Improving communities through sport

6 Characteristics of a Top Performing Outdoor Sports Complex


Key characteristics of top performing outdoor sports complexes.

An outdoor sports complex is an integral part of a community. Not only does it offer residents of the area a safe place to enjoy recreational and competitive sporting events, but it also helps to promote an active and healthy lifestyle.
But first, before a community is able to enjoy all the benefits of an outdoor sports complex, it must become successful (translation: people go there, and you make some money in the process). And while success is something that all sports facilities want, it’s not something all complexes get.

That’s where we at Sports Facilities Advisory come in. We’ve taken the time to identify a number of characteristics that all top performing outdoor sports complexes have. If you’re able to replicate these six things, there’s no reason your facility won’t become a bustling outdoor sports complex for all the community to enjoy, while also still achieving your revenue goals.

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Adequate Funding

One of the biggest keys to ensure that you have the funding necessary is to establish one lead group to head the project–this instead of several small contributors. While it may be easier to split the bill between multiple nonprofit organizations, or educational and private entities, having one big group will not only ensure that the project maintains funding throughout its entirety, but it will also make sure the project stays on time, according to a Branson Sports Complex Study.

Easy Access

It doesn’t matter how great your complex is if nobody can get there. The idea here is to make your outdoor sports complex easily accessible to any form of public transportation – car, bus, train, plane, whatever. The easier it is to find, the more likely people are to show up.

Quality Programs

Once you have a complex that people can find, you still need to make your outdoor sports complex an attractive place to be. One way to do this is to have quality programs in place – a good co-ed softball league and perhaps a few competitive youth leagues. Once you do this you establish some credibility. It is then that you can enter the conversation as a suitable vendor to host local, regional, and even national tournaments, which means more money for you.

Provide Affordable Services

The purpose of the outdoor sports complex is to provide a service (it is a recreation center, after all). Yes, you want to make money, but don’t take away the very service you’re trying to provide by eliminating most of the target audience with outrageous fees and concession stand prices. This isn’t to say that you completely lowball yourself and charge next to nothing for league fees, tournaments, etc., just be mindful of your target audience and what you’re trying to accomplish.

Multi-Purpose Fields

When it comes to an outdoor sports complex, you want to make the most of the space you have. This means soccer fields doubling as football fields, and softball fields doubling as a nice space to have a picnic. The concept here is to use the fields for multiple purposes and separate events that can be held simultaneously. By creating an efficient sports complex design, you eliminate the amount of space needed for your complex, thus reducing the amount of money you have to spend.

Family Friendly

And lastly, be a welcoming place for families. That doesn’t mean you have to enforce a strict no fun policy, but it does mean that any inappropriate behavior should be punished accordingly. You know, a one game ban for offensive language in the co-ed softball league. Stuff like that. After all, families will be the majority of people who utilize your outdoor sports complex. Make the necessary accommodations.

Plan, Fund, Build and Manage a Sports Complex with SFA

Managing an outdoor sports complex can seem like an overwhelming task, but with proper facility planning, development funding, and sports facility management (everything listed above), you’ll be well on your way to becoming a top recreation center.

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