Massive tournament-ready facilities and public private partnerships have turned the youth sports industry into a multi-billion-dollar real estate development boom. Whether this serves the interest of the children playing the sports or serves the corporate shareholders involved remains to be seen.
Due to the meteoric rise in popularity of youth travel sports, traditional parks and recreation agencies alone often cannot fulfill the demand in most communities. This service gap has spurred massive investments by private sector developers and pubic private partnerships in the form of real estate and facility development.
As of 2019, the youth and amateur travel sports industry has been valued at more than $24.9 billion (Evergreen Research, Inc) and is predicted to grow to $77.5 billion worldwide by 2026. While this figure is still far from reaching the economic impact of traditional parks and recreation ($154 billion in 2015 alone, according to the National Recreation and Parks Association), the rate of development and growth year over year is producing sports facilities of a never-before-seen size and price tag.
In an effort to capitalize on the multi-billion-dollar youth sports tourism industry, public and private developers are racing to build the next generation of elite sports complexes. “This new facility development boom has been overwhelmingly positive” says youth and amateur sports industry expert and CEO of the Sports Facilities Advisory Dev Pathik. It has led to billions in construction and economic development and it has provided the many benefits of sports participation to tens of millions of kids”.
Among the industry’s most notable venues are the newly-opened $42 million Cedar Point Sports Center (Sandusky, OH), Elizabethtown Sports Park & Bluegrass SportsPlex (Elizabethtown, KY), the 160-acre Panama City Beach Sports Complex (Panama City Beach, FL), and the early innovator Grand Park Sports Campus (Westfield, IN). As more communities are researching the possibilities of sports tourism, there are new sports complex ideas being announced in local media (like this ‘mega sports complex’ in Temple, TX) and RFP’s for design, consulting, and outsourced management released each month.
According to Pathik, “We have seen increasing collaboration between the public sector and private developers and operators within the competitive youth travel sports space. We are now seeing signs that parks and recreation departments are increasingly open to public-private-partnerships. There is a real opportunity for parks and recreation to more actively engage the private sector in support of local parks and recreation goals. With proper financial and economic data, parks and recreation directors can be a leading voice in the promotion and development of sport — collaborating with private organizations when it comes to managing and building business-focused.”
About The Sports Facilities Advisory | The Sports Facilities Management
Sports Facilities Advisory, LLC (SFA) and Sports Facilities Management, LLC (SFM) are both headquartered in Clearwater, FL. Founded in 2003, SFA has served more than 2,000 communities, produced more than $10 billion in institutional-grade financial forecasts, and provided funding strategies and solutions for more than 70+ youth and amateur sports and recreation complexes worldwide. SFM provides industry-leading, results-driven management solutions for sports, fitness, recreation, and event venues nationwide. Since 2014, SFM-affiliated venues have hosted more than 100 million visitors and generated hundreds of millions of dollars in economic impact. For more information, visit: sportadvisory.com and sfmnetwork.com
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Reprinted in part from https://www.sportsadvisory.com