Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, home of the NFL’s Dolphins, is one of Centerplate’s major sports venue accounts. Centerplate
Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, home of the NFL’s Dolphins, is one of Centerplate’s major sports venue accounts.

Sodexo to acquire Centerplate

Move makes company a leading player in the convention center and sports/entertainment concessions markets in the U.S. and internationally.

Sodexo has announced the signing of an agreement to acquire Centerplate, a major provider of food and beverage, merchandise and hospitality services at sports facilities, convention centers and entertainment facilities in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Spain, for $675 million from investment firm Olympus Partners, which had purchased the company five years ago. The acquisition is subject to customary regulatory approvals and is expected to be closed by the end of 2017.

Centerplate CEO Chris Verros will lead the new combined business in the United States while the company’s European operations will be integrated into Sodexo’s existing Sports & Leisure business in the region. 

Centerplate is the fourth largest operator by revenues in the United States Sports & Leisure market, the world’s largest, and annually hosts more than 116 million guests across its portfolio of venues for marquee events that have included 14 Super Bowls, 36 U.S. Presidential Inaugural Balls, All-Star and Championship games for professional football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, collegiate athletics, and many of North America’s largest conventions.

Major sports facilities in the U.S. where Centerplate currently operates include Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, home of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins; Major League Baseball parks in Seattle (Safeco Field) and San Francisco (AT&T Park); NHL arenas in Miami (BB&T Center) and Winnipeg (Bell MTS Place); and the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, home of the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans. It also managed concessions at Tropicana Field in Tampa this past Major League Baseball season but the club reportedly recently transferred the contract to Levy Restaurants starting next year.

Convention center facilities where Centerplate operates include the Javits Center in New York, the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Nashville Convention Center, the Pasadena (Calif.) Convention Center and the Ernest M. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.

Revenues for Centerplate’s last completed fiscal year, which ended in June, were $998 million. It placed No. 6 on the 2017 FM Top 50 Contract Management Companies listing.

Sodexo’s Fiscal Year 2016 revenues for the Sports & Leisure segment were 903 million euro (about $1.070 billion at the current conversion rate), so the deal would basically double the company’s business in these segments.

“This acquisition substantially strengthens Sodexo’s position in the North American market, and brings the Group’s Sports & Leisure business to scale in the region,” the company stated in a release announcing the deal. “In the UK, the acquisition supports Sodexo’s strategy to grow its stadia and cultural destination portfolio. The acquisition also positions Sodexo as a leading player in Sports & Leisure globally, more than doubling its footprint.” 

“This acquisition is another step in our long-term strategy to become a leading player in every market in which we are present,” added Pierre Henry, Vice-President of the Group Executive Committee and CEO Sports & Leisure Worldwide for Sodexo in the same release. “Centerplate is an ideal partner with highly professional, dedicated teams who bring a wealth of industry expertise. We look forward to working together with Centerplate to bring exceptional Quality of Life experiences to tens of thousands of fans and spectators around the world.”

"With Sodexo, we share the same vision to deliver a unique and memorable service for our clients and guests through our tailored food and beverage programs, unique hospitality design, rewarding event and retail services,” noted Veros. “Centerplate’s clients will benefit from Sodexo’s global capabilities, solution innovations, other on site services and geographic reach.”

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