Improving communities through sport

Concept to Concrete

SF Companies' Proven Development Process

Since 2003, our mission has been to dramatically improve the health and economic vitality of the communities we serve.

This is done through the development of sports, recreation and entertainment facilities. Our mission is powered by an experienced and dedicated team and a set of proven methods that has guided the rise of many of the nation’s most successful youth sports tourism destinations.

The Concept to Concrete process is a comprehensive framework of precise steps that allows your vision to grow from an initial idea to a fully functional venue ready to meet revenue and community expectations. 

Each stage is rooted in best practices and conducted by our team of business analysts, funding advisors, architects, engineers, construction professionals, facility operators, event professionals, and marketing and branding experts. 

This means that your concept will be thoroughly evaluated, right-sized for success, and supported by a team who will be with you every step of the way from seeking funding partners to facility development to opening day and beyond.

The Concept to Concrete process is comprised of the following phases, each with a corresponding set of services:

Concept Validation
Project Financing
Project Development
Operational Development
Facility Management


Community-defining, impactful venues are born out of ideas.

You may have a vision for how a sports or recreation facility can serve your community through innovative programming that promotes a healthy lifestyle. Or perhaps you have a vision for a sports tourism destination that provides a significant economic impact to the region. Whatever your definition of success, our team of business advisors will help you refine it and establish the specific details that will be the basis for your facility concept.

The team at Sports Facilities Advisory conduct the following services in the Visioning Phase:

  • Business Development Planning Session
  • Market Opportunity Assessment
  • Recreation Master Planning

Concept Validation

In order for a vision to develop into a project, it must go through a thorough analysis of all factors that may have a positive or negative impact on it.

At SFA, we’ve gathered data from our work in over 2,000 communities nationwide to understand the market conditions and practices necessary for the successful planning and funding of a sports, recreation, or entertainment venue. In many cases, the vision will evolve in this phase of the process. This process yields a plan for a right-sized facility with an accurate cash flow forecast and financial projections, based on your business model, hard and soft costs, and projected revenues.

SFA conducts the following services during the Concept Validation Phase:

  • Market Opportunity Analysis
  • Pro Forma
  • Economic Impact Analysis
  • Feasibility Analysis

Project Financing

With a plan for a right-sized venue in hand, the process of securing funding can commence. Success in the process will look different for each project.

The goal is to find funding sources that support your mission, vision, and definition of success. For each of our clients, we develop our Funding Toolkit, which includes financial and economic impact forecasts and market analyses, as well as your right-sized market plan. We also build world-class presentations and support you through introductions to funding and development sources.

Project Financing Phase services include:

  • Pro Forma
  • Funding Support Services
  • Fundraising Deliverables

Project Development

From groundbreaking to ribbon-cutting,

SFD is here for you every step of the way with services aimed at containing costs and equipping venues to achieve operational excellence. Our team of architects, engineers, construction professionals, and facility operators can provide insight and best practices for the facility design and operational components of a project and can work collaboratively with your AEC or architect.

Project Development Phase services include:

  • Owner’s Representation
  • Venue Planning
  • FF&E Procurement

Operational Development

While the sports or recreational facility is being developed, systems, relationships, and brands need to be built.

SFM uses their experience working in facilities that have generated over 25 million visits per year to create a venue that possesses a sound foundation for success. A sports or recreation facility requires a variety of systems working in concert for it to achieve operational and economic success. This includes the development of financial systems, hiring employees, establishing a brand, and seeking legal protection.

Project Development Phase services include:

  • Staff Recruitment
  • Brand Development and Marketing
  • Staff Development and Training

Facility Management

Through a myriad of resources and expertise, SFM has established itself as the preeminent provider of sports facility management services.

Communities of various sizes are turning to outsourced facility management as a way to maximize their sports and recreation assets. Our services cover all facets of facility management including HR, financial management, marketing, and business development. Additionally, our facilities enjoy the power of being a part of the SFM Network, a group of the most successful and innovative youth sports facilities in the United States.

Facility Management Phase services include:

  • Staff Recruitment
  • Facility Operations
  • Human Resource Support
  • Marketing & Sales Leadership
  • Staff Development and Training
  • Optimization Studies and Plans

Featured Projects

Albertville, AL

This gorgeous 130 acre park will feature premier spaces for sports and recreation use, making the experience a "park within a park." The complex will feature spaces for sports including baseball, softball fields, long-field sports, a recreation center, aquatics, tennis, an amphitheater, and a dog park.

Grand Chute, WI

The Community First Champion Center is an indoor complex featuring three sports pods. A modular design, one of the pods converts from courts to ice seasonally. The state-of-the-art facility hosts court and ice-based events as well as ice hockey leagues, learn-to-skate programs, parties, and group events.

Sandusky, OH

This new 145,000 square foot sports complex features 10 full-size basketball courts which convert to 20 full-size volleyball courts.

Featured Team Leader

Founding Partner

Dev Pathik is widely regarded as a premier thought leader in the youth and amateur sports space. Through his work with the Aspen Institute’s Project Play 2020, relationships with various national governing bodies, the International City and County Managers Association, HBO’s Real Sports, TODAY Show, and others, Dev has given a unique voice to the development boom of youth sports, the social and economic responsibilities inherent in these projects, and broadened the opportunity for creating successful mixed-use developments with youth sports anchors. To learn more about Dev and the other members of our outstanding team, visit our team page.

Learn how we can serve at every stage and every step​

Download our free

Concept to Concrete Guide

Concept to Concrete Guide

Download our free

Sports Tourism Guide


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