New partnership embraces future-facing technologies, goes 100% cashless

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (August 26, 2021) – As excitement builds for the new college football season, the Michigan Wolverines have unveiled new food and beverage items for fans to enjoy at Michigan Stadium – one of the country's classic, most iconic sporting facilities – and other athletics facilities on campus. The new offerings feature new twists on longtime Michigan favorites and fresh items that will enhance what is already regarded as a top-notch culinary experience for the home crowd and visitors alike.

As the new season kicks off, Centerplate, a Sodexo company and the leading hospitality partner to North America's premier sports entertainment venues, kicks off a multi-year agreement with The University of Michigan Athletics Department. This grants Centerplate management of catering, food and beverage, and concessions services at Michigan Stadium and includes the Crisler Center, Yost Ice Arena, Cliff Keen Arena, and all other athletics venues on the picturesque Ann Arbor campus.

We are constantly looking for ways to enhance the fan experience in our venues and are pleased to partner with Centerplate, said Kurt Svoboda, Associate Athletic Director at the University of Michigan. We have hit the ground running and hope to build upon our treasured game day atmosphere while also enhancing the daily performance dining program for our student-athletes.

The University and Centerplate will adhere to stringent safety protocols for employees and fans alike for the upcoming season.

  • This entails going 100 percent cashless at all points-of-sale inside Michigan Stadium, thus allowing for less contact and a safer environment between staff members and fans.
  • Going cashless will also help create quicker transaction times, lower wait times, and allows the stadium to operate more efficiently, making the fan experience even better than before.
  • For the safety of our guests and our staff, working staff will be required to wear a face-covering in all indoor areas of Michigan Stadium. In addition, all concessions workers (indoors and outdoors) will be required to wear a face covering.

Centerplate's focus is to work alongside the university to reinvent what guests experience at the general concourses, social viewing areas and premium spaces of Michigan Stadium and all other on-campus athletics events on the campus. By understanding fan preferences and offering best-in-class dynamic customer service, Centerplate and Sodexo influence a new gold standard in college sports.

We are devoted to serving everyone who comes to Ann Arbor to enjoy a sporting event, added Steve Pangburn, Centerplate Chief Executive Officer. With a focus on quality service, partnerships with premium local, regional and national partners, and innovative new design, this an exciting new venture at what is a best-in-class university partner. Go Blue!

Executive Chef Chris Carr oversees a culinary program that enhances the team feedings, premium suites, club level seating, media areas, private parties and more. In addition, the entire team works closely with the Wolverines' athletic department to create an exceptional culinary and fan experience, elevating traditional stadium fare.

New local partners include Ryba's Fudge Shops (the famed gourmet chocolate hailing from Mackinac Island).

Centerplate has also committed to continue working with U-M and Green Safe Products to help create a zero waste Michigan Stadium. A zero waste Michigan Stadium supports U-M's deep commitment to sustainability in education, research and operations known as Planet Blue and directly impacts the university's 2025 sustainability goals, specifically the goals to reduce waste sent to landfills by 40 percent and to strengthen the culture of sustainability on campus.

Centerplate also serves numerous leading collegiate partners, including the University of Mississippi, University of Kansas, University of Florida and more. The company also recently completed hosting its 15th Super Bowl, with Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. Centerplate also hosts home games for the University of Miami at the global entertainment destination.


About University of Michigan Athletics

Go Blue! U-M's rich athletics tradition began in 1865 and continues with the Wolverines claiming 57 national championships in 13 sports.


About Centerplate

Centerplate is a leader in live event hospitality, "Making It Better To Be There®" for more than 115 million guests each year at more than 200 prominent entertainment, sports and convention venues—including Hard Rock Stadium and Detroit's TCF Center. From hosting VIPs at the Super Bowl to superheroes at Comic Con, the company provides hospitality services to North America's premier events. A Sodexo company, Centerplate creates unique, locally-inspired menus, best-in-class guest service, and one-of-a-kind experiences backed by world-class design and insights teams. Visit the company online, connect via TwitterInstagram or Facebook.


Media Contacts

Paul Pettas, Communications Director – Centerplate, Sodexo

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