3 Pre-Opening Mistakes to Avoid: Sports Facilities

3 Pre-Opening Mistakes to Avoid

The time between successful project funding and your grand opening celebration is what we call “pre-opening.”This is the period of time when the construction of the physical structure of the development takes place. During this time, your business – the operation itself – also needs to take form. Here are 3 common operational mistakes made in this critical pre-opening period.

1. Wait too long to market

Your facility need to be a destination. For sports tourism, the project will be a destination for traveling teams and events rights holders and should be positioned as regionally unique, amenity-rich, and as featured within the larger destination of the city/county. For community recreation projects, the facility will become a destination for local families to get active together, enjoy sports, learn to swim/throw/compete, and meet other people. The destination should feel inclusive to your target user groups, should communicate the value of your programming, and focus on the experiences that lie within. Communicating this message should start 9-12 months prior to the grand opening.

2. Wait too long to hire

If your general contractor is leading the construction process, who is leading your business and operational development? Typically, this is the role of your general manager, who should be your very first hire at least 12 months prior to your grand opening. Soon following, your next key hires should include your marketing/business development director and your finance manager/bookkeeper. With your leadership, marketing, and finances in order, your business can begin to take shape.

3. Wait too long to develop partnerships

Your facility doesn’t need to be open to begin to develop meaningful and potential fruitful relationships (sponsorships) with other businesses in the community. By becoming a member of your local chamber of commerce and engaging with organizations like your convention and visitors bureau, you can develop early partnerships before the first shovel hits the ground. As the project progresses, you can identify high priority partnership prospects and invite them out for exclusive hard hat tours and soft opening celebrations


The sum of this advice is to take advantage of the time in pre-opening to kick start your business – don’t delay till opening or even 30 days prior. If you could use some personal advice for your pre-opening process, we can connect you with one of our experienced account executives. Call today: (727)474-3845.