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Sports Business

New stadium's food vendor for sale

August 5, 2008

hamburgerThe company city officials hired to handle general concession sales and premium dining at Lucas Oil Stadium could be sold before serving its first hot dog at the 63,000-seat venue set to open later this month. This development has city officials looking at its five-year deal with South Carolina-based Centerplate.

In May, Centerplate officials hired UBS Investment Bank to help find a buyer for the publicly traded company, which has 22 big league accounts including its local deal. Now things appear to be getting serious, with several industry sources saying they expect a deal to get done later this month. If that happens, the Capital Improvements Board, which owns and operates Lucas Oil Stadium, could be stuck with a food service provider that was not in on the planning of the venue. CIB, however, has a clause in its contract with Centerplate that gives them the right to accept or refuse the new operator. This close to the opening, it would be extremely difficult to find a new operator for this first year. Centerplate also has a deal to handle food service at the expanding Indiana Convention Center.

For the first time in years, Centerplate was a no-show at the International Association of Assembly Managers trade show, which was held in Anaheim July 25-29 this year. Industry sources said the no-show means Centerplate is putting the brakes on spending as it prepares to sell.

Three of Centerplate’s competitors, Aramark, Comcast Spectacor’s Ovation Food Services and Delaware North Sportservice is taking a hard look at buying the company, food service industry sources said.
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