100th NHL All-Star Game Per Caps Hit $38

Event at Staples Center in L.S. marks second highest merch per cap in All-Star Game history

  • by Linda Deckard
  • Published: February 8, 2017

Staples Center, Los Angeles, turned into Hockeywood for the NHL All-Star Game.

With close to 50,000 people over three nights attending National Hockey League's (NHL) All-Star Game events Jan. 28-29 at Staples Center, Microsoft Theater and L.A.  Live in Los Angeles, food and beverage per caps were strong.

Lee Zeidman, president, Staples Center/Microsoft Theater/LA Live, said the food and beverage per cap for the All-Stars Skills Competition Saturday came in at $28 and it was close to $33 for NHL All-Star Game itself.

On the retail front, All-Star merchandise sold by AEG under the leadership of Sean Ryan posted the second highest per cap, behind last year’s game at Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tenn., at an average of $19.84. The arena merchandise per cap was $19.93, and at FanFair, held at the Los Angeles Convention Center, also an AEG-managed venue, it was $19.61.

This marked the fourth time Staples Center has hosted an All-Star Game, including two for the National Basketball Association and two for the NHL (the last one in 2002). “Next year will be our fifth with the 2018 NBA All-Star Game; that will make five All-Star Games in the 18-year history of the building,” Zeidman said.

This NHL All-Star Game was particularly special because it was the 100th. Because it coincided with the Los Angeles Kings’ 50th anniversary, the team took the lead on bidding for the game and was the liaison with the league. In past games, AEG /Staples Center had been the primary contract signer, and will be again for the NBA All-Star Game next year, Zeidman said.

The building handled everything from sponsorship activation to operations to day-to-day activity within the venues, including the arena, theater, Microsoft Square and the Event Deck.

This year, the risk was shared by the Kings and the building and, as part of the bid process, they had to hit certain milestones; hotel rooms were guaranteed, expenses were incurred within the building, and guarantees to the league were crafted out.

Staples Center has an advantage in that special events were carved out when suites were sold, so AEG was able to generate a good portion of revenue by selling the 170 suites, sometimes to the original suite owner. “There is a split to everything as it relates to revenue and expense streams,” Zeidman added, declining to reveal the percentages.

“Because of the size of the building and 170 suites (154 permanent and 16 day-of-game suites), along with 25 premium tables and lounges, there is an opportunity to generate quite a bit of revenue,” Zeidman said, adding the game does make money for the venue.

All-Star Weekend suites prices ranged from $10,000-$20,000, all one-off deals, and sold out.

Premium tables and lounges are new to the All-Star offerings. “We realized that in the San Manuel Club, which has two levels with view tables, people would come in and squat, and watch the entire game. We realized that was prime real estate and not generating the F&B income Levy and we would expect,” Zeidman said.

The 18 premier lounges, a four-top table, and the seven premier tables, four seats with a table behind you, sell on an annual basis for $125,000-$175,000, for which buyers get all three teams’ games (Kings hockey and Lakers and Clippers basketball). For the All-Star Game, they sold for $3,000-$4,000, depending on the location.

Levy Restaurant’s Chef Joey Martin said food offerings were all about L.A. Fans coming in from around the world “want to see what our food story is. They’ve seen what’s in their hometown. People like to see what other cities are all about.”

chefludosmeatballs600.jpgChef Ludo's Meatball Sandwich

Martin was proud of the variety of offerings at Staples Center, but did add some special touches for the All-Star Game. “Chef Ludo [Lefebvre] came out with a special carving bar. We also do his meatballs. And we have a stand that does his fried chicken sandwich. Ray Garcia, another local chef, had a few new dishes — his style nachos and his style shrimp cocktail,” Martin said.

Blaze Pizza, which came in the venue this year to make pizza dough from scratch, was the biggest hit, Martin said. Guests cannot pick toppings in this iteration of Blaze Pizza, but the dough is fresh, with four set toppings offered.

A special offering in DraftKings, Staples Center’s new restaurant, was lobster mac and cheese. Martin said they only prepared 25 and marketed them as “while supplies last.” They sold out before the puck dropped. He plans to add that to the Grammy’s offerings this coming Sunday.

maccheese600.jpgLobster Mac & Cheese was a "while supplies last" offer.

Doors opened 90 minutes before the game, but most people arrived just 30 minutes out. Plus, it was a lunchtime crowd on a Sunday, which means many people ate a late breakfast before arriving or had dinner plans. But per caps were still strong.

Levy created four special food packages for suites, each with something you can’t get on a normal menu. One was upscale, seafood bar with King Crab legs, shrimp; one was local fare, like tacos. All four suite packages included desserts; it was all in one. However, only three of the four sold out. For the NBA All-Star Game next year, Martin said he’ll probably bring the suite packages down to three.

“We had two of our busiest suite days of the year,” Martin added.

A big plus was having a dark week before the big game, allowing F&B to start prepping earlier than normal. Martin set up logistics well in advance and, by deploying the team early, was able to make due with a nearly normal staffing level.

One change that he will apply to future special events was additional teams to fire the food. He drew some of that staff from people who normally distribute condiments the day of game. Instead, they brought those in early and were checked off 100 percent before the big day. He turned that labor into addional peole to fire the food on Sunday.

“For a normal game, I tell cooks to start firing an hour and a half before the doors open. One team will fire a number of different items. During Grammy Days, we start an hour and a half to two hours before the event, but now, with three teams each specializing in certain dishes, we’ll have more hands on deck for the hot foods compared to a normal event,” Martin said. For a normal hockey game, he’ll have 4-5 cooks; on Grammy Day, 15-20 cooks just doing hot food; and for the All-Star Game, it got up to six or seven.

The 100th NHL All-Star Game was special in that it marked the first time they had 100 of the top players in the entire history of the league in one place, Zeidman said. “At the NHL 100 Microsoft Theater event, 67 of them were there; at the game, 44 were still there, on the ice with 40-some All-Star players. All of them assembled in one building…you won’t see that again.”

  • by Linda Deckard
  • Published: February 8, 2017