Sportservice Teams to Deliver Memorable Take-home Experiences
Buffalo, N.Y. (March 25, 2008) – As baseball’s Opening Day approaches, Delaware North Companies Sportservice is poised to hit retail out of the park with expanded operations at major league stadiums across the country presenting hand-picked, exclusive retail offerings and personalized game-day gear.
Indeed, fans at ballparks where Sportservice is the team’s retail partner will see a broad selection of retail options in 2008, including many unique items available exclusively at ballpark retail stores. In many stadiums, fans will have the opportunity to customize jerseys – from the logo to the sleeve length – and walk away with one-of-a-kind shirts showcasing individualized team spirit. A matchless Swarovski encrusted baseball cap is also bringing “bling” to one lucky Cardinal crown in St. Louis, and for a limited-time, memorabilia and apparel commemorating the 25th anniversary of the beloved 1983 White Sox is available and promises to be all the rage in Chicago.
“From signed baseball bats fresh from the game, to personalized, custom-fit jerseys delivered fieldside, 2008’s offerings offer unprecedented opportunities to capture the magic of the game and demonstrate team spirit,” points out Jeff Hess, vice president of retail at Delaware North Companies. “We’ve handpicked an exclusive collection of meaningful keepsakes, which capture the essence of a team’s brand and the fans’ love for their teams. We understand what fans want and are exceeding those expectations, which has led to an increase in demand and expanded retail opportunities going into the 2008 season.”
A steady increase in demand for such ballpark retail has prompted Sportservice to add new team stores at several stadiums across the country and update point-of-sale systems. At the Cincinnati Reds’ Great American Ball Park and the Milwaukee Brewers’ Miller Park, fans will be greeted with expanded retail spaces and new stores. The Chicago White Sox’ U.S. Cellular Field, Milwaukee Brewers’ Miller Park and St. Louis Cardinals’ Busch Stadium will showcase the custom T-shirt shops.
"The teams associated with us are obviously seeing the benefits of continued sales stemming from the in-stadium experience that we have created at our retail stores,” said Donna Genesky, retail director for Delaware North Companies Sportservice. “The interiors of our stores are becoming more and more dynamic and eye-appealing, incorporating the design and brand of the ballpark and the teams that play there, making it a winning combination for the teams and customers.”
According to Hess, Sportservice’s success is built on its responsiveness to fans’ tastes and preferences and commitment to enhance the game-day experience, one fan at a time. In fact, Sportservice has seen revenue from its retail operations triple since 2002, as it has applied retail expertise garnered through its significant parks and airport retail operations. In all, Delaware North now operates more than 300 retail outlets at locations in the United States and several other countries.
In 2008, Sportservice is stocking stores with more sophisticated, trendy team clothing in new sizes, performance wear and historic mementos, including the following:
Cincinnati Reds’ Great American Ball Park
The third-base side at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati will see an increase in fans looking to shop this season with the addition of a 5,000-square-foot game-day store appropriately named The Game Day Team Shop. The Reds’ Team Shop by Majestic (the existing, year-round store on the first-base side that is open daily) displays two giant 30-foot Louisville slugger bats, an oversized replica World Series trophy and five gigantic baseballs commemorating the Reds’ five World Series wins.
In addition to traditional apparel and mementos, merchandise commemorating Ken Griffey Jr.’s potentially upcoming milestone 600th home run will be among the offerings available to Reds’ fans this season. Griffey has 593 home runs heading into the season and knocked out 30 last year.
Chicago White Sox’ U.S. Cellular Field
At U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago White Sox fans will be greeted on Opening Day by a new custom T-shirt shop located on the upper deck. The new space joins a sister store on the lower level. From personalized replica White Sox jerseys to hoodies, custom-designed tank tops, high-end collectibles, framed art and MLB-authenticated, autographed items, both stores will have an all-star lineup of exceptional merchandise. For the July 4 game against Oakland, camouflage-printed jerseys and T-shirts matching the White Sox’ gear, which honors the military during our nation’s Independence Day, will be available for purchase.
Sportservice will also help the White Sox honor the 25th anniversary of its charismatic 1983 team that won the American League West title. The team captured the nation’s attention with its slogan and passion for “Winning Ugly,” before losing in the league championship series. Delaware North has worked with the organization and brands such as Banner and Gear to develop an apparel line with the White Sox’ 1983 batter-man logo, which will be available exclusively at retail outlets in the stadium.
Detroit Tigers’ Comerica Park
With five Tigers merchandise stores in Comerica Park, fans in Detroit will have their top pick of official Tigers’ souvenirs. Media guides are available during all home games. For fans shopping on non-game days for gifts and pre-game gear, the main retail store on Witherell near Adams is open Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Los Angeles Dodgers’ Stadium
Featuring a wide assortment of exclusive Dodger novelties, caps, jerseys, jackets and memorabilia, Dodger Stadium features three stores poised for a perfect opener. Even Hollywood’s most infamous shoppers won’t run out of options at The Top of the Park Store, field and loge-level team stores, which are open Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday, noon – 5 p.m. A variety of mementos for fans to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Los Angeles Dodgers making their move to Los Angeles from Brooklyn will be available all year long at the Dodger Stadium stores.
Milwaukee Brewers’ Miller Park
Milwaukee Brewers fans will treasure a brand new retail store at the main entrance to Miller Park. Additionally, custom baseball-wear, which is all the rage in Milwaukee and across the country, will be available at two new custom T-shirt stations: one in the Big League Last Store and a second on the upper deck. For fans looking for a twist to the beloved “M” logo, the team store will continue sales of the wildly popular retro Milwaukee Brewers logo.
St. Louis Cardinals’ Busch Stadium
The newly renamed “Fan’s Nest on Broadway” will offer personalized jerseys, completed and delivered to fans as they watch the game. The Official Cardinals Team Store and satellite stores will have a smattering of new Fredbird (the team’s mascot) memorabilia, including the Busch Stadium-exclusive Fredbird stuffed animals, ranging from 11 inches to an oversized 36 inches. A wider range of clothing sizes will also be available – from X-Small to XXXX-Large – for both men and women. Mrs. Potato Head joins her ever-popular husband, Mr. Potato Head, for $20. High-end items include a new assortment of collectible glassware and glassware sets, artwork and a Swarovski crystal-encrusted baseball cap for $2,500.
San Diego Padres’ PETCO Park
The Padres’ Majestic Team Store located on the first floor (street level, section 126) of the Western Metal Supply Co. building offers a winning selection of official San Diego Padres merchandise. Fans eager to see every moment of the game will enjoy the team stores ideal layout, which offers standing room viewing on the left field warning track immediately adjacent to the outfield fence, literally inches from the action. On game days, the Padres’ Majestic Team Store is open from 10 a.m. until one hour after the conclusion of each home game. On non-game days, the Padres’ Majestic Team Store is open from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily, except on Sundays.
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Exhibition Game
On the heels of the Jan. 1, 2008, NHL Winter Classic event, Sportservice is planning another massive retail operation built from the ground up. The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum will host an exhibition game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and World Series Champion Boston Red Sox, which is expected to draw more than 100,000 fans on March 29, 2008.
The game marks the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 50th anniversary season since moving from Brooklyn, N.Y. The team played at the Memorial Coliseum for three seasons (1958-1961), setting a number of single-game attendance records at the 90,000-plus-seat venue, before Dodger Stadium opened in 1962. Sportservice is on tap to provide a variety of mementos to fans to commemorate the occasion, including 50th anniversary jerseys and caps.