SBD/June 14, 2011/Facilities

Nationals Ready To Open New Miller Lite Scoreboard Walk Tonight

Lounge furniture has been placed throughout Miller Lite Scoreboard Walk area
The Nationals last night held an invitation-only VIP reception to open their new Miller Lite Scoreboard Walk, built in collaboration with Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group. First announced prior to the start of the season as part of a multiyear concessions deal between the team and USHG, the area located behind the main scoreboard at Nationals Park features locations from Blue Smoke, Shake Shack, El Verano Taqueria and Box Frites. Each includes a substantial bricks-and-mortar element that makes each location more resemble restaurant fronts rather than simply food stands. The official opening of the Scoreboard Walk, which also includes areas for bands and more comfortable seating, is slated for tonight's Cardinals-Nationals game. "We're trying to create additional unique experiences for fans at the ballpark, and this was definitely a big one for us," said Nationals COO Andy Feffer. Development costs for the Scoreboard Walk were not disclosed. "This is really going to look like a park within a park. I think we're going to have a destination unlike anywhere else, and I'm saying that without hyperbole." Meyer said the company's prior sports-related installations at Citi Field and Saratoga Casino & Raceway have helped expand the overall USHG business, and a similar dynamic is expected as a result of the Nationals Park effort. "We were at two Shake Shack locations when we opened at Citi Field. We're now at 11," Meyer said. "We love being part of the sports business. Food is obviously becoming a more important part of the overall game experience, why people go to events" (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).

PARK WITHIN A PARK: In DC, Dan Steinberg notes the area contains “distinctive storefront facades of the four eateries,” 15 trees, as well as plants and bushes, and “'park-like space' filled with synthetic turf meant to reflect baseball’s 'backyard origins.'” There also are 14 shades that can “reduce ambient temperature by up to 20 degrees,” a 15’x25’ screen behind the scoreboard and “lounge furniture throughout the area.” Feffer said, “I think it will become the iconic, defining element of Nationals Park, the thing people leave and say, ‘Did you see that?’” (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 6/14).
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