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Cowboys, Yankees form concessions company

Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees. Jerry Jones and George Steinbrenner.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees. Jerry Jones and George Steinbrenner.

Two of the most recognizable franchises in all of sports — and two of the highest-profile owners — are forming a company together. Legends Hospitality Management will handle concession and merchandise sales at the clubs' new stadiums, with the goal of eventually doing the same for other pro teams and college programs.

"Mr. Jones and my dad have had a mutual respect for each other for decades,'' Yankees co-chairman Hal Steinbrenner said at a news conference Monday. "So it made perfect sense for us.''

Each franchise moves into a new stadium next year.

Gerald Cardinale of Goldman Sachs, who has worked with the Yankees and their YES Network, first pitched the idea more than a year ago. The Cowboys already manage their own concessions and merchandising.

Yankees president Randy Levine said his team will have a "market-rate'' rights agreement with Legends, and that money will be subject to Major League Baseball revenue-sharing. But the company's profits will not.

Former Pizza Hut president Mike Rawlings will serve as CEO. He said teams and fans alike aren't happy with the current quality of stadium concessions.

Food and drink prices have yet to be set for the new stadiums, Rawlings said. While he insisted the goal wasn't to raise prices, he said increasing "value'' was the main objective, from shortening lines to offering fresher food and a greater variety of options.

Legends could eventually expand its services to handle areas such as sales of seat licenses, Jones said.

"We are the No. 1 television team in the NFL. We have that kind of visibility. The Yankees have unparalleled visibility,'' he said. "That should, if we perform and get the job done, create inordinate interest in where we rank in this business.''

Goldman Sachs and CIC Partners LP, a Dallas-based private equity firm, will help provide financing for the company.

George Steinbrenner did not attend the news conference, but officials showed a video of the two larger-than-life owners meeting in Tampa last Monday.

In it, Steinbrenner says, "I've always been an admirer of yours,'' and Jones echoes the sentiment.