The Philadelphia Phillies did not cooperate. Well, at least not as I had hoped. In mid-summer, while baseball was heating up and the Phillies were in first place, an October cover story on Aramark and its management of the brand new Citizens Bank ParkÃ.‚¬"home to the World Series-bound Phillies--seemed a natural fit. Alas it was not to be.
The Phillies lack of success, however, has done little to squelch the enthusiasm the new park has generated. From its design all the way through Aramark's expert execution, Citizens Bank Park stands out, even among the numerous new parks that have opened over the last few years.
For anyone who ever experienced the old Veterans Stadium--happily imploded, never to be seen again--the change is all the more telling. While much of my youth was spent in the Veteran's stadium stands rooting for (or in the case of the 1983 World Series, against) the Phillies, the experience was often lacking.
No it isn't the luxury boxes that mark the biggest change. It is the focus on fans that Citizens Bank Park brings back to Philadelphia. Architecture-wise, that means better sight lines, wider concourses and more women's bathrooms. But technology has also played a role from the very beginning of the process. The Phillies and Aramark worked jointly to develop a loyalty-like program that allows fans in certain areas of the park to redeem value on their ticket stubs with no more than a barcode scan. Many fans also have access to wireless POS ordering with the food brought right to the seat.
Such innovations are driving profitability for both Aramark and the Phillies, and just as importantly, allow fans to spend more time in their seats enjoying the game. With three million fans--myself included--and counting, Philadelphia is once again an enjoyable place to watch baseball. Now if only the Phillies would cooperate.