Two of the most storied — and most hated — franchises in sports are teaming up for a concessions business venture.
The Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees have teamed up to form Legends Hospitality Management that will, according to Sports Business Journal, “manage regular concessions, suite catering and team stores at the new Yankees and Cowboys stadiums.” The company will also bid on concessions contracts at stadiums across the country.
The first-of-its-kind initiative between two of pro sports’ star teams is the idea of Gerry Cardinale, the Goldman managing director who helped create the Yankees’ regional sports channel, the YES Network, and brokered the return of Alex Rodriguez to the team last year.
Cardinale met Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, and his son Stephen, the team’s chief operating officer, through a mutual friend who hosted them and their wives on a boat off of St. Barts in the Caribbean in February 2007.
On the boat, a source said, Jones spoke of his new stadium, and Cardinale brought the idea of pairing the two teams together back to the Yankees. Hal Steinbrenner, the team’s co-owner, team President Randy Levine, and Chief Operating Officer Lonn Trost handled the discussions.
The teams are known for their entrepreneurial bent, and the concessions business is now the latest iteration. The Yankees’ YES Network is a highly successful regional sports channel in which Goldman is an investor, and the Cowboys are the only NFL team to manage the distribution of its branded merchandise.
In charge of this new business venture will be former Pizza Hut President Michael Rawlings and Dan Smith and Marty Greenspun, two Yankee employees.
While some many think back on the non-descript YankeeNet venture, this partnership has the potential to reap massive benefits for the Yanks and Cowboys. The Yanks did about $70 million in concession sales at their old ballpark, and this figure stands to jump tremendously when the new stadium opens in April. If this venture is successful — and there’s no reason it won’t be — it could mark a new approach to sports business deals across all major sports.