Jerseys and throwback products popular purchases at training camp
BUFFALO, N.Y. (Aug. 27, 2008) – Delaware North Companies Sportservice and the Buffalo Bills have expanded the number of retail outlets at which fans can purchase apparel and other merchandise this season at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
"We wanted to make it easier for fans to shop for the jerseys and other Bills merchandise before, during and even after the game," said Beth Backus, Sportservice’s general manager at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Among the enhancements Sportservice has worked with the team to bring to the retail operation:
- Expansion of the main Bills Store at the front of the Field House. The store is open Monday through Saturday and on game days.
- Addition of a fourth fan store in the stadium parking lots.
- A new retail tent just inside Gates 2 and 3.
- In-seat retail service for Red Zone, Goal Line, M&T Bank and Time Warner Business Club ticket holders.
- Pre-order capabilities online for suite holders.
- Acceptance of credit cards at all retail sites.
Buffalo Bills jerseys and throwback merchandise were the fans’ top choices during the team’s recently completed training camp, Backus said.
"Buffalo Bills fans are very big into wearing their jerseys," she said. "You can see it in the crowd at games, and fans also love wearing them around town. There’s a strong jersey allegiance here, and it’s reflected in our sales."
Though replica jerseys have led sales, Backus said fans should consider the replithentic jerseys, which offer superior quality mesh polyester/cotton material with all of the lettering and numbers professionally sewn on in tackle and twill.
T-shirts have also sold well, and throwback apparel and commemorative items ? including jerseys, T-shirts, polo shirts, sweatshirts, hats, sideline gear, pennants, footballs, helmets, key chains and clocks ? are also moving well, she said.
"We have expanded the throwback line in response to its popularity with the fans," Backus said.
Sportservice, the longtime exclusive food service provider for the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium, began operating the Bills’ retail services in June. Sportservice also operates The Bills Store at Eastview Mall in suburban Rochester, the online shop at www.buffalobills.com and handled retail operations at Bills Training Camp this summer at St. John Fisher College near Rochester.
Known as an industry leader in operating concessions and premium food service at major professional sports venues nationwide, Sportservice in recent years has also built a portfolio of 14 major sports retail clients, including the Chicago Bears and Los Angeles Dodgers.
In addition, Sportservice this year set up massive retail operations almost from scratch for two iconic sporting events: the National Hockey League’s Winter Classic outdoor hockey game at Ralph Wilson Stadium and the Dodgers’ exhibition game against the Boston Red Sox at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Donna Genesky, a Western New York native with 20 years of retail experience, became Sportservice’s director of retail in early 2007. She said the company focuses on being responsive to fans’ tastes and preferences and on enhancing the in-stadium game-day experience.