Sunderland AFC supporters celebrated the opening of the new English Premier League soccer season with a variety of new culinary offerings in a specially created and newly installed pre-match Fan Zone area which has been designed and developed by Centerplate, the club’s catering partner, and is located on the southeast corner of the Stadium of Light site.
The Fan Zone, a festival and streetmarket space for match day ticketholders, with the capacity to accommodate up to 6,000 guests, opens three hours prior to kick-off and for one hour after the final whistle, offering entertainment and an array of food and beverages in a fun, family-friendly environment. Created and implemented expressly for Sunderland AFC by Centerplate’s own Hospitality Solutions Group, the Black Cats’ Fan Zone brings a new element to the stadium and adds to the excitement of match-day for supporters.
New menu specialties offer the opportunity to sample classic stadium favorites alongside creative dishes such as a pulled pork sundae, or traditional British Sunday roast in a stottie. International flavors are also being introduced, with sample items such as Mexican chicken tortillas.
Live music, entertainment, games, and the opportunity to build community with fellow supporters and visiting fans, are central to the Fan Zone experience. A new Legends Area offers the opportunity to meet some of the Black Cats’ football heroes; while The Deck, an elevated mezzanine area overlooking the festivities, can be used as a VIP party area. A large format screen on the southeast corner of the stadium site will allow for special programming and telecasts. The Fan Zone will also be open as an amenity to concert-goers and other special event attendees during major shows at the Stadium of Light.
Adrian Dishington, COO of Centerplate’s UK division, said, “We are extremely excited to be thinking quite literally outside the box when it comes to the amenities we can offer supporters at the Stadium of Light. ‘Making it Better to Be There’ is the foundation for everything we do at Centerplate, and we take a holistic approach to enhancing the match-day experience for fans so that they get the very most out of their visit. The Fan Zone is the first of its kind for the supporters of a Premier League club, and it provides a fantastic and unique opportunity to build community and excitement around the Black Cats in a family-friendly environment.”
In January this year, Sunderland AFC signed a new long-term contract extension with Centerplate to continue to provide public match-day catering at the Stadium of Light, a role it has played since 1997. As part of the new relationship, Centerplate established Sunderland AFC’s Stadium of Light as a Centre of Excellence – a move that will see the venue become a center for innovation in sports stadia catering, from staff training and development of new food and drink concepts, to the beta-testing of new equipment and technologies – enabling Sunderland’s fans to enjoy the latest experience enhancement innovations from a global leader in event hospitality responsible for the Super Bowl 50 and marquee events at more than 50 venues across the UK.
August 26, 2015