SBJ/March 19-25, 2012/Facilities

Aramark using new website, tag line to get message across

Don Muret
Aramark Sports and Entertainment has revamped its website with a new brand initiative to strengthen its position in food and retail operations.

The new site, www.aramarkentertainment.com, incorporates the tag line “Insight to Impact,” a phrase Aramark trademarked to put greater emphasis on the breadth of services it offers, said Marc Bruno, president of the company’s sports group.

Aramark officials think the site makeover and the message conveyed by the new tag line will provide current clients and potential new customers with a deeper understanding of the firm’s capabilities beyond serving hot dogs and beer at the ballgame.

The concessionaire has 29 accounts covering food and merchandise concessions and premium dining in MLB, the NFL, the NBA and the NHL, second only to Levy Restaurants, which has 37.

As a result, Aramark has compiled an extensive list of best practices and a large database of consumer research to help its clients increase per caps, but company officials think they can do a better job articulating how they can work with teams and facilities to generate more revenue.

“There hasn’t been a great way to package the way we go to market,” Bruno said. “There is a growing need to define ourselves better. The industry is more competitive, and we need to stay ahead.”

The influx of stored-value tickets, celebrity chefs partnering with teams to develop signature dishes and trucks serving street foods at ballparks, three trends where Aramark has been on the front end of development, are spelled out in case studies listed on the site.

“We also need to take better credit for things we do … as it translates to the fan experience,” Bruno said.

The official launch of the “Insight to Impact” campaign is today. Aramark’s upgraded website has been active since March 1.

The true measure of success will always revolve around a concessionaire’s on-site performance, said one industry expert. “A new website is always nice, but companies are going to be judged by their food and service at the account,” said food consultant Chris Bigelow.

WESTWOOD ONE: The sports executive responsible for marketing naming rights for Pauley Pavilion sold one of the first naming-rights deals for an arena.

In 1988, Joe Heitzler, now chairman and CEO of Entertainment Management Group, the agency UCLA hired for the job, was principally involved in selling naming rights to the Forum in Inglewood, Calif., to Great Western Savings & Loan. At the time, Heitzler was president of Forum Sports Entertainment, owner of the Lakers, Los Angeles Kings and the Forum, the arena his boss, Jack Kent Cooke, built in 1967.

“I guess that shows you how long I’ve been around in this business,” Heitzler said.

UCLA hired EMG in June over IMG College and Wasserman Media Group for the Pauley Pavilion assignment. The school has committed to keeping the name of the late Edwin W. Pauley, a state regent who helped pay for arena construction, in the facility’s new title.

Regardless of the restriction, EMG officials are confident a deal will be completed by the time the arena reopens in October after renovations are complete. A long-term deal to rename Pauley could sell for more than $2 million annually, Heitzler said.

EMG has narrowed the list of potential naming-rights partners to fewer than five and is vetting the candidates. Heitzler would not identify the companies and business categories because of nondisclosure agreements.

In his 38 years in sports, Heitzler’s stops have included CBS Sports, World TeamTennis and Championship Auto Racing Teams, where he was chairman and CEO from 2001 to ’04. Heitzler founded EMG in 2005.

DIAMOND ANNIVERSARY:
The Baltimore Orioles have launched a new website, www.camdenyards20.com, recognizing the 20th anniversary of Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

The site features an interactive timeline of highlights over the past 20 seasons at the ballpark, including the Eutaw Street Home Run Tracker, containing individual videos of the 57 home runs that have reached the stadium’s outfield food court.
The site has jerseys for sale with the same 20th anniversary right shoulder patch to be worn by Orioles players on the field this season.

In the coming weeks, the site also will have merchandise specific to Camden Yards for sale containing the phrase “The Ballpark That Forever Changed Baseball.” The Orioles trademarked the slogan for the park, which has influenced many others since it opened in 1992.

Don Muret can be reached at dmuret@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @breakground.

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