Bucs Sign Aramark To Operate Concessions, Merchandise At Raymond James Stadium
The Buccaneers have signed Aramark to a long-term deal to operate their food and merchandise at Raymond James Stadium, as well as run the team’s online retail. Aramark returns to the stadium eight years after the vendor was replaced by Levy Restaurants and Centerplate, respectively, to manage food and retail. Fine Host was the stadium’s original food provider when the building opened in ‘98 and Aramark assumed the contract after buying Fine Host for $100M in ‘02. Fanatics most recently ran the Bucs’ online operation. The Bucs requested a five-year deal with two five-year options in the proposal issued to vendors. The contracts are tied to a major stadium renovation that could include construction of a 13,000-square-foot team store and a tailgate village outside the facility. Bucs VP/Business Administration Brian Ford said Aramark’s contract, a six-year deal tied to a series of contract extensions, starts March 1. Ford refused to disclose Aramark’s investment, but sources familiar with the Bucs’ initial capital requests said that it is believed to be about $8M for upgrades both inside and outside the stadium (Don Muret, SportsBusiness Journal). In Tampa, Alexis Muellner noted the Bucs now have one company "handling not only food and beverage, but all retail and merchandising -- a chunk of business that has been handled by three different vendors for the last five to eight years." Aramark won the business over a field of "seven other companies after a process that began when the team made public a request for proposals designed to conceptualize a massive facelift of the game day experience from a fan’s perspective, including food and beverage and retail." Ford said Aramark won because it did “a phenomenal job of redesigning the outlets and the menus.” It also "wowed the Bucs brass with its vision for a plan well into the future, its willingness to be a partner in the planning for the physical renovation, its robust on-site management staffing and training commitments, and its ideas on using technology" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 1/28).