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Volume 21 No. 5

Facilities

Don Muret
Bon Appétit Management Co. has taken over general concessions at AT&T Park as the San Francisco Giants move to consolidate their food service with one vendor, team officials confirmed.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Bon Appétit, which is part of Compass Group, has run the premium dining at the ballpark since it opened in 2000, with Centerplate handling concessions. Starting with the 2018 season, Bon Appétit expands its operation to cover all parts of the 41,915-seat facility.

Last month, the Giants and Centerplate jointly announced they were parting ways after they could not agree on a contract extension. Centerplate’s relationship with the Giants dates to 1993 at Candlestick Park.

“We’ll have more information and a formal announcement after the New Year as we’re currently working out details during this transition period,” said Staci Slaughter, the team’s executive vice president of communications and senior adviser to CEO Larry Baer.

AT&T Park has developed a reputation for serving some of the best concessions fare in MLB. Under Bill Greathouse, Centerplate’s old general manager there, the vendor’s grilled crab sandwiches and garlic fries became signature items and were copied at other Bay Area venues. Greathouse is known as one of the best operators in the sports food business. To this point, it remains unclear whether he will remain in charge as a Bon Appétit employee.

The Giants’ move comes eight months after Bon Appétit and Levy, another Compass Group subsidiary, signed a multiyear deal with the Golden State Warriors to run the food operations at Chase Center, the team’s new $1 billion arena opening in 2019. The arena is about a mile south of AT&T Park.

Elsewhere, Bon Appétit has sports deals at two small colleges, the University of Santa Clara and the University of Portland. The bulk of its business is in corporate feeding, where its Silicon Valley tech clients include Google, Twitter, Oracle, LinkedIn and Uber.

A life-size replica of a subway car is the new hub for AmEx card holders at Barclays Center.
Photo by: MIKE LAWRENCE / BARCLAYS CENTER

> SUBWAY STOP: American Express has developed a New York subway-themed destination at Barclays Center as part of renewing its deal as an arena founding partner.

American Express Fan Central, the official name of the space, was unveiled in mid-November. It’s on the main concourse inside the arena’s north entrance.

The area is already branded for the credit card company, which has been a sponsor in Brooklyn since the building opened in 2012.

The centerpiece of the 600-square-foot space is a life-size replica of a subway train car, its interior set up with televisions, hightop tables and 40 phone charging stations. Momentum Worldwide, American Express’ advertising agency, designed Fan Central. The subway seats contain a colorful light package that bathes the space in electric blue and lavender hues to produce a nightclub feel.

“We were deep in renewal talks with American Express after five years as a partner and we were challenged to identify a platform for AmEx to engage with their customers in a new way,” said Joshua Pruss, senior vice president of partnership marketing for Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Nets. “We had space available on the main concourse that we previously used for one-off activations. We think it’s the first time a subway car has been built on a concourse inside an arena.”

The retrofit is open to all ticketed patrons on event nights. For American Express Platinum and Black card holders, Fan Central provides a place for them to check in for the chance to upgrade their seat to the Centurion Suite by American Express, a single-game group space on the first suite level.

The suite upgrades are free and available to the first 50 members checking in at the concierge desk at Fan Central, Pruss said. Food and drink is a separate fee.

At Fan Central, arena officials work with the sponsor to schedule pregame appearances by Nets and Islanders legends such as Buck Williams and Bob Nystrom, Pruss said.

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