The Sports Facility Checklist
The development phase which occurs after your project is funded, but prior to the grand opening, is a hectic time for every new facility owner. At any given moment, there are decisions to be made about paint colors, construction delays, last-minute design changes, and budget concerns.
Our team at SFM has opened more sports facilities than anyone – how do we do it? We’re strategic, efficient, and we’re organized. Our pre-opening timeline and project management checklist keeps us on track for a successful business launch. We’ve curated some of the most useful items from the list to get you started.
Your general manager, marketing director, and finance manager are some of your most important hires. 12-18 months prior to opening, it’s time to post those resumes and get them circulating so you have a talent pool from which to choose. You don’t want to make a bad hire or rush the process by waiting.
Our marketing timeline begins 12 months prior to opening with brand development (including logo) and kicks off the website development process (which typically takes 3 months). Our phased approach moves from general awareness (creating the destination) to program awareness, database building, and conversion.
Get Ready to Spend
Pre-opening is an expensive time; there’s no way around it. There will be investments made in salaries, marketing, construction, and equipment, and very little money coming in the door. It’s uncomfortable for most. Remember to set up your financial reporting and keep in mind your pro forma included this in your pre-opening budget. Be sure to fully fund your accounts ahead of time or in monthly installments. Delaying spending in areas like marketing may feel advantageous in the moment, but may come back to haunt you later (when your facility is empty).
Watch your target dates
Identify key target dates for major items and work backwards with your planning. Plan your hard hat tour invitations around your temporary certificate of occupancy, plan to begin your grand opening marketing 8 weeks prior, and plan your permit/license applications with plenty of cushion prior to grand opening.
Pre-opening can be a chaotic, but exciting, time. Once you’re organized, try to take a moment and enjoy the incredible project you’re building and envision the unmistakable impact this will have on your community.