BUFFALO NEWS: Legends wins Bills stadium food and beverage contract

Via Buffalo News

Buffalo Bills Stadium

The sports consulting firm Legends has already been shaping the new Buffalo Bills stadium on the inside and out, from concept to design to sales.

Now the company is entering a long-term partnership with the Bills, one that will make Legends, which was co-founded by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, a significant and ongoing player in Western New York.

Legends Hospitality has been awarded the food and beverage rights for the new stadium, which is scheduled to open in 2026.

Legends was selected from a field of four bidders, which included Sodexo, Levy Restaurants and the Buffalo-based Delaware North Cos., which has held the Bills stadium contract since 1992.

“They clearly have shown the ability to understand our marketplace at a very high level,” said Ron Raccuia, the Bills’ executive vice president and chief operating officer. “Overall, we felt they offered us the best opportunity to deliver the type of food and beverage experience that we know our fans want in the new stadium.”

Terms of the deal, which Raccuia describes as a “long-term agreement,” were not disclosed.

“The Bills have a great vision, great understanding of the business and great knowledge of the market and their fans,” Tomon said. “When the fans approach this, they’ll sit back and think, ‘they thought of everything.’ “

Landing the contract, which Bills officials revealed Tuesday night to The Buffalo News, is a major win – if an unsurprising one – for Legends. The company is already working with the Bills and the architectural firm Populous on the design of the new stadium. Legends is also overseeing sales for the $1.54 billion facility, including the marketing of personal seat licenses and naming rights, and has conducted multiple studies of the Buffalo market and the Bills fan base.

“They’ve spent a lot of time with our fans on surveys, in small group settings, in Western New York,” Raccuia said. “We feel very confident in their knowledge of our fan base and what we’re trying to deliver for an unbelievable Bills fan experience.”

Each of the bidders responded to an RFP (request for proposal) last year with a written document that Raccuia describes as a “vision statement.” That was followed by a series of interviews that probed into their philosophies on food and menu development, pricing strategy and approach to catering on non-game days. They discussed finances, leadership structure and sales strategies. Bills officials also visited venues run by each of the four finalists – sometimes officially, other times unannounced.

Following a trend in sports arenas, the Bills’ menu will have what Raccuia calls a “hyperlocal” focus that celebrates Western New York cuisine. He noted that all the finalists’ proposals “really nailed the local aspect of it,” and added, “Where I believe Legends was perhaps a little better than the rest on there was understanding how that fit into all the other things that we’re doing: How it fit into beverage service. How it fit into pre-game. How it fit into a postgame type of environment. It was one step different than some of the others.”

Legends handles food and beverage for several venues, including Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, AT&T Stadium in Dallas and SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, where it integrates local cuisine into both everyday concessions and high-end, restaurant-style clubs.

In an email to The News on Tuesday night, Dan Smith, the president of Legends Hospitality, said, “Legends is proud to expand our long-term partnership with the Buffalo Bills to deliver a best-in-class hospitality experience for Bills Mafia at games, showcasing the very best Buffalo has to offer and beyond.”

Delaware North will continue running the food and beverage program at Highmark through the 2025 season. The decision puts a dent in Delaware North’s portfolio, although with $3.8 billion in revenues last year and operations around the world, it’s likely one the company can absorb. Delaware North officials couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

“Delaware North has been a great partner of ours,” Raccuia said. “I can’t say anything but great things about what they’ve done for us and what they will continue to do over the next three years, their professionalism in this process, and their commitment to Western New York.”

The new stadium, which will be located across the street from the current venue, will have significantly more food offerings than Highmark. The Bills also hope to host non-football events “a couple hundred times a year,” Raccuia said, noting that the hiring Legends will likely expand local hiring to meet that need.

This spring, Legends also took over operations of the current Buffalo Bills store, a year-round retail shop located at Highmark Stadium, from Delaware North Cos. Raccuia noted that the former Delaware North employees have joined Legends, which has “expanded that business. We feel the same thing will happen with food and beverage.”

Soccer Champions Tour Announces New U.S. Summer Series Featuring Real Madrid CF, FC Barcelona, Juventus, AC Milan, Arsenal, and Manchester United

Global soccer giants set to face off in major U.S. markets from July 22 – August 2

Series backed by new Sixth Street portfolio company built to bring epic soccer matchups to local fans around the world

Soccer Champions Tour presented by DIRECTV

Soccer Champions Tour today announced the launch and schedule for a new series of games featuring six of the world’s most iconic soccer clubs to be played this summer in major markets across the United States. Spain’s Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, Italy’s Juventus Football Club and AC Milan, and England’s Arsenal and Manchester United will compete in eight matches between Saturday, July 22, and Wednesday, August 2, 2023.

The 2023 Soccer Champions Tour is the first time these six clubs, which hold among them 31 European trophies, have participated together in a U.S. series. The eight fixtures will take place in host market stadiums in Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando, and San Francisco.

Highlights of the 2023 Soccer Champions Tour include Spanish giants Real Madrid and FC Barcelona meeting in Texas for the first time ever at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys; Manchester United and Real Madrid facing off for the first time since 2018; FC Barcelona and Arsenal competing in a rematch of the 2006 European final; and Italian rivals AC Milan and Juventus playing each other in California for the first time in their more than 120-year histories.

Soccer Champions Tour was created by a newly formed company of global investment firm Sixth Street to support the continued global growth of top-tier sports franchises by organizing high-profile, competitive events for the millions of fans that live outside the domestic markets of the biggest clubs.

“We are proud to be partnering with the world’s most storied clubs, which have the world’s strongest and most passionate supporters, to provide this rare opportunity for American fans to experience the game at the highest level,” said Alan Waxman, Co-Founder and CEO at Sixth Street. “While this year’s tour consists of men’s clubs, we look forward to expanding next summer to bring the world’s best women’s clubs to local audiences around the globe, and in the future to evolve this series into a format with real games of consequence.”

In addition to men’s and women’s professional club matches, the tour also intends to organize elite youth academy competitions in the years to come.

Soccer Champions Tour is working closely with global premium experiences company Legends to bring these marquee matchups and elevated in-game experiences to local fans of the game.

Added Shervin Mirhashemi, CEO, Legends: “Legends is proud to bring fans of the beautiful game this unforgettable experience this summer and deliver a fan experience that will match the world-class soccer on the pitch. We can’t wait to see stadiums filled across the United States with fans cheering on some of the best clubs in the world as they compete in the Soccer Champions Tour.”

The 2023 Soccer Champions Tour is being produced in partnership with AEG, the world’s leading sports and live entertainment company.

“AEG is excited about the partnership with Soccer Champions Tour and Legends to bring the most successful soccer clubs in the world to fans across the U.S.,” said Tom Braun, Sr. Vice President, Soccer & Business Operations and Business Development at AEG. “Every matchup in this series is of the highest caliber and we’re thrilled that American soccer fans will have the opportunity to see these epic games featuring legendary teams live and in person.”

Soccer Champions Tour Schedule
Saturday, July 22
FC Barcelona vs. Juventus at Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA

Sunday, July 23
Real Madrid vs. AC Milan at The Rose Bowl Stadium, Pasadena, CA
Wednesday, July 26
Arsenal vs. FC Barcelona at SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA

Wednesday, July 26

Real Madrid vs. Manchester United at NRG Stadium, Houston, TX

Thursday, July 27

Juventus vs. AC Milan at Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, CA

Saturday, July 29

FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid at AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX

Tuesday, August 1

AC Milan vs. FC Barcelona at Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, NV

Wednesday, August 2

Juventus vs. Real Madrid at Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL

Exclusive pre-sale tickets will be available starting Tuesday, May 16, with the general on-sale ticket access beginning on Friday, May 19. For access to the pre-sale, all fans are invited to sign up at www.SoccerChampionsTour.com. All individual game and venue-specific information is also available at the tour website and fans can follow @TheSCTour on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter for updates.

The matches remain subject to approval by the relevant football authorities.

Spanish Press Release

Soccer Champions Tour Anuncia Nueva Serie de Verano en EE. UU. con los Clubes de Fútbol Real Madrid CF, FC Barcelona, Juventus, AC Milan, Arsenal y Manchester United

 Gigantes del fútbol mundial se enfrentarán en mercados principales de EE. UU. del 22 de julio al 2 de agostoLa serie está respaldada por la nueva empresa de cartera financiera Sixth Street creada para proveer enfrentamientos de fútbol épicos a los aficionados de todo el mundo

Soccer Champions Tour anunció hoy el lanzamiento y el calendario de una nueva serie de partidos con seis de los clubes de fútbol más emblemáticos del mundo que se jugará este verano en varios mercados principales de los Estados Unidos. Real Madrid y FC Barcelona de España, Juventus y AC Milan de Italia, y Arsenal y Manchester United de Inglaterra competirán en siete partidos entre el sábado, 22 de julio al miércoles, 2 de agosto de 2023.

El Soccer Champions Tour es la primera vez que estos seis clubes, que tienen entre ellos 31 trofeos europeos, participan juntos en una serie estadounidense. Los ocho partidos se llevarán a cabo en mercados anfitriones de Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Ángeles, Orlando y San Francisco.

Los enfrentamientos más destacados del Soccer Champions Tour 2023 incluyen el encuentro de los gigantes españoles Real Madrid y FC Barcelona por primera vez en Texas en el estadio de los Dallas Cowboys AT&T Stadium; Manchester United y Real Madrid se enfrentan por primera vez desde el 2018; FC Barcelona y Arsenal compitiendo en la revancha de la final europea del 2006; y los rivales italianos AC Milan y Juventus enfrentándose en California por primera vez en sus más de 120 años de historia.

Soccer Champions Tour fue creado por la empresa de cartera financiera recién formada Sixth Street para respaldar el crecimiento global continuo de las franquicias deportivas de primer nivel mediante la organización de eventos competitivos de alto perfil para los millones de fanáticos que viven fuera de los mercados de los clubes más grandes del mundo.

“Estamos orgullosos de asociarnos con los clubes con más historia del mundo, que cuentan con los fanáticos más apasionados del mundo, para brindar esta rara oportunidad a los seguidores estadounidenses la experiencia del juego al más alto nivel”, dijo Alan Waxman, cofundador y director ejecutivo de Sixth Street. “Si bien la gira de este año solo cuenta con clubes masculinos, esperamos expandirnos el próximo verano para traer los mejores clubes femeninos del mundo a audiencias locales de todo el mundo y en el futuro, convertir esta serie en un formato con partidos de importancia real”.

Además de los partidos de clubes profesionales masculinos y femeninos, la gira también tiene la intención de organizar competiciones de academias juveniles élite en los próximos años.

Soccer Champions Tour está trabajando en estrecha colaboración con la empresa global de experiencias premium Legends para brindar estos partidos destacados y experiencias elevadas durante los partidos para los fanáticos locales del fútbol.

Agregó Shervin Mirhashemi, CEO de Legends: “Legends se enorgullece en brindarles a los fanáticos del deporte rey una experiencia inolvidable este verano que coincidirá con el fútbol de clase mundial en la cancha. Nos emociona el pensar en ver los estadios de los Estados Unidos llenos de fanáticos animando a los mejores clubes del mundo mientras compiten en el Soccer Champions Tour.”

El Soccer Champions Tour 2023 se produce en asociación con AEG, la empresa líder mundial en deportes y entretenimiento en vivo.

“AEG está entusiasmado con la asociación con Sixth Street y Legends para llevar los clubes de fútbol más exitosos del mundo a los fanáticos de los EE. UU.”, dijo Tom Braun, vicepresidente de operaciones de fútbol y negocios y desarrollo comercial de AEG. “Cada enfrentamiento en esta serie es del más alto calibre y estamos encantados de que los aficionados del fútbol estadounidense tengan la oportunidad de ver estos partidos épicos con equipos legendarios en vivo y en persona”.

Calendario de Soccer Champions Tour 2023
Sábado, 22 de julio
FC Barcelona vs. Juventus en Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
Domingo, 23 de julio
Real Madrid vs. AC Milan en Rose Bowl Stadium, Pasadena, CA
Miércoles, 26 de julio
FC Barcelona vs. Arsenal en SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA

Miércoles, 26 de juilo

Real Madrid vs. Manchester United en NRG Stadium, Houston, TX

Jueves, 27 de julio

Juventus vs. AC Milan en Dignity Health Sports Park, Los Angeles, CA

Sábado, 29 de julio

Real Madrid vs. FC Barcelona en AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX

Martes, 1 de agosto
AC Milan vs. FC Barcelona en Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, NV
Miércoles, 2 de agosto

Juventus vs. Real Madrid en Camping World Stadium, Orlando FL

Boletos exclusivos de preventa estarán disponibles a partir del martes,16 de mayo, y el acceso general a boletos en venta comienza el viernes, 9 de mayo. Para acceder la preventa, todos los fanáticos están invitados a registrarse en www.SoccerChampionsTour.com. Toda la información específica del partido individual y del estadio también está disponible en el sitio web de la gira y los aficionados pueden seguir las cuentas de redes sociales de @TheSCTour en Facebook, Instagram, TikTok y Twitter para obtener actualizaciones.

Los partidos quedan sujetos a la aprobación de las autoridades futbolísticas pertinentes.

Kansas Athletics and Legends Announce Comprehensive New Partnership

Long-Term Collaboration Includes Planning, Sales Strategy, and Sales of Seating and Premium Experience as Part of Major Projects at Allen Fieldhouse and David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium

Legends x Kansas

Kansas Athletics and Legends, a global premium experiences company, have announced a comprehensive, long-term partnership focused on reimagining the fan experience as part of the expansive renovation of the iconic Allen Fieldhouse and the transformation of David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.

Allen Fieldhouse, the premier venue in college basketball, will soon undergo a series of renovations that will include upgraded fan experience amenities and reimagined and expanded premium hospitality spaces. David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium is part of a transformational multi-use development project to create a north gateway entrance to the University of Kansas campus.

“In this critical moment of time for Kansas Athletics with significant projects in front of us, we are incredibly excited to work with Michael Behan and the talented Legends team,” said Jason Booker, KU’s Deputy Athletics Director for External Affairs and Revenue Generation. “We are thrilled at the level of innovation and expertise they will bring to our sales team and process. We are really looking forward to the Legends team impacting our overall fan experience in a positive manner.”

As part of the overarching agreement, Legends will work in partnership with Kansas Athletics to optimize revenue generation and curate experiences for all Jayhawk fans. With a data-driven approach, Legends will oversee premium product development, pricing, and sales as part of the projects, as well as manage overall premium seating, ticket sales, annual fund donations, marketing strategy, and business intelligence for all ticketed sporting events.

“Legends is proud to partner with Kansas Athletics to identify new ways to innovate and enhance the fan experience and optimize sustainable revenue streams as part of the University’s exciting and expansive plans for Allen Fieldhouse and David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium,” said Michael Behan, Chief Operating Officer, Collegiate Partnerships, Legends.  

Legends is the leader in advising university athletic departments on major transformational facility projects to enhance fan experiences and maximize initial capital and annual revenues. The company has partnered with Northwestern University, University of Notre Dame, University of Oklahoma, University of Southern California, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Utah, Villanova University, and San Diego State University, amongst others.