Improving communities through sport

7 Steps for Building a Baseball Facility

How to Build a Baseball Facility

What can a baseball facility do for your community?

A baseball complex can improve a community in a variety of ways. First, a baseball complex can act as a community gathering place and provide recreational opportunities for local leagues and organizations. A baseball complex can also be a driver of direct spending, economic impact and room nights for a community while acting as a catalyst for future development.

How does your community get started?

At the Sports Facilities Companies, we’ve developed a framework that has helped thousands of communities to plan, fund, develop, and manage award-winning baseball complexes across this country. Through our Concept to Concrete framework, we’ve driven $1 billion in economic impact from hotel and travel spending, developed and managed facilities that drive 25 million visits per year, and we are currently working on $10 billion in planned projects.

Below are the steps for taking your community’s idea from dream to tangible concept to opening day and beyond.

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Concept to Concrete Guide

Refining the Vision

It all starts with a dream and a decision. Whether your baseball facility will be used by local citizens or become a sports tourism destination or a hybrid of both, you must first have a clear vision for how you want the venue to enhance your community. The vision can be refined using a number of tools including a market opportunity assessment. A market opportunity assessment is an analysis of numerous market factors that can define a facility development project.

Determining Feasibility

Once your vision is fully refined, it must be evaluated to determine if it has the potential to be a tangible project and/or the path it must take to get there. One of the most important evaluative tools that we use at the SF Companies is the feasibility study. Feasibility studies assess a variety of market factors to determine if a project is viable. A project’s viability is rarely a yes-no question. At the SF Companies, around 30% of our studies result in a project, that, per the client’s definition, is not feasible. Close to 40% of our studies result in a “yes-if” scenario, which means that with adjustments to the original concept, the project will meet the client’s definition of success. The remaining 30% of studies meet the client’s definition of success as is.

In order to further “right-size” your facility concept, SF Companies looks at a number of factors including market size, competition, and existing amenities in the market to develop a facility program and Pro Forma (financial forecast). The Pro Forma gives investors insight into the project’s potential for success and includes a 5-year cash flow forecast and 20-year financial outlook, projections related to your business model, an estimate of construction and start-up costs, and land requirements, among many other items. The Pro Forma is also used by development teams to determine the programming requirements that will influence the design of the facility.

With a program and a Pro Forma in hand, we are also able to help determine the short- and long-term economic impact that the facility will have on the community. At the end of a feasibility study, we are able to help our clients understand what the facility will look like, how much it will cost, how it will operate and how much impact it will create. These are all major factors for the next step: funding.

The following chart defines three baseball facility types and provides cost ranges for each:

Securing Funding

When the plan for a facility that best meets your definition for success is in place, it’s time to seek the funding necessary to launch the project. The Pro Forma is our primary tool for demonstrating to community stakeholders the project’s ability to meet financial goals. The analysis is packaged with other documents such as the economic impact report and market evaluations to provide a clear and accurate picture of the project. This information will be instrumental in the process of garnering public support for the new facility as well as securing the bonds needed for funding. The information found in the Pro Forma can also be instrumental in drawing in partners from the private sector for the development of public-private partnerships or P3’s.

Project Development

With financing secured, the design and construction phases of the project can begin. This starts with selecting a site for the new facility as well as the creation of a design team for the project, including an architect and engineer. At the SF Companies, we’ve developed a site selection scorecard to help community leaders and stakeholders evaluate competing locations based on their ability to meet programming requirements established in the Pro Forma.

When selecting an architect via the RFP/RFQ process, it’s important to consider their experience with the proposed facility type, the quality of your interactions, and their project delivery method when evaluating firms.

We utilize a process called venue planning to ensure that sports, recreation, or programing-related components are implemented in the facility’s design. The end users of facilities that host baseball tournaments, leagues, athletic showcase events, sports clinics, and camps have needs and compliance requirements that stand apart from similar development projects. We collaborate with architects, engineers, and construction professionals to move development projects from the business plan or financial forecast to architectural plans and schematics. By doing so, we work to create a facility that meets the needs of event rights holders and baseball teams, operates efficiently, and creates an amazing guest experience.

Project Design

The SF Companies is by your side throughout the entire design process, ensuring that we create a unique, innovative facility that maximizes programming and visitation, drives economic impact, increases return on investment and provides local play opportunities. Innovative design ensures that your facility stands out from a crowded marketplace and provides teams and their families with an amazing experience both on and off the field. Creating this type of experience ensures that visitors will return for future events and create a powerful word-of-mouth advertising force.

Start-up Operational Development

While your facility is being constructed, its brand and a business development structure must be built. In start-up operational development, a staff is hired and trained, the brand is crafted, and internal processes are established, including daily operations, legal, and financial management. This is also the time when events are booked for the new facility and the grand opening is planned. The goal of this phase is to ensure that when the ribbon is cut on opening day, the facility is already running smoothly.

Facility Management

Once the facility is opened, a myriad of processes must be fulfilled for it to reach its short and long-term goals. This includes daily operations and maintenance, business development and marketing, staff development and training, and back of house activities such as human resources and risk management. You can build a team to do this on your own or work with an outsourced facility management company, like The Sports Facilities Companies to fulfill these processes. We provide daily operations and facility management for facilities throughout the United States. Each facility is backed by a team of subject matter experts that build strategies for marketing and branding, legal, and financial management, among other items. Additionally, when you work with the SF Companies, your community’s venue can tap into the power of the SFM Network, connecting you to thousands of event rights holders and subject matter experts throughout the United States.

With experience in thousands of communities throughout the country and industry leading experts, The SF Companies can guide your through all phases of building a baseball facility. Ready to impact your community? Contact us today at 727-474-3845.

Featured Projects

Elizabethtown, KY

Comfortably spread over 150 acres, this championship complex offers features that would make the pros proud.

Branson, MO

Ballparks of America offers players a chance to play on 2/3-size replicas of five iconic stadiums spanning the history of baseball. During their stay, players experience a week rooming with their teammates at our MLB-style team suites. Ballparks of America is located in one of America’s favorite vacation destinations, Branson, Mo.

Albertville, AL

This gorgeous 130 acre park will feature premier spaces for sports and recreation use, making the experience a "park within a park." The complex will feature spaces for sports including baseball, softball fields, long-field sports, a recreation center, aquatics, tennis, an amphitheater, and a dog park.

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