Improving communities through sport

What Success Means for Your Sports Tourism Complex or Community Recreation Center

Rocky Top Sports World

When we talk about building a sports complex or a community recreation center, we often use the term “definition of success”. It’s a fancy way of saying what’s the “why” behind the work you’re doing. And when talking about new venues it’s the cornerstone of proper planning. What are the needs of your community? How will it be fulfilled with a new facility? Why are you investing in the construction of a certain asset? These answers determine everything from planning, funding strategies, and partnership development to sports complex construction and/or recreation center management.

While each project is different, we have discovered commonalities in the goals for several distinct facility types. We provide those below along with strategies that venues can use for achieving their goals.

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Publicly Owned Sports Tourism Destination

Communities throughout the country are pursuing the $45 billion sports tourism industry as a way to boost their economy. The primary measure of this strategy is the number of out-of-town visitors that come to their area to attend events, visit shops and restaurants, and, most importantly, stay in local hotels. The latter is known as placing “heads in beds.” Additionally, economic impact can be measured by increases in local businesses opening around the venue or increases in tax revenue collected.

Strategies for driving heads in beds: To bring people to your venue, it’s critical to bring the best, most sought-after events (or creating them), become a great partner to event rights holders, and develop partnerships with local businesses and your convention and visitor’s bureau to enhance what your venue offers guests.

Community Recreation Center

The primary goals of the publicly owned community recreation center are to increase community engagement, provide safe places to play, and promote wellness and a sense-of-place among residents. While return on investment is not typically a driver for this facility type, cost recovery is critical, and strategies should support this effort.

Strategies to increase community engagement: Community engagement starts with understanding the needs of citizens. Your operating team must then build programming to meet those needs for all ages and abilities. It’s also vital to examine trends closely, offer new and innovative programming and provide low or no-cost options for residents.

Privately-Owned Facilities

While the primary goal for privately-owned facilities is to generate a return on investment, it goes beyond that. The owners of these venues believe in the power of sport and are willing to invest in bringing the benefit of sport to their community. Consistent revenue growth is a vehicle for providing better services and expanding operations.

Strategies to increase revenues: It’s critical for facilities to transition into developing their own programming and events versus renting the facility to other user groups. This strategy takes longer to develop but allows you to generate more revenue per event. It’s also important to consider venue features that generate the highest revenue per square foot, this includes adding family entertainment centers which have been impactful in generating revenue. Another consideration is density: program activities that bring in more participants per square foot. For example, basketball brings in more participants than pickleball.

The Sports Facilities Companies understands the unique journey to developing a community or industry- defining facility and will stand with you at every step and every stage. Tell us about your project on our contact us page or call us at 727-474-3845.

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