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Delaware North Cos: Concession King

December 2, 2013

Concessions can mean giving in, but for Delaware North Cos. it has been taking in a lot of profits with the huge concession business it runs.

Delaware North Companies, Inc. was founded in 1915 as Jacob Brothers after the three Jacob brothers who started the company. Its company headquarters is located in Buffalo, New York.  Their business initially was to operate concessions in theaters.  During the hot summer months these establishments closed down so the brothers had to look for other revenue sources and they focused their attention on ballparks. This was the start of the sports concession industry.

Expanding the family business they established Sportservice in 1926 following contracts with minor-league ballparks in Buffalo and Syracuse, New York. Sportservice is currently the largest operating company of Delaware North.  The year 1930 saw the company in its first major-league deal signing an agreement with the Detroit Tigers to handle food service at Navin Field. The Tigers is still a client today.

Diversifying where there was opportunity they acquired a racetrack which was how Delaware North Companies Gaming & Entertainment came into being. In 1941 airports became part of the market starting with a contract to provide food service in Washington National Airport. Thus began Delaware North Companies Travel Hospitalities Services which today operates in more than 30 major airports around the world.  By adding gaming to some of its racetrack properties in the late 1990s the company eventually became the largest racino operator in North America.

Today Delaware North is a leading provider of food services and hospitalities at airports, sports stadiums, and tourist destinations across the U.S. such as in Yosemite National Park and a handful of other countries. It runs concessions at over 50 major and minor league sporting arenas. The company also owns Boston’s TD Garden arena. It operates racing and gaming businesses in half a dozen states. Delaware North operates at 300 locations and serves 500 million customers a years.

This family-owned business has over 55,000 employees and annual revenues of around $2.6 billion.

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