Facility Development Timeline (OVERVIEW INFOGRAPHIC)

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Opening a new sports or recreation facility is a challenging, multi-faceted endeavor that requires a high degree of project management. To maximize early-stage results, tasks must be accomplished sequentially and must build towards the grand opening – not only for construction purposes but for business development purposes as well. Every owner’s goal should be to open with a robust marketing database, a multitude of events booked, and a well-trained staff that will confidently provide an unparalleled guest experience. A Pre-Opening Timeline is a tool developed to achieve those goals and more, while coordinating efforts from FF&E procurement, to sports event booking and staff hiring, to basketball facility league sign-ups. SFM’s tool is a comprehensive, dynamically built tool that adjusts according to your timeline. Tasks and strategies are ordered sequentially with date-driven objectives and check points. When contracted for pre-opening management services, SFM provides detailed monthly progress reports.


Sports and recreation facilities often require large upfront capital costs and therefore must be managed with budgeting that accounts for month to month variations in expenses throughout the pre-opening process. Mistakes in monthly budgeting can not only damage the business during pre-opening, but can spell disaster in the long term. Using a proven budgeting breakdown based on expected revenue provides the framework for the most successful and profitable business model possible. When creating a monthly expected expense and revenue budget, it’s important to reference the original pro forma (financial forecast documents) and begin building based on current market and community conditions. Keep in mind a pro forma is built on industry data to be the best case scenario – it in itself is not a budget. Deviations from early stage planning can have serious impacts on the 3 or 5-year pro forma numbers. Value-Engineering potential revenue streams post-funding being an important example. For instance, removing an FEC component or deciding to provide free parking for events – has hundreds-of-thousands of dollars in the long term bottom line.


FF&E (Furnishings, Fixtures, and Equipment) Procurement is essential to the operation of your business and should always aim to achieve the highest possible quality at the lowest possible price. The procurement process begins with planning; the goal of which is to understand your project’s precise needs and goals. SFM’s procurement services will bring your sports facility design concepts to reality by using our extensive list of relationships with vendors around the world. We provide our clients with the highest quality products at the most competitive prices in the industry. Our procurement services team will ensure timely delivery of your furnishings, fixtures, and equipment to keep your project on schedule. We will leverage our purchasing power across vendors and contractors to negotiate the lowest market prices and ensure cost savings opportunities in both FF&E and OS&E budgets.


Staff Recruitment is a key component in the business development phase. The best laid plans can be de-railed by an ill-conceived hire. It’s important to know what the prevailing wages are for youth and amateur sports professionals are, what qualities make an excellent general manager or sports director, and how to structure compensation to drive results. Staff recruitment is like building a sports team. You need a confident and knowledgeable coach who can then help develop talented players in their area of expertise (marketing, operations, finance).


Program Development is a multi-faceted endeavor which includes product mix, brand, marketing, execution, customer retention, price, and local/regional competition. Although most sports people walk into this aspect thinking this will be the easiest part of their job, but find out very quickly how overwhelming it can be. Developing programs on the right timeline, with intent and with the strategic plan in mind is essential to hitting your definition of success. Program development speaks to the creation of the programs, the growth of the programs and the maximizing the efficiency of the facility utilization. Program development maximizes revenues while minimizing facility utilization and expense. For every sports complex – from large sports tourism destinations, single sport training centers, to community recreation – the program mix is a make-it-or-break it component in pre-opening business development.


Many new sports facilities make the mistake of overlooking brand development skip and move directly into logo design. Brand development is the cornerstone of the graphic identity and voice of the company and facility. Investing time to clearly articulate the personality of the brand, the graphic standards, the key values and value proposition will ultimately make for a more successful and more efficient marketing presence in the increasingly competitive marketplace. Brand development can be achieved by contracting a marketing or design firm (not to be confused with a PR firm) or through your management provider. You brand development process should begin with a discovery phase, where you have the opportunity to communicate the heart and the soul of the brand. From there, your brand development partner may provide you with logo or design concepts, and explain the messaging strategy behind the graphic identity. Once settled, you should have a logo and logo guidelines, a brand style board or guide, and a copy sample. This foundation can then quickly and efficiently orient anyone – project stakeholders or graphic designers – to your brand and help ensure consistency and quality across platforms.

Pre-Opening Marketing Services

How do you generate millions of dollars in top-line revenue and book a facility solid for the first year? The answer lies in a mix of effective marketing and business development activity. A pre-opening marketing plan should engage the community, potential events rights-holders, generate public awareness and interest, and create action. From press release templates to a comprehensive package of graphic design deliverables, the SFM Marketing Department supplies the venue staff the necessary materials, strategy, guidance, and oversight to create a successful pre-opening marketing campaign based on your unique facility’s revenue goals.


Dependent on the client goals, Grand Opening events range from multi-day community celebrations, to highly coordinated press events, or lavish soirees for key project stakeholders and community leaders. No matter the style, the Grand Opening of a sports facility serves several key purposes. It is a celebration of a goal reached in opening a facility, an open door to a community or region, and it is also a barrier to starting official business and executing the business plan.

The SFM Difference

Clients choose to engage SFM in pre-opening services because of our extensive experience in successful facility openings. Even seasoned project management professionals cannot leverage the collective expertise of the SFM team of experts. Our team avoids common – and uncommon – pitfalls and mistakes that cost unexpected time and money. Opening a new sports and recreation facility is no time to learn on the job – discover the results when you combine our execution with your direction.