Scott Marshall, a veteran of 25 years in sports concessions, has joined Messenger Corp. to launch a hospitality consulting group to help teams develop food and retail destinations at stadiums and arenas.
Marshall, president of the newly formed Messenger Sports, spent the past seven years with the San Diego Padres as chief hospitality officer after coming over from Centerplate, where he was senior vice president of operations.
He joins Mark Hawksworth, co-founding partner of Messenger Sports and its executive vice president.
Other key executives are design director Russell Nishimoto and Ben Brady, director of architecture. Hawksworth and Nishimoto were already with Messenger, and Brady ran a small architecture firm in Brooklyn.
During his tenure with the Padres, Marshall worked with Messenger, a 94-year-old Seattle firm, and Delaware North Sportservice, the team’s food provider, to transform concession spaces at Petco Park into restaurant and deli style stands such as Buona Forchetta and Seaside Market (see photo above).
Marshall first worked with Messenger about 15 years ago when he was with Centerplate. The firm helped redesign upgrades to the old San Diego Chargers team store at Qualcomm Stadium, now SDCCU Stadium.
“When I came over from Centerplate, I always wanted to know what it was like to be in a front-office environment and absolutely loved it,” Marshall said. “What I learned on the team side changed the industry a little by focusing on brands that people love and bring them into the stadium.”
On its own, Messenger, which started as a sign company in 1925, has worked with Seattle blue-chip brands such as Amazon, Nordstrom and Starbucks. Working in sports venues had been a small percentage of Messenger’s overall business until Marshall came on board.
Messenger Sports will consult on design and build the infrastructure at its 50,000-square-foot production facility in Seattle, he said. Marshall will remain in San Diego in his new job and Messenger also has a New York office. The company will team with concessionaires, architects and specialists such as Shawmut Construction to refresh food and retail spaces.
“We don’t see ourselves as a competitor,” Marshall said. “What we bring to the table is the concessions experience from my side with the design experience from Messenger and putting it together to bridge that communication on what drives revenue overall.”
Marshall is in preliminary talks with the Padres about developing potential food upgrades at Petco Park for the 2020 season, but nothing is definite, he said. He’s also having conversations with other teams for new business.
“It was a tough thing to leave the Padres, but there’s an opportunity knowing we can change the fabric of the fan experience,” Marshall said. “Now is the best time to take that (vision) on the road and share it with all teams.”