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What to Consider When Opening a Sports Complex


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The Sports Facilities Advisory can help you plan your sports complex.

Thinking about opening a sports complex? At Sports Facility Advisory and Sports Facility Management, we have developed, opened, or operated nearly 100 sports complex and recreation center projects. Along the way, we have developed a step-by-step process to help sports facilities reach their goals and make a substantial impact on the communities they serve. Through our process, we’ve discovered five factors that can dictate success when opening a sports complex. In this article, we will describe each in detail and provide best practices in each area. For a real life example of what it takes to open an elite sports complex, download our Cedar Point Sports Center Case Study. 

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Rocky Top Sports World Case Study

Feasibility Studies

A feasibility study focuses on determining if a proposed idea is financially viable and the steps to increase its viability. Sports Facilities Advisory uses financial forecasting models and market research from the over 2,000 communities we’ve served to assess the potential project. The feasibility study will examine the demographics of your market and their capacity for supporting a new sports facility as well competitors offering similar services. It also provides financial projections and concludes with project development recommendations. Through this process, we can uncover deficiencies in the original idea and provide solutions. We can also uncover revenue-generating opportunities wherever possible. In the end, the feasibility process will give you a better understanding of the necessary components for opening your sports facility and improve on your original concept.

Securing Funding

Opening a sports complex requires a great deal of funding. This process starts with a financial forecast. At SFA, we create a ProForma, which is an institutional-grade financial forecast that projects potential costs and earnings over a five-year period based on start-up and construction costs and revenue potential. Revenue potential is based on targeted demographics, service offerings, and the competitive landscape. The financial forecast gives funding sources a clear picture of the project potential to earn a return on investment.

Opening Your Sports Complex

The opening of your sports complex begins long before the groundbreaking ceremony takes place. First, we will have a planning summit meeting where we will develop a timeline of steps and a list of processes that must be completed before the sports complex opens to the public.
The project plan will have many components including, site preparation, zoning and permits, construction, selecting vendors, brand development, pre-opening marketing, pre-opening staffing, staff training, registration software, and bookkeeping systems, banking, communications, operations systems, and safety and risk management. Further, the sports specific elements of the sports facility development must be considered as well and can be accomplished by working with a group that specializes in venue planning

Managing Your Sports Complex

Opening your complex is a tremendous milestone. Now the attention shifts to making it successful. The Sports Facility Management team can step in with our expertise to manage the facility. SFA’s full-time sports facility management includes the placement of our highly experienced staff and ongoing training, along with oversight by SFM professionals. We have a systematic, proven approach that encompasses recruitment, placement, training, marketing, sales, and programming.


Every sports facility can be enhanced. It’s important to consistently examine all facets of operation and determine both where you excel and what can be improved. SFM optimization services are available to successful sports facilities seeking to enhance returns, and under-performing facilities that need help getting back on track.

We begin with a comprehensive review of your facility, staff, operations, and finances. After facility review, the SFA/SFM develops a comprehensive optimization plan. The plan will outline and project data-driven strategies that may range from refinancing to staff development, program development, and marketing.

Many factors determine the performance of your sports complex. SF Companies has the experience and expertise to guide you from concept to opening day. Contact the Sports Facilities Advisory today.

Download our Cedar Point Sports Center Case Study

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