Following a competitive bidding process earlier this year, Delaware North has been awarded the contract to provide retail merchandising services and fulfill licensed product requirements at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in Melbourne, Australia.
The company is also leveraging the new 5-year contract with Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC), operators of the MCG, to launch a dedicated retail merchandising division to service existing and new customers in Australia and New Zealand.
“After nearly four decades of growth and providing hospitality and concession services to customers throughout Australia and New Zealand, now is the right time for Delaware North to bring its decades of global merchandising experience to existing and potential customers across Australia,” said Gary Brown, Delaware North’s managing director for Australia and New Zealand.
“Stewardship of merchandising at the MCG is an opportunity and honor that we are extremely grateful for. Delaware North’s culture and approach align with the MCC’s mission to foster the love of sport by creating experiences that inspire and cultivate connection and belonging. Our connection to Australia and Melbourne goes back more than 35 years, and we cannot imagine a more iconic institution than the MCC, or place than the MCG, as our foundation client,” Brown said.
Creating a world-class merchandising experience at the MCG was a key undertaking in Delaware North’s MCC pitch, with establishment of the new division independent of its hospitality division a critical part of the successful proposal. In March 2022, Delaware North began operating hospitality services at the MCG, which seats more than 100,000 people as the largest stadium in the Southern Hemisphere, hosting Australian rules football (Australian Football League), cricket, rugby and concerts.
“We are confident that Delaware North is the right company to take this part of our business into the future by enabling more members and fans the opportunity to take home their own part of the people’s ground, MCC Chief Executive Officer Stuart Fox said.
Under the contract, Delaware North will redesign the MCG Shop and match-day stands to provide immersive customer experiences that better showcase product lines for the leagues and clubs that play at the MCG. Technology upgrades will substantially improve speed of service and increase transactions through self-service point-of-sale kiosks, mobile order and pay, and a new customised website featuring MCC/MCG-focussed content and products.
These improvements will extend to innovative, outdoor match-day stands that will allow fans to interact with merchandise rather than ordering from behind a counter. The new, strategically configured outdoor store locations will better serve fans immediately before and after events, when they are most inclined to make a purchase. To help future proof the MCG, Delaware North’s winning proposal included master planning consultation and resources.
“We are confident our demonstrated merchandising expertise and capabilities will satisfy what is a very mature and sophisticated consumer market in Australia and New Zealand, where guests have high expectations for quality and value,” said Scott Socha, Delaware North group president for Parks and Resorts plus Australia and New Zealand operations. “It’s an honor to be able to extend our North American licenced products experience to customers in the region.”
Delaware North has decades of experience around the world in licenced products and retail merchandising, including for NFL, MLB, NHL. NBA and MLS teams. The company has also successfully managed merchandise operations at some of the most high-profile sporting events in the United States, such as the NFL Super Bowl, NHL Stanley Cup Final, NBA Finals, and MLB’s World Series. Delaware North’s experience also includes handling venue merchandise services for music legends such as the Rolling Stones, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Harry Styles and Taylor Swift.
Away from professional sports, Delaware North provides merchandising services at national parks, airports, resorts, casinos and cultural destinations. At locations such as Yellowstone National Park, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and Niagara Falls State Park, Delaware North is involved in the design, sourcing and retail sales of high-quality merchandise and licenced products. Sourcing products from local vendors forms an important part of bringing authenticity to every customer experience and transaction.
At airports worldwide, Delaware North is credited with raising standards and improving traveller retail experiences by building and fitting out stores shoppers would typically expect of stylish street-front destinations. The company’s airports merchandising team sources and creates unique, on-trend, and thoughtfully designed products for discerning shoppers.