Improving communities through sport

Common Pitfalls in the Development Process of a Sports Facility

Guest post written by Cameron Connelly, Content Marketing Intern, The Sports Facilities Companies. 

Bringing a youth sports facility to your community can be incredibly rewarding, however, it’s not without its challenges. There are many steps and decisions that need to be made throughout the process. If any are done incorrectly, it can greatly delay the success of the project. We have come up with a small list of areas that are often overlooked or have the potential to cause the most problems in the sports facility development process so that you know what to look out for.

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Lack of Research

Someone once said that “if you build it, they will come”, but that’s not completely accurate. There needs to be interest in a sport and an active community of participants for people to come check it out. So, when building a new sports facility in a community it is important to determine their needs and interests before mowing down cornfields to make room for a baseball diamond. The goal of a new sports complex should never be to make the most amazing facility in the world. Rather, the goal should be to make the most amazing sports facility that meets the economic and physical needs of the community. No sports facility design or plan works in every location. The plan changes based on the community because it should be built for the community. So do your research and listen to what residents are asking for. (And if you need help determining the type of venue that will work best for your community and region, our sports facility planning servicesteam has helped 1000’s of cities discover what facility type has the best chance of achieving your definition of success.)

Shared Vision

In keeping with the Field of Dreams theme, that baseball diamond in the middle of the corn field never would’ve gotten built had Ray not had the vision for it. In real life, the vision that you have for a facility won’t come to fruition if you aren’t able to accurately portray your vision to everyone involved so that anyone working on the project is working towards the same goal. If you have 100 people working on the project and you just tell them to build a baseball field, they may have 100 different variations. If you want your vision to be the one that gets built, then it is important that you express exactly what it is that you want to everyone involved and achieve buy in from stakeholders. The clearer your vision is articulated, the easier it will be to guide your team towards it.


Once funding is in place, establishing the project budget becomes the next crucial part of the facility development process. Not only does a good budget, one that aligns with the program plan, established during the planning phase of the project ensures that venue design and development focuses community needs and building facility components that ensure operational success.


And we are back to your regularly scheduled Field of Dreams references. If you are going to clear out a corn field to build a baseball diamond, make sure you also start clearing out the corn field next to it to accommodate all the cars. If you know early on that you are building a facility that will hold tournaments that bring in thousands of players and spectators, then you need to plan for a parking lot that is able to hold all the vehicles that brought those teams and spectators to you. It will ensure a comfortable and efficient experience for guests.

If you are hearing voices telling you to build a new sports facility in your community, feel free to contact us or give us a call at 727-474-3845. We have a team of experts that can help to determine if your vision is feasible in your community or help you make the adjustments necessary to fulfill the dream.

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