DUUU IT YOURSELF: The newest grab-and-go market at EverBank Stadium is tied to Amazon technology. (Courtesy Delaware North)

Amazon joins TendedBar, Zippin

The Jacksonville Jaguars and Delaware North Sportservice are showcasing concessions technology as they push for a new NFL stadium in north Florida.

The recent installation of a grab-and-go market tied to Amazon systems at EverBank Stadium, coupled with six TendedBar self-serve cocktail machines already in place, are two examples of using the existing building to test concepts that could potentially be part of a new facility, said Marcus Snead, Sportservice’s general manager.

“We can show the city and our fans that this is what a new stadium’s technology could look like in the future,” Snead said. “For us, it’s important to see how it performs and how our fans look at it.”

The new market, branded as Duuuval Express, named after the team’s chant (Jacksonville sits in Duval County), is a retrofit of an old belly-up concession stand originally designed as a mini-food hall on the ground floor of the stadium in the south end zone. Over the past two years, the stand had evolved into a self-checkout location, but it wasn’t moving fans through fast enough to complete their transactions, Snead said.

Through the first three games at EverBank Stadium in 2023, including two NFL regular season contests, ¬†items sold per transaction and total spend at Duuuval Express are up significantly higher compared with the self-checkout model in 2022, said Chad Johnson, the Jaguars’ chief operating officer.

For the most recent home game, Sept. 24 against Houston, total revenue at Duuuval Express was up 50% over last year’s home opener, he said.

The Jaguars’ analytics team can track transaction time and which team has the ball on offense during those purchases, as well as buys completed during plays on the field, which adds another layer of data for the team as it moves ahead in new stadium development.

“For example, our transactions during the second quarter are four times higher than at halftime,” Johnson said. “We start looking at exact timing. When the opponent has the ball to end the first half, ¬†fans are going out and getting food and drink so they can be back in their seats for kickoff of the second half, because our third quarter transactions are significantly lower than in the second quarter.”

Tracking the timing of fan behavior allows the Jaguars and Sportservice to be better prepared to restock and focus on speed of service during those heavy transaction periods, he said.

The Jaguars and Sportservice made the decision to remake the front of the old market, using Amazon Just Walk Out technology and its overhead cameras to develop autonomous checkout, the next step to create a frictionless shopping experience.

Fans access the market with their credit or register with their palm print using Amazon One technology. Sportservice has support staff on hand to help fans navigate the system.

The Jaguars and Sportservice shared equally in the investment, with the food vendor covering the cost of credit card fees, Snead said.

“It’s somewhat (unusual) to see the team side making an investment like this, when there’s a conversation about the stadium of the future, when there’s a short shelf life for this product,” Johnson said. “This technology will play a major role in concessions and retail and decided it made sense to get as many learnings as possible and see how a new stadium could be set up.”

Location is key, according to Snead. Duuuval Express, which contains both hot and cold items, is situated next to Daily’s Place, the 6,000-capacity amphitheater that doubles as a Jaguars practice field during football season. During concerts, the market captures business from those patrons.

For Sportservice, it was important to continue serving hot items such as pizza and hot dogs and keep that variety intact under the new setup, Snead said.

“It’s been working exactly as Amazon told us it would work,” he said. “It’s the wave of the future as we design ad build new stadiums. Imagine how the overall fan experience would be if there were no lines at all, moving people through at a rapid rate.”

Duuuval Express joins TendedBar and its facial notification system, plus a beer market using Zippin autonomous technology and which opened last season, as the Jaguars and Sportservice step up in one of the NFL’s smallest market.

“Jacksonville was considered somewhat of a low-tech town in terms of what we did at the stadium,” Snead said. “The last few years, we’ve been adding some new things. We’re starting to catch up with bigger tech towns, such as Seattle, which is part of Delaware North’s commitment as a whole.”

In addition to EverBank Stadium, the Jaguars are doing research overseas as part of their two upcoming games at Wembley Stadium (Oct. 1) and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (Oct. 8). Delaware North also runs the food at Wembley. Johnson is in England to attend both games.

“I’ve been working closely with DNC’s team on a fact finding mission at both stadiums,” he said.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated.