SBJ/Jan. 13-19, 2014/Facilities

Ovations adds MLB, NFL accounts in Oakland

Editor's note: This story is revised from the print edition.

Ovations Food Services is taking over all food service at O.co Coliseum after agreeing to a three-year deal with the Oakland Athletics.

The two parties expect to sign a contract by next week, A’s President Mike Crowley said. The deal with Aramark for general concessions and premium dining expired at the end of the 2013.

Ovations Food Services agreed to a three-year deal at O.co Coliseum.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
The A’s selected Ovations after the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum Joint Powers Authority, the stadium’s governing body issuing the proposal for a food provider, gave the MLB team final approval for choosing the concessionaire.

The Raiders, the facility’s NFL tenant, were also involved in the process, Crowley said.

“The contracts were up and we put them out to bid,” he said. “Ovations was very aggressive in their offer … financially and otherwise.”

Ovations will make an investment as part of the deal, said Ken Young, the company’s president, but he declined to provide dollar figures.

The 48-year-old coliseum stands alone as North America’s last dual-purpose stadium for MLB and NFL teams. It generates $27 million to $35 million annually in gross food and drink sales, according to industry sources.

Crowley said another selling point for Ovations is that two of its vice presidents, Charlie Neary and Nick Nicora, live in Alameda County. Years ago, Nicora ran backstage catering for the late Bill Graham, the legendary Bay Area concert promoter.

Both executives live within a 15-minute drive of the stadium and will have a supervisory role over the operation, Young said. Jay Satenspiel moves from his regional office in Albuquerque, N.M., to become Ovations’ on-site general manager in Oakland.

For Ovations, a Comcast-Spectacor subsidiary, the coliseum represents its first MLB account outside of its five spring training clients since the company was founded in March 2000. The Raiders are the concessionaire’s second NFL client after the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“It’s extremely important for us to show as a company how we can take an older operation, do an excellent job and serve our customers well, and show the rest of MLB and the NFL what we can do,” Young said.

In addition, Ovations officials see the coliseum as a prime opportunity to get their foot in the door with the A’s and Raiders as the teams work independently to develop new stadiums, he said. No deals have been completed to build new facilities for both teams.

The first coliseum event for Ovations is Jan. 25, the date of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross tour. The first A’s game is March 29, a preseason game against San Francisco.

Oracle Arena sits next to O.co Coliseum and remains a Levy Restaurants account.

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