SBJ/Jan. 12-18, 2015/Events and Attractions

Legends staffs up and cooks up king-size effort for championship game

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Legends Hospitality officials put the College Football Playoff championship on par with the Super Bowl’s food and drink operation.

Officials said they expect a crowd of 75,000 to 80,000 for Monday’s title game between Oregon and Ohio State at AT&T Stadium.

“The template is identical to Super Bowl,” said Michael Bekolay, Legends’ senior vice president in north Texas. As a result, Legends, the stadium’s food and retail provider, has increased staffing by 35 percent over a typical Dallas Cowboys game, which translates to an additional 600 employees working the stadium, including the Championship Tailgate party and concert outside the facility.

All told, the vendor will employ more than 4,000 workers, a total covering full-time and part-time employees, including nonprofit groups, Bekolay said.

 
More than 50 Legends general managers from across the country will work the game, Bekolay said.

Legends officials anticipate serving roughly 10,000 guests through catered functions in the building as well as the 9,000 patrons distributed
 
New eats for the title game (clockwise from top left): cheddar cheese curd burger, reuben on pretzel roll, jalapeno sausage, all $15, and shrimp po’ boy, $20.
Photo by: LEGENDS (4)
among the stadium’s 300-plus suites.

AT&T Stadium has a multitude of hospitality spaces inside the building to accommodate most catered events, Bekolay said.

The Championship Tailgate is one exception. The parking lot event is free to all fans holding tickets to the game and features a concert by the Zac Brown Band. ESPN will set up its broadcast sets from the tailgate. The party there starts at noon local time and runs until 6 p.m.

Legends will sell items at the tailgate at themed food stands with celebrity chefs such as frymaster Abel Gonzales and Ivan Pugh.

Facility Merchandising Inc. holds the CFP’s retail contract, but Legends is running the on-site merchandise operation as a subcontractor in partnership with FMI.

In the premium areas, Legends will be doing something new, using tablets programmed with FMI’s customized mobile application for those patrons to order merchandise, Bekolay said. Legends will use its own handheld devices tied to NCR’s point-of-sale system to help reduce lines at concession stands.

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