KU has new food vendor for games

Centerplate signs 10-year concession contract

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Centerplate has a new contract to provide concessions at all Kansas Athletics events next season, replacing Mid-America Concessions, which had the contract since 1990.

Centerplate, a company with its executive offices in Connecticut, operates concessions for the Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City T-Bones and Kansas City Wizards, along with many other professional and collegiate sports teams across the country.

“We consider ourselves a member of the community and we are thrilled to be extending our services to the university,” said Bob Pascal, Centerplate senior vice president for sales and marketing.

The contract covers concessions at all Kansas Athletics events, including football and basketball games.

The new 10-year agreement does not include a specific dollar amount; instead, Centerplate will pay a percentage of the net operating profits to KU, said Jim Marchiony, associate athletic director.

That percentage is still being determined, but will constitute at least a majority of the profits, he said.

Centerplate will also pay $1.1 million for improvements to concession facilities at several athletic complexes, including Allen Fieldhouse and Memorial Stadium.

While the company has made some proposals for food offerings that could be included, no final decisions have been made on what will be offered, Centerplate and KU officials said.

According to a Centerplate release, the company intends to introduce new menu concepts alongside traditional fare, paying homage to university athletic icons with concepts such as the Rock Chalk Grill and Phog’s Fieldhouse Favorites.

Mid-America Concessions employed 75 full- and part-time workers during the athletic season. The loss of the Kansas Athletics contract, which served as the main source of revenue for the company, means the company will shut down.

Pascal said Centerplate has named a new general manager for the area, and would be interviewing employees from Mid-America for new positions to determine whether they would be a good fit.

Centerplate has already been in contact with several nonprofit groups that worked concessions under Mid-America, and intends to include the groups as part of their operations, Marchiony said.

The groups, which include youth sports teams and other local groups, worked concessions as part of fundraising efforts.

“We do work with nonprofits and pride ourselves with our ability to do so,” Pascal said.