Longtime sports hospitality company to bring new and exciting food options to
The Baltimore Orioles and Delaware North Companies Sportservice today announced a 12-year partnership in which the global hospitality management company will provide food, beverage and retail merchandise services at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Sportservice will manage all concessions, catering, dining operations and retail stores and kiosks within the ballpark, including Eutaw Street.
“Oriole Park is the standard-bearer for major league ballparks, and it is fitting that our concessions and retail operations be held to the same standard,” said Orioles Director of Communications Greg Bader. “The fan experience is extremely important to both the Orioles and Delaware North Companies, and we expect that everyone will benefit from this new partnership through expanded food and retail options, quicker transactions and significant facility upgrades.”
Sportservice has a strong reputation in the industry for its culinary expertise and innovative concessions concepts. In addition, its customer service program, GuestPath®, is highly regarded by the teams with which it works, as is its environmental management program, GreenPath®.
“Delaware North Companies is honored to become a partner of the Orioles organization and to have the opportunity to enhance the food and beverage offerings at the ballpark that set off a wave of new thinking about sports venues across America,” Sportservice President Rick Abramson said. “Baltimore and the region are known for great food, and we are eager to add more menu items at the ballpark that celebrate local fare. Fans can count on Delaware North Companies for the highest level of service and culinary excellence when they come to Camden Yards.”
The Orioles and Sportservice will collaborate on an $11 million project to redesign and enhance the food and beverage stands at the ballpark, the first effort of this magnitude since Camden Yards opened in 1992. As part of the investment, new concessions-related technology will be added, including a new point-of-sale system for faster transactions and new grills and other equipment so more food can be prepared fresh in front of fans. Additional details on the ballpark enhancements and culinary options will be provided throughout the offseason, as we get closer to Opening Day.
Abramson plans on touring a number of restaurants and food companies in the greater Baltimore area in the coming months as he works with Sportservice’s top culinary executives and chefs, as well as the Orioles, to identify new concepts for the ballpark while preserving fan favorites such as Boog’s BBQ and Esskay hot dogs on the Oriole Park menu. The company’s chefs are mentored by Delaware North Corporate Chef Roland Henin, a highly regarded certified master chef. Sportservice can also draw upon its relationship with Food Network for menu development and offerings.
Sportservice plans to bolster the size of the food and retail staff at Camden Yards in order to provide more fresh preparation of food, ensure that customer service meets the Orioles’ and the company’s high standards, and prepare for the team’s continuing resurgence. The Orioles and Sportservice have great respect for the hard-working concessions personnel at Oriole Park. Sportservice looks forward to interviewing the non-management employees of the former concessionaire who are interested in employment.
Sportservice also will continue to work with Baltimore-area nonprofit groups to provide volunteers to operate some of the concessions. Sportservice has been operating its own non-profit group program at ballparks and other sports venues for nearly two decades, and in recent years helped groups raise more than $12 million a year to support their organizations and charitable work.
“We are committed to the City of Baltimore and the state of Maryland, and to helping the Orioles continue to be a positive economic force by enhancing Camden Yards as a model entertainment experience that draws Orioles fans and visitors from the region and beyond,” Abramson said.
Over the next few years, Sportservice will improve the retail operations at Oriole Park as well. The Orioles Store on the first floor of the Warehouse will undergo several enhancements, including redesigned merchandise displays, a broadening of the merchandise available and emphasis on year-round activity to complement ballpark tours and other nearby museums and attractions.
Sportservice has extensive experience completing successful enhancements of concessions in professional sports facilities. In the past year alone, the oldest name in sports hospitality has developed concessions concepts and entire food and beverage programs for such highly regarded new venues as the Minnesota Twins’ Target Field and the New Meadowlands Stadium, home of the New York Jets and Giants.
The company has a long history with professional baseball, having obtained its first Major League concessions contract with the Detroit Tigers in 1930, the beginning of an 80-year relationship that is still going strong. In the 1950s, Sportservice added two other teams as clients, the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds, both of which have continued with Sportservice at three different ballparks. At that time, Sportservice also began a long relationship with the Orioles, serving as the concessionaire at Memorial Stadium for several decades.
Sportservice operates at more than 50 professional sporting venues, including 23 in major professional sports for 25 different franchises. In addition to the Twins, Tigers, Cardinals and Reds, Sportservice’s other Major League Baseball partners include the Chicago White Sox, Milwaukee Brewers, Cleveland Indians, San Diego Padres and Texas Rangers. In addition to the New Meadowlands Stadium, Sportservice operates at Chicago’s Soldier Field and other National Football League venues, and TD Garden and other National Hockey League and National Basketball Association venues.
Delaware North Companies also operates food and beverage services at some of the premier sports venues in the world outside of the United States: Wembley Stadium and two other facilities in the United Kingdom, plus the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament at Melbourne and Olympic Parks and several other stadiums and arenas in Australia and New Zealand.