By Tim Newcomb
When Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, debuted in March 2020, the doors weren’t opened to fans because of the pandemic. But the MLB venue, the new home of the Texas Rangers, became the first baseball stadium to welcome back fans by serving as a neutral-site location for major 2020 postseason series.
“Not only were we one of the first venues to welcome back fans, but it was a brand-new building, and our first events were the National League Championship Series and the World Series,” said Casey Rapp, general manager at Globe Life Field for Delaware North Sportservice. “Playing it safe was the biggest challenge. How could we operate a new building, with new associations, and make sure our fans were safe?”
To make it happen, Rapp says they adjusted how they trained staff by implementing online training for associates, tweaked menus based on new regulations and supply chain issues, and embraced fan-facing technology, including offering mobile ordering for fans.
Hosting those initial MLB events at 25% capacity in 2020 helped staff “ease into the new ballpark,” a site that shifted to a completely cashless environment just before the first event.
Coming into the 2021 season, Rapp said, they had several questions to consider as capacity increased to 100%. Analyzing data from those first few events in 2020 allowed the Delaware North Sportservice team to adjust based on which food and retail outlets performed best and why, where fans tended to spend the most time and what technology they embraced and didn’t embrace.
“Technology allowed us to have self-checkout, mobile ordering,
kiosk ordering and pickup windows,” Rapp said. “We also enjoyed the addition of Delaware North’s market-style concessions outlets, which offer greater flexibility to the fan as they can browse for food and beverage items with ease and use self-checkout.”
Rapp said they would continue to grow their technology platform to make the fan experience more seamless. From a staffing perspective they will continue to train and incentivize the associates to build for the future.