Providing a great tournament experience goes beyond serving the athlete. Many of the families attending tournaments have at least one child not participating in the event. The average tournament (basketball, baseball, lacrosse, etc.) takes place from 3-4 days, so there’s a lot of time to fill. This is where amenities such as family entertainment centers, climbing walls, and even playgrounds come in. All of which can keep children (and adults) occupied during long tournament days.
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How It Works:
If you are waiting until construction has started to consider an FEC, you’re waiting too late. Pursuing an FEC starts with market analysis to determine the size of the optimal potential audience. Once an audience has been determined, the space and operational aspects of this venue within a venue must be considered. This includes having a large enough IT and electrical infrastructure to support it. You must also consider the type of games the FEC will contain in the design. Greater horizontal space is needed for laser tag. Greater vertical space is needed for climbing walls. A more extensive IT infrastructure is needed to support esports or VR gaming. The latter requires a Wi-Fi infrastructure that’s robust enough to support data transfer from many devices.
FEC’s are gamechangers for facility operators. While the presence of a traditional FEC can drive revenue and build a comprehensive experience for guests, adding games that simulate thrilling experiences like kicking the winning goal, fighting zombies, or driving a F1 sports car, can separate your venue from others. This is critical from a revenue standpoint as the average family entertainment center drives $40-70 worth of revenue per square foot. FEC’s also build a connection with the local community when they are open to residents throughout the week.
Given the statistics, the success of these venues is building the business case for future facilities to develop FEC’s with a larger footprint and more innovative games. Soon, sports venue FEC’s may resemble Andretti Indoor Karting & Games (various locations). The 10,000 sq. ft. indoor complex features some of the world’s most innovative VR shooter games including Hologate and Hyperdeck, a ropes course, a VR laser tag arena, and a go kart track.
Obstacles To Entry:
It’s important to note that while FEC’s are a tremendous amenity for guests on tournament weekends, that’s not what drives ROI. There must be a community around your facility that can enjoy the FEC on a daily basis. This becomes particularly important when adding more technologically advanced FEC attractions such as ones involving AR and VR or an esports lounge. These items outpace the cost of traditional FEC’s items and the ROI on them must match that.
FEC’s In Action:
Several sports and recreation venues have fantastic FEC’s in place, including Iron Peak Sports & Events in Hillsborough, NJ. Cliffhanger Entertainment, the FEC at Iron Peak, features a full array of arcade games, colorful climbing walls, a ninja course, and an aerial ropes course. Not only does Cliffhanger Entertainment keep guests entertained throughout the year, but they also host a ninja skills camp for children.