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The Evolution of Sports Facility Design in 2024: A Focus on Smaller, More Engaging Venues


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Sports facility design is undergoing a significant transformation this year. Gone are the days when the construction of massive sports complexes was the norm. In recent years, and especially looking ahead to 2024, there’s been a noticeable shift toward developing smaller, more specialized venues. This evolution is in part caused by the increasing number of massive facilities and the high costs of sports facility construction and operation. For this blog post, I sat down with The Sports Facilities Companies’ National Director of Business Development, Jim Arnold. We discussed the trends that he has noticed in the industry along with some of his hopes for where the industry is going. The biggest trend, ironically, is the move away from massive facilities in favor of smaller, experience-driven venues.

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Shifting Priorities in Sports Facilities

The era of constructing colossal sports complexes is gradually giving way to a more strategic approach with smaller, highly specialized venues. This shift is driven by the escalating costs of construction and a crowded market where large facilities are no longer special and won’t help a facility stand out in the crowd. Teams and tournament owners now have a much larger number of options when selecting venues, prompting a move towards creating venues that provide memorable experiences for the players, fans, and the community.

Positive Impacts of Smaller Sports Facilities

Smaller sports facilities offer a myriad of benefits, both economically and socially. They can integrate seamlessly into urban settings, foster community engagement, and make sports more accessible for the surrounding community. The smaller venues also demand lower upfront investments and operational costs, enhancing their economic viability. Most importantly, they provide a closer, more personal atmosphere that can significantly enhance fan engagement and enjoyment for both locals and visitors.

Creating Unique Sports Facility Experiences

Technological Integration and Immersive Fan Experiences

Today’s sports venues are becoming smart stadiums, equipped with the latest technology to elevate the fan experience. Augmented reality, mobile app integrations, and high-speed internet connectivity are transforming how spectators engage with the sport. These technological advancements not only enhance the viewing experience but also streamline access to amenities, setting new standards in fan engagement.

Multipurpose Spaces and Community Engagement

Similar to the tiny-home movement that has grown in popularity in recent years, new sports facilities need to be designed with versatile spaces that can be used for several different purposes. The trend toward multipurpose spaces reflects a growing recognition of sports facilities as vital community assets for local government meetings, conferences, birthday parties, dinners, graduations, and much more. Designing venues to host a variety of events strengthens the bond between the facility and the local community, maximizing space utility and ensuring year-round engagement.

Luxury and VIP Amenities

An emerging trend in sports facility design is the incorporation of luxury and VIP amenities. Features such as valet parking, team suites, luxury boxes, outdoor “Party Shacks” with air conditioning, and catering services are becoming increasingly popular. These amenities offer an enhanced, premium experience for fans seeking comfort and exclusivity, further diversifying the appeal of modern sports venues.

Looking Ahead: 2024 and Beyond

As we look towards the future, it’s clear that the trend towards smaller, more specialized sports facilities will continue to gain momentum. These venues will prioritize technological integration, community engagement, and luxury or VIP amenities, setting a new benchmark for the design and operation of sports facilities. The focus will increasingly be on creating unique, memorable experiences for guests, ensuring that kids and their families experience much more than just a great sports venue.

If you are interested in constructing a new sports facility in your area, be sure to consider these trends when deciding the size of the facility and the amenities it will feature. And if you have any questions or are looking for help with the process, feel free to contact us or give us a call at (727) 474-3845. The Sports Facilities Companies have guided projects in over 3,000 communities nationwide and overseen $15 billion in developed projects.

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