By: Don Muret/Sports Business Daily
Legends Hospitality has formed a partnership with Wolfgang Puck Catering to take over premium dining at Rose Bowl Stadium.
The five-year deal covers the Terry Donahue Pavilion, a new structure on the stadium’s west side named for the former UCLA football coach. The 55,000-square-foot addition, the centerpiece of a $181 million renovation, has 54 suites, 1,400 club seats and 48 loge boxes.
The Legends-Puck partnership, in place since July 1 but not made public until now, has worked four concerts plus the Manchester United-LA Galaxy soccer match at the venue, generating an 18 percent bump in sales compared with comparable events last summer, Legends officials said.
UCLA’s first home football game this season is Sept. 6, against Memphis. Legends replaces Bristol Farms, a local caterer.
Over the five-year term, the Legends-Puck partnership could produce about $2 million in commissions paid to the Rose Bowl Operating Co., the stadium’s management firm, said Darryl Dunn, the Rose Bowl’s general manager.
For Legends, landing the premium food piece comes more than three years after its sales division started selling premium seats for the Rose Bowl.
The relationship between Legends and Rose Bowl officials on the sales side evolved into discussions about Legends potentially running premium food, said Shervin Mirhashemi, the company’s president and COO. Legends brought Wolfgang Puck Catering on board as a partner to help win the business.
The two firms worked together on a few smaller projects last year at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, another Legends food account.
Mirhashemi is friends with Carl Schuster, Puck’s president and CEO, dating to Mirhashemi’s days working for AEG. They were talking about business in general one day, and the Rose Bowl food situation came up.
“We thought it would be interesting and fun to collaborate and we were fortunate enough to win the bid,” Mirhashemi said. “Wolfgang Puck fits perfectly within our infrastructure and the way we look at assets … trying to do things at a very high level and create a great guest experience.”
In general, Legends will run the suites while Wolfgang Puck Catering’s focus is on the club spaces, including Puck’s Tavern, branded after a similar restaurant it runs at Honda Center, home of the Anaheim Ducks.
On its own, Wolfgang Puck Catering has done corporate hospitality in the Rose Bowl parking lots and provided food service for the last three national championship parties tied to the Tournament of Roses Parade, Schuster said. In the past, it has has teamed with Levy Restaurants at sports venues; Compass Group North America owns Levy Restaurants and co-owns Wolfgang Puck Catering.
“We’ve had a history with the Rose Bowl for 15 years,” Schuster said. “It’s our home field in L.A. Our commissary is right up the street.”
In Pasadena, the deal extends to Legends-Puck helping stadium management book non-game-day functions at the Rose Bowl.
Keri Johnson, most recently employed by Legends at Yankee Stadium, is general manager of the Rose Bowl’s premium food business.
The Rose Bowl is Legends’ third food contract in Southern California, joining the Coliseum and Angel Stadium of Anaheim.
Ovations Food Services and Patina Restaurant Group were the other two finalists.
SodexoMagic, a joint venture between Sodexo and Magic Johnson Enterprises, maintains the Rose Bowl’s general concessions.