The youth sports tourism market is driven by travel teams, showcase events, and local use when not hosting tournaments. When properly planned, sports tourism facilities can improve local sports participation while producing millions of dollars in tourism spend. In fact, Sports Facilities Advisory has planned and helped to secure funding and public support for tournament venues that now produce more than $200 million annually in overnight hotel, dining, and other tourism-related spending. These are visits and spending by players, parents, coaches, and recruiters who travel to a destination for the sports tournaments. Money that would not otherwise be in the communities where we have served.
A sports tourism project starts with a vision. What type of sports facility best serves your community? The feasibility of this concept must be tested to determine viability for your community. Our ProForma is a financial forecast that provides start-up cost and construction estimates as well as a five-year revenue projection. You may determine that certain partner-types will be needed to complete the project. It’s in this case that the ProForma can be utilized to gather political support for the funding mechanisms needed to bring a sports tourism complex to life.
Based on the financial forecast, a strategy can be developed to attain funding. It’s important to determine what combination of investment partners and processes are most advantageous to reaching this goal. From there, we identify the key funding partners and determine how they would benefit from being a part of the project. Presentations are produced for these groups and individuals and partnerships are negotiated and established.
After funding has been secured, construction can start on the new sports venue. Facility development includes vendor selection, construction, and venue planning. Staff must be hired during this phase and marketing and business development strategies must be established in order to help the facility achieve financial goals
Once construction is complete, experienced leadership is needed to ensure the sports tourism facility provides an engaging, safe, and functional environment for athletes. It’s also critical that best practices are employed in order to reach financial goals through tournaments, events, and other programming. The SFM team partners with communities and private institutions to hire and train staff, manage facilities and equipment, develop programming, manage operations, and establish marketing and branding initiatives.
Overall, sports tournament-related travel is now a $19.2 billion industry with steady year over year growth. Sports tourism and its participants, sports tourists can both be broken into multiple categories, including:
Sports tourists can be further classified according to the distance they’ve travelled to attend or participate in a sports tourism event. Individuals traveling further than 90 minutes to attend an event have different lodging and dining needs than those traveling less than 90 minutes. Additionally, female athletes travel with more parents and family members, and they spend more on recreation and retail than males of the same age. These differences affect the economic impact that sports tourists have on a community and they have a direct impact on how we plan and develop sports tourism venues.
Sports Facilities Advisory has served over 2,000 communities since its start in 2003. Our experience comes from guiding the nation’s premiere sports tourism venues from concept to concrete. Additionally, the SFM Network operates the largest group of managed tournament venues in the U.S., producing more than $200 million annually in hotel and visitor spend. SFA is also currently overseeing multiple new developments that include new hotels, entertainment venues, restaurants, and retail attractions. The economic impact of these mixed-use developments, driven by the boom in sports tourism, can be transformational to communities.