Sports Facility Owner’s Manual

3 Keys to Getting Sports & Recreation Done Right

Whether you’re a community leader, public servant, private developer or anyone in between, here are three keys to getting sports and recreation done right in your community.

1. Create the Destination

It doesn’t matter if you have a $40 million sports tourism complex or a $10 million community recreation facility, your goal is the same: to create a destination. Sports tourism complexes should strive to become the destination for events rights holders and their teams. Leverage your CVB or sports commission and capitalize on the unique character of your city to create an identity that sets you apart from the competition. A community recreation facility should serve as the local destination that brings families together, creates places to play and hang out, and offers engaging programs for people of all ages. Take a look at which sports and activities are in demand in your area and build programming around them. Review trends and emerging sports (like Quidditch and Pickleball) to engage and attract users.


Apply it: Encourage your team to be thoughtful, strategic, and creative when creating the destination.

2. Require Reporting

As an owner, you will not be intimately involved in the day-to-day operations of the facility – in pre-opening development, during construction, or once the facility is open. How will you keep tabs on your multi-million-dollar investment? The answer is clear and consistent reporting. Key areas for monthly reporting are finance, marketing/business development, legal/risk, human resources, and maintenance. With these 5 key areas covered, you should be able to get an accurate snapshot of the health of your community’s asset. By receiving monthly reports, you’ll have enough time to make course corrections in any area before they become a hard-to-manage situation. Additional details and other areas of the business may be covered in a special edition quarterly report.


Apply it: Require your general manager or facility management provider to provide you with monthly reports for the 5 key areas.

3. Get the Best Team

It’s often said that you only get one first impression. This is as true for business professionals and elected officials as it is for your sports, recreation, events, or wellness facility. Throughout the life of the project, in every stage from planning (garnering public support) to funding (compelling presentations), development (zoning), and operations (PR & Marketing), your project will make many first impressions with different groups, for different purposes. Make each one count. A loss of credibility in planning or political support in financing can delay your project for months, if not years. Hire only advisors, partners, architects, and employees who you are confident will represent your project at the highest standard and will be beneficial to your first impression.


Apply it: Hire the best. Be picky so you can be confident you’re making the best first impression.