Columbus Crew SC announced on Tuesday an exciting new partnership with Levy Restaurants and Retail Group that will enhance the Black and Gold's fan experience at games, beginning with Saturday evening's home opener.
This agreement is set to deliver "a more authentic Columbus experience" to Crew SC fans, including food, drink, and merchandise.
Per the Crew SC press release: "Through this partnership, additional investments are being made in MAPFRE Stadium to help refresh the supporter experience and to upgrade dining and hospitality amenities and infrastructure. Levy Restaurants will bring their restaurant expertise, creating locally relevant food programs to provide Crew SC's supporters a genuine experience on matchday from hometown brews to essential Columbus tastes."
MAPFRE Stadium will now include Columbus staples, Schmidt's Sausage Haus, Jeni's Ice Cream, and Hot Chicken Takeover. There will also be a new beer selection from Columbus Brewery, Four Strings Brewery, Elevator Brewery, Land-Grand Brewery, and "more local varieties."
The Black and Gold will also have food trucks that will be setup in the plaza as well.
In addition to the new beer selection, there will be a 200-square-foot "Drink Local" area conversion of the southwest concession stands near Gate 6, which will feature Columbus and Ohio beers.
The partnership also features Levy Retail handling the merchandise operations at MAPFRE Stadium, which includes a new renovated Crew SC Shop as well as a wider variety of women's and children's apparel.
"Columbus Crew SC is committed to improving the in-stadium experience and the addition of Levy as MAPFRE Stadium's food, beverage and retail partner is an important step forward as we evolve to meet the needs of our supporters," Crew SC President of Business Operations Andy Loughnane said in the press release. "Levy's successful operational track record in sports and entertainment venues, including all athletic venues at The Ohio State University and other MLS stadiums, will allow us to build a stronger stadium experience and leverage the strengths of a partner who understands our community and our sport.
"Our rebrand has offered us a great opportunity to evaluate how we run our day-to-day business affairs. Our rebrand work is not done and Crew SC will continue to make strategic enhancements. It made sense for us to bring in an expert with the breadth and depth of retail and merchandise experience that Levy holds. The fact that they share our commitment to great customer service made this decision easier."
Crew SC are excited for the changes at the stadium and Levy is happy to be the new partner. The company believes they are in line with what the Black and Gold are looking to build under the ownership of Anthony Precourt and the new rebrand.
"The soccer club environment is about passion - for the game and the club, and you feel that in MAPFRE Stadium," Levy Restaurants President and CEO Andy Lansing said in the press release. "We have that same passion for food and beverage. We are excited to have been tapped by Crew SC and look forward to amplifying that great fan experience with a local food story representing the best of Columbus and the spirit of the team."
Crew SC kickoff the home slate of their 2015 Saturday night at the newly named MAPFRE Stadium against rivals Toronto FC. The match kickoff at 7:30 pm ET.
Check back to Massive Report throughout the week for updates from training and everything you need to know ahead of Saturday's contest.