Coronavirus Response: Tips for Maximizing Your Capital During Sports Facility Closures

There’s a new normal quickly emerging in every facet of our society. It appears in obvious ways such as adjusting to rules on social distancing and making the most of virtual communication technology and in more subtle ways (notice all the people you see cycling or walking their dogs in the neighborhood?). There’s become a new normal for the owners and operators of sports and entertainment facilities as well. With venues currently closed, businesses are innovating new solutions for a post-pandemic world.

At the SF Companies, we are committed to helping our industry weather this storm and thrive when the economic recovery takes place. Recently, we hosted a webinar titled COVID-19 Response: Money Saving Measures for Owners and Operators in which we provided tips for all facets of facility operations. In our fourth article, inspired by the webinar, we will provide tips for maximizing your capital during these times. Please visit the other articles in this series for tips on cost containment, leadership and communications, and strategic recovery planning.

There are two key components of maximizing revenues for sports venues to consider in your efforts, continuing current revenue generation and generating new revenue. Below we will examine each component in depth:

Revenue Continuation

Membership: Despite temporary facility closures, you can still offer value to customers through the use of virtual services, such personal or skills training. Companies such as Camp Gladiator have taken what would normally take place in locations throughout the country (group high intensity training) and taken it online. By using a similar membership model, facilities can offer exclusive content that can enhance the lives of their customers and bring something positive to a trying time.

Create brand loyalty: Similarly, venues can provide free content that engages their audience and provides them with solutions to a critical need, safe physical activity and fun. At the SFM Network, several of our facilities are providing valuable content to audiences via their social media channels. For more information and ideas, check out our recent article on the subject.

Food & beverage: If your venue sells food, consider providing take out. You may also be able to sell off your perishable items to local restaurants. In some cases, you may be called upon to be a distribution site for meals in the community or have the opportunity to support critical workers, like our team at the Hoover Met Complex.

Maximize key relationships: Whether with your guests, suppliers, tenants, or event owners, it’s critical that you maintain communications during this time period. For event owners in particular, going the extra mile to rebook and reschedule instead of cancel/refund can go a long way. Flexibility will be key as their event dates will shift, which may coincide with other scheduled programming and events, in which case there may be opportunity for a new kind of collaboration in event creation.

Maximize sponsor relationships: Now’s the time to support those who have supported your facility. Stay in touch with them. If they are serving your community or have good news to share, promote it. How can you use your ‘free’ resources right now to show them some love?

Generate Momentum & Cashflow

Events: When it’s safe to open your business again, you want to be ready. Continue to work with events rights holders to book their events. By communicating frequently and working diligently to solve any prevailing issues, you can build a stronger partnership, overcome obstacles, and potentially innovate a new event or program. Consider working with other venues to accommodate COVID-19-related conflicts – rebook don’t cancel if you can.

Create membership packages: Returning to normalcy in business is going to take a concerted effort among all parties. Consider reframing your sponsorship agreements to serve more as re-opening partnerships. Offer packages that may be more inclusive than what you offer previously. Also, engage sponsors with the concept that their financial considerations will, in part, provide access to facilities to people who wouldn’t normally have it. This will be an important motivation for many sponsors.

While these are uncertain times for all of us, there is help. The SF Companies pledge to support our industry with resources and services geared towards the realities of today and the potential of tomorrow. To learn more, contact us or call us at 727-374-3845.