Contrary to popular belief, “they” do not come simply because you’ve built a facility and/or…
Contrary to popular belief, “they” do not come simply because you’ve built a facility and/or created a new event. It takes a strong feasibility study, informative market research, and a well-developed marketing strategy and plan to get “them” to the facility and/or event. One area communities see as potential growth for the community is investing in the youth sport tourism sector. In 2014, Westfield, Indiana, a small community with the population of 30,000 opened a 400-acre, $49 million sports complex in the hopes of improving tourism. It worked. In 2016, the facility brought in 1.5 million visitors and $162.6 million to local businesses. However, many warn that the pace of development across the United States is so high that many in the industry fear that there will be an excess of facilities and oversaturation of events (US News, 2017). The Vadnais Sports Center in the Twin Cities, Minnesota area is a classic example of the, if we build it, they will come mentality that utterly failed. The facility was built in 2010 through the support of $26 million in revenue bonds issued by Vadnais Heights on behalf of the nonprofit group Community Facility Partners (Anderson, 2014). After poor revenue projections and growth through rentals, the city found itself covering shortfalls of hundreds of thousands of dollars (PRWeb.com, 2014). In 2013, the facility was put up for sale after Community Facility Partners defaulted on the bonds when the city stopped financial support (Anderson, 2014). In the spring of 2014, Ramsay County signed a letter of intent to buy the facility for $10.5 million.
Some communities have pushed back and the residents have voted down referendums that would require their tax dollars be spend on multi-million dollar venues for children. Many do not agree that public funds should support the development of venues that might not directly benefit the rest of the community; especially if the venue fails to produce the projected economic benefits.
Suppose your community has decided to build a multi-million dollar facility for youth sport tournaments. The first order of business for your organization is to develop a strong feasibility plan and then a marketing strategy to ensure that this facility is profitable over time. Before you can do this, however, you need information in order to develop the strongest plan possible. Answer the following questions:
- What is your overall strategy for the facility?