World Series pressure doesn’t apply just to the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals. Delaware North employees will feel it, too.
The Buffalo-based company has the concessions contract at the Cardinals’ home field, Busch Stadium. And when the Series shifts there for Game 3 on Saturday, fans will be eager to watch the game, not wait in line for what they buy.
“People want their food and drink and get back to their seat,” said Glen White, a Delaware North spokesman. While Delaware North typically staffs Busch with 1,500 employees for Cardinals games, it will bolster that number to 1,800 for the Fall Classic.
As the World Series begins tonight in Boston, other local companies are reveling in the moment, as well. New Era Cap Co. is supplying hats for both teams, and even accommodating players’ superstitions. And Systems Technology Group is providing a supporting role to Delaware North in St. Louis, with point-of-sale technology designed to ensure customers are served quickly.
Cenergy, an East Aurora-based communications firm, is also in on the action. It is running a promotion on behalf of Fox Sports at about 30 sports bars in Boston and an equal number in St. Louis, handing out premiums and gifts.
This is the fourth consecutive World Series in which Delaware North has served fans in at least one of the two participating stadiums. At least two games, or as many as three, of the best-of-seven series will be played at Busch. (Delaware North does not provide concessions at Boston’s Fenway Park.)
Additional staffing is one way Delaware North will prepare for World Series crowds in what is known as a baseball-crazy town.
“A lot of it is beefing up concessions, retail stores,” White said. There will be additional kiosks, including some outside the ballpark.
The first two games in St. Louis are set for Saturday and Sunday, which will contribute to the “festive atmosphere” around the stadium, he said. “People will be coming down just to be out there, even if they don’t go to the game.”
Delaware North also provides food for luxury suites, and is catering a Friday night gala at the stadium that is expected to attract more than 2,500 people.
The company also will be bringing in talent from out of town, including some vendors from US Cellular Field in Chicago and 22 chefs from other stadiums that Delaware North serves, White said. “It’s a big operation, if you can imagine 1,800 folks working for us in one night,” he said.
White was at the World Series in Texas in 2010 and 2011, providing communications support, so he knows what a Fall Classic crowd feels like, compared with a regular-season game. “People show up early for the games,” he said. “The World Series is such a huge event, people want to come and enjoy the entire experience, get their food, watch batting practice and take it all in. There’s a lot of hours that people are at the game being served.”
And when the fans watch the players, they will see them wearing New Era-made hats.
New Era starts preparing for the World Series as early as August, tracking which teams are likely contenders for the playoffs, said Paul Murphy, a spokesman. As the postseason field narrows to four, New Era starts making World Series branded caps for those teams.
There are actually two kinds of postseason and World Series hats: the 59Fifty hats with a special patch on the side, and the 39Thirty locker room hats. The caps are given to equipment managers to distribute to the players.
New Era understands players might be looking for an edge this time of year. If a player wants to keep wearing the same hat he wore in the playoffs, either because it fits right or brings good luck, New Era will remove the Postseason patch from the side and replace it with the World Series patch, Murphy said.