware North chefs operate highly regarded fine dining are The Ahwahnee at Yosemite National Park and The Balsams Grand Resort Hotel in New Hampshire.

"Delaware North and Sportservice have built a deep and talented culinary team that includes more than 100 professional chefs, many of whom are certified executive chefs with broad experience in preparing the finest foods for large groups," Abramson said.

He said Sportservice would be announcing the executive chef and menus for the XL Center as the basketball and hockey seasons begin.

Sportservice will also enhance customer service at the XL Center through implementation of Delaware North’s highly successful GuestPath® program, Abramson said. The program involves a continuous training, evaluation and improvement process designed to create a platform of excellence for guest service.

Delaware North also owns and operates TD Banknorth Garden, which Abramson said gives the company important perspective on its clients’ expectations in a food service partner.