The Future of Facilities
Pathik believes many more multipurpose complexes are on the way, especially as major league organizations recognize that their fan base is directly proportional to the number of kids playing their sport. “You’re going to see more money come into the marketplace and more initiatives to reach low-income kids.”
Yet, with this groundswell of activity, comes the danger of market saturation. “Markets need to be careful about what they build,” Pathik says. To be cost-effective, modern facilities need to be built for density, with features like telescoping seating and intelligent floor-space design that can accommodate large groups, Pathik says. Venues also need to be versatile with, for example, outside berms for seating, so they can host everything from sports tournaments and concerts to other special events.
“You have to be able to fill the venue with a lot of people several times a year. It’s the only way you can drive the kind of revenue that makes it sustainable.”
And in some cases, Pathik stresses, a community simply can’t afford to build a mega-sports complex. But, if done with the right balance of financials and smart planning, Pathik says such venues can help drive economic development, community improvements and, most importantly, get kids involved.
“In this country the kids’ obesity rate is out of control. We need to help more kids realize the benefit of sports. It’s not only good for their health and well-being, it’s good for all of society.”