Jon & Vinny Promise Cheeseburger Subs and Fried Hot Dogs at SoFi Stadium This Year

Via EaterLA

More details are emerging about the upcoming Jon & Vinny collaborations at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, home of both the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers. Stadium officials recently announced the star duo as a kind of chefs in residence, working collaboratively with concessions company Legends on menus that will be available across the stadium.

The overall program, known as LA Eats, will be loosely constructed around four different menus, each named for a street or area within greater Los Angeles. First up is the Fairfax, harkening to Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo’s spiritual LA home, where their award-winning restaurants Animal, Jon & Vinny’s, and (nearby) Son of a Gun reside. The new Fairfax stadium menu “is a sub, deli, cheeseburger concept,” mixing everything from chicken salad subs to fried ‘ripper’ hot dogs and a burger-sub hybrid featuring elongated patties of beef on griddled rolls (seriously, it looks wild). A promo video for the Fairfax menu can be found below.

The Fairfax menu, which also includes vegan chili and a jalapeño cheddar sausage, among other options, represents one quarter of the full LA Eats menu. SoFi Stadium reps say the plan is to drop new announcements about the upcoming menus each week. Shook and Dotolo collaborated on menus throughout the stadium at each concession area, and will feature different themes based on local streets and areas. Next up is the San Vicente Boulevard menu.

As for the stadium overall, there’s still much to uncover about the food — including a different vendor setup at the box seat and VIP levels — both inside and out. Beyond the walls of the NFL stadium, built by billionaire Stan Kroenke, there are further plans to build an entire nightlife and hospitality community, with sit-down restaurants for pre-game meals, hotels, retail, and more. And while the Hollywood Park site project has been delayed by a full year as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Gavin Newsom recently said that all counties would likely ‘fully reopen’ for business (including full-scale in person live events) by June 15, paving the way for a big year at SoFi Stadium, at least. As for the smaller longtime businesses around the stadium in Inglewood, that remains to be seen.

SoFi Stadium Teams up with Award-winning Chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo for Its Culinary Program

Focused on representing the city’s prolific food culture, SoFi Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams, partnered with James Beard award-winning chefs, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo to reimagine the stadium culinary experience. The duo, Los Angeles cult favorite chefs and owners of some of the most iconic restaurants in the city – including animal, Son of a Gun, Jon & Vinny’s, Caramelized Productions and Cookbook Market – created a groundbreaking food program as transformative as the stadium itself.

“Jon and Vinny are well-known for their thoughtful and flavorful food, and we are thrilled for them to extend their legacy to SoFi Stadium,” said Jason Gannon, managing director, SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park. “Los Angeles’ food culture is celebrated for its creativity, and our goal is to build a culinary experience for fans based on high-quality, fresh ingredients and inspired by the many cuisines you can find throughout the city.”

SoFi Stadium’s culinary program is based on four core concepts. Each is grounded in local flavors and features creative combinations. Starting April 22, 2021, SoFi Stadium will release a video each week announcing a concept and delving into its inspiration and ingredients. The videos will feature Jon and Vinny walking fans through the stadium’s innovative program.

Shaped from the diverse cuisines of the region, SoFi Stadium’s menus will feature high-quality ingredients paired with top-notch preparation, expertly scaled for a stadium of discerning foodie fans. Building on their expert knowledge of the LA food scene, Jon and Vinny spent months of research and hundreds of hours in development at their test kitchen in Inglewood to create unique expressions of timeless stadium favorites, but with local flair.

“The opening of SoFi Stadium is a monumental and historical moment for the city of Inglewood, City of Champions,” said Jon and Vinny. “We are super excited to be part of the LA Eats program at SoFi Stadium. The stadium, along with Legends, has made it incredibly easy for us to transform how people think about stadium food.”

SoFi Stadium’s state-of-the-art amenities and indoor-outdoor design will be incorporated into the presentation of its innovative food program to create a memorable experience. The stadium’s kitchens offer open-air spaces with breathtaking views of the city. Their expansive design features clear glass, with each kitchen placed in a location that always has sightlines to the field, videoboard or seating bowl. Fans will now be able to leave their seats for food and drink and not worry about missing the big play.

The clear glass in SoFi Stadium’s kitchens allows food to be prepared in front of guest’s eyes. In a first for stadium design, SoFi Stadium features 100 percent live-fire kitchens. This allows for the stadium to produce food in each and every one of its kitchens.

The culinary program was created in partnership with Legends, which will operate the stadium’s culinary program under the direction of Legends Executive Chef Robert Biebrich and Legends Vice President of Culinary Innovation Gretchen Beaumarchais.

SoFi Stadium Partners with Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo to Make Food at Venue

Via Los Angeles Times

Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, owners of Animal, Son of a Gun and the Jon and Vinny’s restaurants, are working on the food lineup for SoFi Stadium, the 3.1-million-square-foot, indoor-outdoor sports and entertainment complex in Inglewood that is home to the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers.

“Most stadiums, the approach is, ‘Hey, let’s go get Domino’s to pay us to put a concession stand in our stadium,‘” Shook said. “The approach here is ‘Hey, we are going to build one of the nicest kitchens we’ve been in, underground in the basement, and we’re going to produce all the food that goes to the concession stands.‘”

Shook and Dotolo are acting as culinary consultants to help with menu development and product sourcing at the stadium, which can seat 70,000 to 100,000 people, depending on the setup. They’re working with executive chef Robert Biebrich and vice president of culinary innovation Gretchen Beaumarchais of Legends, the hospitality company that will operate the stadium’s culinary program. Legends also handles the concessions at Angel Stadium and a number of other venues around the country.

The James Beard award-winning chefs are used to cooking for a crowd. Dotolo and Shook operate a successful catering and events company called Caramelized Productions, and they also partnered with Delta Air Lines in 2019 to create dishes for select Delta One flights.

While they wouldn’t discuss specific stadium menu items just yet, they did share that they worked with the Legends team to create four concepts for the 42 concession stands. The idea is to offer re-imagined versions of stadium classics. Hot dogs, cheeseburgers and chicken tenders were all mentioned during our conversation.

“There’s going to be hot dogs, because it’s a stadium,” Shook said. “We tasted probably 50 different hot dogs.”

Shook said they narrowed down the choices to the top 10 and then made some calls to ensure that producers could handle the volume needed for a stadium of this size. He and Dotolo then tested buns, toppings and all the other components of the menu items.

Scaling items made it almost impossible to use select producers. But some were able to make it work.

“We were able to bring in DiNapoli tomatoes, the ones we use at Jon and Vinny’s,” Dotolo said.

The concession stands will feature glass windows that offer a view into their kitchens. They are also strategically placed to offer views of the field and the videoboard, a screen with 70,000 square feet of digital LED that will show whatever event is happening at the time.

“For a chef, it’s easy to get weird and funky,” Shook said. “One of the things we really try to keep in mind is out of the fans that come there, not everyone is going to be a chef. What are the items they are going to be looking for?”

Dotolo and Shook said they spent months working on R&D for menu items.

“One of the items that we were super stickler on was the chicken finger,” Shook said.

Columbus Crew SC Announces New Partnership with Columbus-Based American Electric Power

Columbus Crew SC today announced that the Club has entered into a new, multi-year partnership with American Electric Power. As one of the largest electric energy companies in the U.S., Columbus-based AEP powers millions of homes and businesses. AEP becomes an Official “Founding Partner” of Columbus Crew SC and New Crew Stadium, set to open in July of this year. As an Official Founding Partner, AEP will be the entitlement partner to the Southeast Gate at New Crew Stadium.

“Columbus Crew SC is excited to announce a new, multi-year partnership with American Electric Power as an official Founding Partner of our Club,” said Crew SC executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer Steve Lyons. This partnership will allow us to power our new downtown stadium while helping our supporters learn more about energy savings. We are proud to continue to stand alongside AEP – our partner for over a decade – to honor our military heroes and further our mutual commitment to education and the Columbus community.”

Continued Lyons: “Over the last several months, we have been proud to announce several Founding Partners of New Crew Stadium. The outpouring of local support from top-tier, Columbus-based corporations demonstrates the immense pride in choosing Columbus and choosing the Crew. Through each of these partnerships, we are able to provide an exemplary matchday experience as well as make critical impacts throughout our community.”

In addition to having entitlement rights to the Southeast Gate at the New Crew Stadium – where nearly 80% of all supporters will pass through – AEP is set to also have presenting rights over Military Appreciation Night and the Hometown Heroes Program, which recognizes local members, past and present, of the U.S. military.

AEP will also have presenting rights to a military appreciation content series to be released by Crew SC in the future. In continuing with their commitment to community work, AEP will also become an associate partner of a community platform that will be announced at a later date.

“AEP looks forward to continuing our longstanding relationship with the Crew, especially as the Club begins this exciting chapter in team history,” said Janelle Coleman, AEP’s vice president of Corporate Philanthropy & Community Engagement and president of the AEP Foundation. “From winning last year’s MLS Cup to the upcoming opening of its world class stadium, the Crew inspires pride in Columbus. We’re proud to support both the team and their unwavering commitment to our community.”

Columbus Crew SC was represented by Legends Global Partnerships in this wide-ranging partnership with AEP.

Crew Lands Sponsorship Deal with Columbus Tech Company

Via Columbus Business Journal

The scoreboard and other digital signage inside Columbus Crew SC’s new stadium will be powered by a public IT infrastructure company.

Vertiv is equipping the data center that will support the Crew’s administrative and game-related IT needs, as well as providing point-of-sale systems in the stadium, the entities announced Tuesday.

“We see a lot of ourselves in the Crew story, as a Columbus-headquartered, global organization leveraging our skills, passion and international reach to succeed at the highest levels,” said Gary Niederpruem, chief strategy and development officer at Vertiv, in a release.

Financial terms of the deal are not being released.

Vertiv will be known as a “founding partner” for the stadium, as well as its “official data center equipment provider.” Legends Global Partnerships represented the Crew in forming the partnership.

Steve Lyons, executive vice president and chief business officer, said in a release that Vertiv’s equipment is “critical to the operation of our sideboards, digital signage and point-of-sale systems and will elevate the entire match-day experience at our new stadium.”

“The Crew is committed to providing a best-in-class experience for our supporters,” Lyons said in a release.

Vertiv is projecting growth in 2021, after managing to keep sales roughly flat in 2020, Columbus Business First previously reported. The Columbus company went public last year with a $5.3 billion valuation. Vertiv, which has about 1,500 employees in Central Ohio out of 20,000 worldwide, projects 7% sales growth to $4.8 billion in 2021.

Vertiv Teams Up with Columbus Crew as a Founding Partner

Vertiv, a global provider of critical digital infrastructure and continuity solutions, will be a Founding Partner and Official Data Center Equipment Provider of Columbus Crew SC as the club moves into its new home, New Crew Stadium, in July. Vertiv will equip the data center supporting the team’s administrative and in-game IT needs, as well as sponsor a customer experience center in the stadium showcase area featuring Vertiv racks, power, cooling and IT management systems enabling a high-tech, connected fan experience.

Vertiv is headquartered in Columbus, but the connections with Crew SC that extend beyond a shared hometown were the chief motivation for the partnership.

“The Crew have become a Columbus fixture, and the new stadium is something the entire community can celebrate and enjoy. The team and organization are stewards of a global game, and their success can be traced to countless international influences,” said Gary Niederpruem, chief strategy and development officer at Vertiv. “We see a lot of ourselves in the Crew story, as a Columbus-headquartered, global organization leveraging our skills, passion and international reach to succeed at the highest levels.”

Vertiv infrastructure equipment will support the network that enables in-game experiences, including the scoreboard and digital signage, and point-of-sale systems throughout New Crew Stadium, as well as office and administrative IT systems for the club’s front office staff. Vertiv is supplying all of the key critical digital infrastructure elements in a bespoke, integrated design, using standard building blocks of Vertiv’s Liebert®, Avocent®, Geist™ brands for racks, uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems, thermal management systems, monitoring and management hardware and software.

Vertiv and the Crew will also be partnering on additional endeavors, including community service projects, to be announced at a later date.

“The Crew is committed to providing a best-in-class experience for our supporters.  We are proud to partner with Vertiv to design, build and service the infrastructure needed to deliver on this promise,” said Stephen Lyons, Crew SC Executive Vice President & Chief Business Officer.  “Vertiv’s equipment is critical to the operation of our videoboards, digital signage and point-of-sale systems and will elevate the entire match-day experience at our new stadium.”

Columbus Crew SC was represented by Legends Global Partnerships in this wide-ranging partnership with Vertiv.

The 2021 Class of Forty Under 40 – Scott Aronsky

Via Sports Business Journal

The individuals selected for Sports Business Journal’s 22nd class of Forty Under 40 are not afraid to go big, whether it’s a blockbuster media rights deal, the launch of a bold new product, the opening of a dynamic stadium or a career move that opens new doors to success. They are not afraid to take risks, and the organizations across the sports business that they represent have benefited from their accomplishments.

SBJ, along with presenting partners Anheuser-Busch, MGM Resorts and TurnkeyZRG, are pleased to announce our annual list of 40 executives who will be recognized for excellence and innovation in their careers, all before the age of 40.  

Over the past four months, an editorial committee has reviewed, studied and discussed more than 400 nominees, resulting in the 40 named for the class of 2021. The committee considered career achievements; entrepreneurial zeal; best-in-class approach and technique; innovative practices that others follow; and leadership and impact within their organization and in their community.

One of the honorees, Charlotte FC President Nick Kelly, joins SBJ’s Forty Under 40 Hall of Fame as a three-time selection to the list. Kelly, who was vice president of partnerships, beer culture and community at Anheuser-Busch InBev before joining the MLS expansion club in February, was a member of the 2017 and 2020 Forty Under 40 classes.

All 40 executives will be featured in the June 28 issue of Sports Business Journal, where we will tell the stories of their career paths and successes. They also will be honored in-person at the Forty Under 40 gala tentatively scheduled for November in New York City. The 2020 Forty Under 40 class, whose awards ceremony in March 2020 was postponed by the coronavirus pandemic, also will be recognized that night.


Scott Aronsky, Legends

Chara-Lynn Aguiar, ESPN

Will Ahmed, Whoop

Naz Aletaha, Riot Games

Jonathan Amoona, Winston & Strawn 

Chris Armstrong, Wasserman

Nana-Yaw Asamoah, National Football League

J Batt, University of Alabama 

Tim Bezbatchenko, Columbus Crew SC

Shelly Cayette, Cleveland Cavaliers and Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse 

Kyle Charters, Inner Circle Sports

Seth Cole, Turner Sports

Will Deng, National Football League

Brandon Doll, Las Vegas Raiders

Jayar Donlan, WWE

Stuart Duguid, IMG

Logan Gerken, Mortenson

Jason Glushon, Glushon Sports Management

Hannah Gordon, San Francisco 49ers

David Haber, National Basketball Association 

Nick Kelly, Charlotte FC

Matt Kramer, Creative Artists Agency

Jason Krochak, Proskauer 

Aaron LeValley, LA Kings and AEG Sports

TJ Lynch, Allied Sports

Jason Miller, Excel Sports Management

Evan Parker, The Athletic 

Ryan Petkoff, Hunt Sports Group

Paul Rabil, Premier Lacrosse League

Gabriel Rose, CBS Sports Digital

Casey Schwab, Altius Sports Partners

Michael Shane, Philadelphia Flyers and Wells Fargo Center

Carrie Skillman, Scout Sports and Entertainment 

Jason Sondag, Chicago Cubs

Ania Sponaski, GMR Marketing

Malaika Underwood, OneTeam Partners

Scott Warfield, PGA Tour 

Zack Weiner, Overtime

Jarod Were, National Hockey League

Meka White Morris, Tappit

The University of Miami Selects Legends to Lead Marketing Partnerships for Athletics Program

The University of Miami athletics department today announced that it has selected Legends, a premium experiences company, to oversee marketing partnerships and rights for the Miami Hurricanes.

Through this new partnership, Legends will collaborate with Miami to develop a comprehensive sponsorship strategy and establish meaningful, integrated partnerships that connect brands and corporate partners with the Hurricanes’ passionate fanbase. Legends will bring new partnerships to the university that will celebrate Miami’s rich athletic traditions, its talented student-athletes, and the forward-thinking leadership and innovation of the athletics program.

“We are excited to partner with Legends on our corporate sponsorships and marketing rights,” said Blake James, University of Miami’s Director of Athletics. “Legends works with some of the most recognized brands in sports and we are confident that they can help us leverage both our iconic brand and location in one of the world’s most vibrant cities to drive value for our department, our fans and our partners. We are thrilled to see what the partnership will bring in the years to come.”

Legends will also lead a thorough analysis and valuation of sponsorship rights and introduce its proprietary, data and analytics-driven business intelligence platform, to help identify new opportunities and provide greater insights into Hurricanes fans’ behaviors and interests.

“Miami has built one of the nation’s great athletics programs, and we see tremendous value in creating a customized sponsorship approach that celebrates the university’s unique history and rich athletics traditions, and particularity of the Miami market,” said Mike Behan, Legends Vice President, Collegiate Partnerships. “Our team at Legends will draw upon our vast experience working with the most creative and innovative brands across sports, media, and entertainment, to help expand the incredible opportunities available through this partnership.”

Legends, a global leader in sports and entertainment, was founded by the New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys. Legends leads significant sponsorship sales efforts across professional and collegiate sports including for the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers, Las Vegas Raiders, Orlando Magic, University of Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, and LA28.

Legends will open a sales and engagement center in South Miami.

LAFC Announces FLEX Power Tools as Official Jersey Sponsor

The Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) today announced a multi-year partnership with FLEX. FLEX, a brand division of global power tool manufacturer Chervon, will serve as the Club’s “Official Jersey Sponsor” and feature branding included on all Club, Community and specialty jerseys. Additionally, FLEX is the “Official Power Tool Partner of LAFC” and the “Official Construction Tools” of the Club.

The new partnership includes exclusive content pieces, media, signage and a co-branded retail promotion.

“We are proud to have FLEX Power Tools on the front of our jersey,” LAFC Co-President Larry Freedman said. “FLEX is an exciting and ambitious brand that will work with us to be a force for good in our community.”

LAFC becomes the first sports organization to partner with Chervon N.A.

“FLEX is thrilled to partner with such an inspiring team, organization and fan base and we look forward to standing shoulder to shoulder with the Black and Gold” said Joe Turoff CMO at FLEX’s parent company Chervon. “Supporting LAFC and the greater Los Angeles community will be our core goal.  We look forward to winning together in the years ahead.”

FLEX, a line of cutting-edge, cordless power tools, accessories, batteries and chargers, will launch nationwide this May. The all-new FLEX 24V line-up features industry-leading Lithium-Ion and brushless motor technologies with 20 percent more power than competitors and up to 50 percent faster charging.

On April 12, FLEX will host the “FLEX Face Off,” a launch event at 8pm ET/5pm PT. Viewers can learn more about the brand and see FLEX tools go head-to-head against some of the industry’s top pro brands and hear how to enter to win a full lineup of FLEX 24V power tools and a brand-new Ford F-150. Sign up for the event at

FLEX joins Delta Air Lines, Heineken, Toyota, Youtube TV, Kaiser Permanente, Target and Estrella TV as LAFC’s Golden Boot Club Partners. The Golden Boot Club provides exclusive access, visibility and experiences for LAFC’s most elite level of partnership.

LAFC partnered with Legends Global Partnerships, who previously advised LAFC on both its inaugural jersey deal with YouTube TV and stadium naming rights deal with Banc of California.

Legends Takes Another Step into College, Signs Miami to 10-year Deal

Via Sports Business Journal

The University of Miami has signed Legends to manage its corporate sponsorship program and the school’s marketing rights.   

The 10-year deal represents Legends’ second major property acquisition in the last four months and completes another major step into the marketing of college athletics. The firm landed Georgia Tech in December and also counts Notre Dame as a multimedia rights client. 

The Hurricanes previously had been with Learfield IMG College in a long-term relationship that went back to at least 2003. Miami’s deal started as a joint venture between Learfield and ISP Sports two decades ago and continued through ownership changes at both Learfield and ISP until the two companies eventually became Learfield IMG College two years ago. 

Terms of the new contract with Legends were not available. Miami, as a private institution, is not required to disclose financials. 

“We evaluated a number of different companies and Legends rose to the top,” Miami Athletic Director Blake James said. “With the energy created around this partnership, I think we’ll see a tremendous amount of growth, not just in our local market, but also nationally and globally.” 

The Hurricanes, who are preparing to have 100% of capacity available at Hard Rock Stadium once football starts, said Legends will have access to an array of revenue opportunities for the off-campus venue. There will be sponsorship and field signage assets, as well as myriad hospitality sales, an area that Legends knows well. 

Mike Behan, Legends’ vice president of collegiate partnerships, said the firm already has plans to launch a sales and engagement center that will be based in south Miami. He described it as a preview center where Legends can tell the story of the university to prospective sponsors, similar to what the company has created in some pro team markets. 

“We’re looking to bring that approach to our multimedia rights,” Behan said. “We want to be able to describe Miami to partners in a way that hasn’t been done in the past.” 

Behan took the lead for Legends on winning this deal. James had Deputy AD and CFO Jason Layton running point for the Hurricanes. 

Legends’ work in Florida extends to Orlando as well, where it is selling naming rights for the Magic’s NBA arena.