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Yankees, Cowboys form partnership

Tweet [1]

steinbrenner-and-jones-photo.jpg [2]Received this press release today:


New Company to Become Premier Provider of Hospitality and Merchandising Services and Partner with Teams to Create Unparalleled Stadium Experiences for Fans


NEW YORK, NY October 20, 2008 – The New York Yankees, the Dallas Cowboys, Goldman Sachs and CIC Partners today announced that they have founded Legends Hospitality Management, LLC), a new company that will offer a broad range of sports business services. Legends’ initial focus will be on operating catering, concessions, retail merchandising and other facility management enterprises for major sports and entertainment facilities.

Led by Michael Rawlings, former President of Pizza Hut, Inc., Legends will offer differentiated solutions to create innovative, high-quality stadium experiences for fans.

Legends has been granted the exclusive right to operate concessions, catering and merchandising services at the new, state-of-the-art Yankees and Cowboys stadiums on a multi-year basis. Legends intends to expand beyond these anchor teams to provide its services to professional and college sports teams and other event facilities worldwide.

George M. Steinbrenner, Chairman of the New York Yankees said, “This partnership brings together two of the finest sports franchises and creates a business that will take advantage of their tremendous insight and expertise. No one knows their fans better and has a greater interest in providing them a great game-day experience. With both the Yankees and the Cowboys moving into new stadiums next season, this is certainly the right time to rethink our approach. Beyond that base, we are confident that other facilities and teams will be interested in what Legends can offer. I look forward to building a business with Jerry.”

Jerry Jones, Owner and General Manager of the Dallas Cowboys, stated, “Fans are increasingly voicing their opinion that they want and deserve more from a stadium experience – they want a winning team, but they also want a venue that truly complements the game and elevates the experience. We couldn’t agree more. Legends was founded on the principle that enhancing the stadium experience will result in a more satisfied fan base. Satisfied fans attend more games and show greater loyalty to their home team, which ultimately benefits franchises, players and their communities.”

“The old model of stadium concessions is broken,” stated Hal Steinbrenner, Co-Chairman of the New York Yankees. “Fans want and deserve a better experience for their sports entertainment dollar. Working with Legends to leverage the talent and experience resident in the Yankees’ and Cowboys’ organizations will enable us to set a higher bar for sports franchises while delivering greater value to fans. When the new Yankee Stadium opens for the 2009 season, our fans will be able to experience first-hand the enhancements to our menus, concessions, retail operations and fan spaces that Legends has overseen.”

“Our focus is on the fans,” said Stephen Jones, Chief Operating Officer of the Dallas Cowboys. “From a casual dining experience to feeding large crowds in mass quantities, or from selling the latest fan fashions at our specialty retail shops, our service delivery systems will be engineered to enable us to deliver quality services.”

Mike Rawlings, Chairman & CEO of Legends, added. “Quality is the hallmark of the Legends brand, and I am confident that the team of experienced professionals we have assembled will set the highest standards of quality and service in the industry. We are thrilled to be partnering with the New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys – two teams with reputations for innovation and value creation – as we create a new paradigm in sports concessions that will deliver unparalleled and affordable stadium experiences for fans.”

Legends, which will be headquartered in Newark, N.J., will be led by a strong and experienced management team. In addition to Mike Rawlings, Marty Greenspun will serve as President of Legends, and Daniel Smith will serve as Chief Operating Officer. Prior to joining Legends, Greenspun has served as the New York Yankees’ Senior Vice President, Strategic Ventures, and prior to that, among his other positions, he was Chief Operating Officer of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Smith was Senior Vice President for Eastern Area Operations for Centerplate. Legends’ Board of Directors will initially be comprised of 10 members, including representatives from the Yankees, the Cowboys, Goldman Sachs and CIC Partners.


What this means: Teams have traditionally provided concessions via an independent company such as Aramark or Centerplate. Those companies pay for the rights to operate in the stadiums.

The Yankees and Cowboys borrowed $100 million from Goldman Sachs and will form their own company to handle food, team stores, etc. at their new stadiums. Much of this will be to enhance the atmosphere in the suites. The company hopes to branch out to other teams, arenas and colleges.

By cutting out the middleman, the teams theoretically should make more money. This seems like a smart move by the Steinbrenners. Hal Steinbrenner spoke about a year ago about such ventures and Hank Steinbrenner, you may recall, once predicted the Yankees could work with the Red Sox. This is the kind of thing they were talking about.

In time, I suspect you’ll see teams share a cable network or a radio network. The Yankees and Cowboys reach across a lot boundaries and demographics.

Meanwhile, George Steinbrenner is apparently going for a Weekend At Bernie’s look as he meets Jerry Jones.