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Padres Club Refresh home plate

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green lawn: The living wall at the entrance to the upper level of the Blue Shield Home Plate Club, shown in the rendering, is a centerpiece of Petco Park’s distinct space renovations. (courtesy team)

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Sportservice 2022 record driven by high attendance

Benefiting from the team’s return to prominence on the field in Major League Baseball, the San Diego Padres are revamping their home plate clubhouse for the 2023 season, Petco Park’s most exclusive premium space.

The Padres invested about $7 million to upgrade the Blue Shield Home Plate Club, an all-ticket ticket package tied to a few hundred seats directly behind home plate among the dugouts, said Josh Bomberg, the team’s vice president of hospitality.

Bomberg said this is the first time the two-level, 5,400-square-foot clubhouse has been renovated since Petco Park opened in 2004. For the 2023 season, the home plate clubhouse has been sold, according to the Padres website.

The improvements coincide with the Padres signing Delaware North Sportservice to a 10-year contract extension, effective through the 2036 season, the team announced Jan. 9. in San Diego in 2022, company officials confirmed. The contract renewal extends to a 50-50 partnership between the franchisee and the MLB team to share the cost of concession improvements, dining venues and luxury merchandise inside the stadium, said Dan Butler, general manager at Sportservice.

Bomberg said the Padres paid for the Blue Shield Home Plate club upgrade on their own.

Local architect Carrier Johnson + Culture designed the venue and Shawmut Design and Construction was the builder. Team officials held focus groups with club seat holders to get feedback on how to improve the design and service to better suit their needs two decades after Petco Park debuted.

“The main theme was to provide an elegant and upscale experience for the VIP clients who occupy the club with a food service element to match this elevated theme,” Bomberg Sead.

The lower level now features a bourbon/tequila bar, Butler said, serving signature cocktails and upscale tapas-style food compared to the staple stadium fare of the past 19 seasons.

Last year, the upstairs, a sit-down restaurant, was renovated with new windows offering views of the batting cage and that hasn’t changed for the 2023 season. Painted service will resume with remodeling of new wall treatments, light fixtures, and banquette seating.

The centerpiece is a live wall with green vegetation at the entrance to the home plate club on the upper level. It functions as a design element but also speaks to sustainability, said Pompeg, which is important to the Padres and Southern California in general.

In addition, the circulation in the clubhouse between the two levels has been improved with a new ladder connection. Previously, club sponsors had to walk through “more back-slope and now it’s all gone”, he said.

For the 2022 season, the Padres finished fifth in MLB attendance, drawing just under 3 million fans, among the highest totals in the team’s 53-year history. For Sportservice, those numbers have led to record revenue, plus the Padres are now the only major league team in town after the NFL Chargers moved to Los Angeles, Butler said.

“The community rallied around that,” he said.

It helps that Petco Park, through operation of Sportservice, has built up a reputation for quality food and innovative design concepts, recognized by both the consumer and craft press for having some of the best franchises and local flavors in baseball.

without line: The lower level of the Blue Shield Home Plate Club features a new bourbon/tequila bar in Petco Park. (courtesy team)

Hodad’s, for example, a well-known San Diego brand, had record sales in 2022 across its four stadium stands. Butler said revenue was up 25% over the previous year, given that the 2021 season started with limited attendance due to the pandemic.

In San Diego, Sportservice was among the first vendors to operate grab-and-go locations in an MLB venue when Seaside Market debuted in 2014 and now has several convenience stores in the main concourse. Named after a local brand, it sells flatbreads, triple cereals, salads, fresh fruit, and craft beer.

Butler said the Seaside Market remains among the three best-selling stadium concepts.

Last season, Sportservice transformed some portable grab-and-go carts with a cooler of beer and soda, plus hot dogs, that made faster transactions, and will expand those setups in 2023.

“We’ve had the most success building those platforms right across from our traditional franchise platforms,” ​​Butler said. “If someone wanted a hot dog and beer, they could hit the mobile device, while people who wanted ice cream, nachos, and pretzels would stand in line a little longer.”

On the technology front, Sportservice last season installed the no-checkout Zippin system into a single platform and is looking to expand to more locations in 2023. In addition, fans can use the Beer Me mobile ordering app within the MLB At the Ballpark app for-delivery. Seats for alcoholic beverages. Tapin2 is part of the Beer Me system.

Overall, mobile ordering at Petco Park still accounts for a small percentage of transactions, a trend that hasn’t gained much traction from the pandemic, according to teams and caterers. Butler said the bulk of transactions in San Diego still happen on traditional platforms.

“The variety of food we offer at our venues is important and people love to shop around and see what’s available and are okay with leaving their seat for a while to find a specific food item they might be looking for,” said Sean Mattox, Vice President of Operations for Sportservice. “Our partners have always done a great job, whether it’s through technology or television, to keep in touch with what’s happening in the field while we’re shopping.”

On the retail side, Sportservice is still in the early stages of improving traffic flow at the team store on the ground floor of the Western Metals Building, a 114-year-old building in left field that was incorporated into the original stadium design. The team shop is another part of Petco Park that hasn’t really been touched over the past 20 years, Bomberg said.

Butler said the upcoming reconfiguration, a two-year project starting this season, should help solve the long waiting times in terms of the sheer number of people making transactions at the team store. The challenge is to make those adjustments without touching the protected exterior doors and walls in a historic historical setting.

He said any changes inside must be approved by the city and delivered outside.

“There are ways we can continue to bring softer elements into the team shop to give it a modern feel while respecting history and how it can be integrated organically without taking away from it,” said Bomberg. “Our intention is to breathe some new life into him, to make him as nice as the rest of the field.”

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