The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

$309 Mln Extreme Sports Park Planned Near Walt Disney World !

$309 Mln Extreme Sports Park Planned Near Walt Disney World    

Xero Gravity Action Sports LLC is planning to build a $309 million extreme sports resort in Osceola County, Central Florida, the Orlando Business Journal reported on Wednesday.

The facility is expected to come up on a 75 acre site owned by Central Florida Investments Inc., the parent company of Westgate Resorts, near the intersection of U.S. Highway 192 and State Road 535.

The new resort will include a 14-story ski and snowboard mountain with nine snow tubing lanes; 5 acres of real surfing with up to 10-foot waves and a boogie boarding area; a 25,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor skateboard park; a USA-BMX sanctioned race track; two skydiving pods; a 20,000-square-foot indoor dodge-ball trampoline arena; a rapid river; rock climbing up to 140 feet; zip-lining throughout the park; two 14-story competition waterslides by WhiteWater; 20-foot to 120-foot free fall jump zones; an interactive four-story climbing/zipline/ropes challenge course; and snowball fight arena.

In addition, the project is expected to have a 250-room Hyatt-flag hotel with a rooftop pool and bar, a 2,000-seat amphitheater, swim-up bars and grottos, swimming pools, cabanas, day spa, retail and training facilities, restaurants and sports bars and the International Action Sports Hall of Fame.

More than 1,000 new jobs will be needed to operate the facility.

According to the Orlando Business Journal, executives with the company are in talks with Osceola County officials regarding the project, as well as undergoing the “due diligence” needed to secure the property. If approved, the resort is expected to open by 2018.

“Our company is creating the next step in the tourism sports industry,” said Larry Walshaw, CEO and founder of Xero Gravity, in a prepared statement. “We are developing a one-of-a-kind sports and entertainment resort which provides unique hands-on experiences. We will be hosting televised pro and amateur competitions, think X-games, with sports shows and clinics, and we will have daily competitions at all venues for visitors who like to compete.”



$2Mil Rate Chart


Long Overdue Sportspark To Be Completed By Years End 2015 !

  El Paso, Eastside Sportspark . . . . .Long overdue Sportspark to be completed by year’s end story image

EL PASO, Texas — County Commissioners officially hired a new architect on Monday to finish and fix the Eastside Sportspark, which is more than two years behind schedule.

Commissioner Carlos Leon said at maximum it will take 279 days to finally complete the project.

In just about 10 months, the county expects the remaining four fields at the park will be finished as well as the club house, restaurant and pro shop.

The county hired Carl Daniel Architects, a local firm.

But the project’s timeframe means another summer baseball season will go by with the park still incomplete.

Disagreements between the previous builder and architect left the park unfinished and unable to attract the type of tournaments it was intended for.

The county will head to trial against the former architects and contractor but a date has not been set.

Leon said the county now has a timeline with the new architecture firm and an end is in sight for the $7.5 million project.

“I’m excited because it should not cost us more than the money was initially set aside for,” Leon said.

The county still needs to go out to bid for a new contractor to do the work.




Clearwater, FL (PRWEB) – Economic downturns lead to job losses and reductions in real estate values, thereby reducing tax revenue to local governments. Because local governments rely on tax revenue to fund day-to-day operations, a decrease in tax revenue means a decrease in state or municipal services. But one industry has continued to expand throughout the Great Recession and has the potential to provide much-needed revenue for municipalities: youth sports and sports-related travel sees over 50 million youth athletes participating in organized sporting events annually, creating an approximate economic impact of $7 billion (1). TheSports Facilities Advisory (SFA), a leading resource for the planning and management of new and existing amateur sports complexes and recreation centers, says the growth of sports tourism and the related potential financial impact can give municipalities the opportunity to participate in an economic boom.

Sport tourism benefits host cities by providing “economic benefits as a result of sales in hotel fees, food and beverages, admission fees for tournaments, use of transports and other spending at the facilities (2)  the end result being that different types of income are generated for the community, providing for an increase in spending, jobs and conservation of the local environment (3). SF’s CEO and founder, Dev Pathik, says municipalities can take advantage of the resilience of sports travel but these efforts need to be properly evaluated and planned. There are certain criteria that make a city attractive to events owners and other factors that make some cities unsuitable as a true sports tourism destination.

Case in Point:

The Harrisburg/Hershey area in Pennsylvania makes higher tourism revenue than more popular areas largely due to regional youth sporting events.
In 2011, the most recent year for which statistics are available, the Harrisburg/Hershey region ranked fourth in Pennsylvania with $2.18 billion in visitor spending.
The Dauphin County Commissioners approved distribution of more than $122,000 in hotel tax revenues with the majority being used to support youth sporting events. Commissioner Chairman Jeff Haste said the county’s investment in youth sporting events is influential in providing a significant economic impact (4).

Pathik encourages making recreational activities more readily available to children with the addition of youth’s amateur sports complexes and recreation centers. In addition to steadying the economy, Pathik says that supporting youth sports and related tourism gives young athletes a positive outlet a fact that many parents can appreciate. Pathik cautions however, that cities not assume their facilities can be used for both sports tourism and local play. In some cases, Pathik says, cities that have attempted to use existing facilities discover that their facilities are not properly designed to accommodate the demand for sports tourism, as well as local recreation.

SFA has planned and also manages and advises youth and amateur sporting venues. SFA is also hired by municipalities to assess the feasibility of new complexes and to assist cities with strategic planning for sports tourism efforts. Some of SF’s latest clients include:

1.Spooky Nook Sports facility is located in Lancaster and touted as North America’s largest indoor sports complex. Spooky Nook opened in March and has already hosted several volleyball tournaments, attracting hundreds of players and their families to the area the complex will also be the home of the U.S. Women’s National Field Hockey team through 2022.

2.Rocky Top Sports World, an 80 acre state-of-the-art facility settled in the vacation hotspot of Gatlinburg, Tennessee is currently under construction and scheduled to open in Spring 2014. The $20 million development is leading to new jobs and will host court- and turf-based tournaments and events.

3.The Myrtle Beach Indoor Sports Complex. SFA and the city of Myrtle Beach are opening a new 100,000 square foot indoor sports complex in the spring of 2014. The complex feature eight indoor basketball courts, 16 volleyball courts and will host all manner of competitive sports and special events.

SFA assists clients throughout the U.S. and around the world in planning, funding and managing sports and community recreation centers. SFA’s portfolio includes more than $3.5 billion in planned and operational facilities, as well as being the industry leader in the managing of such complexes. The company will assist in opening more than 1.5 million acres of additional indoor facilities, as well as 600 acres of outdoor facilities, within the next year.

For more information about the Sports Facilities Advisory and its suite of planning-funding-opening-management services, visit

About Sports Facilities Advisory:

The Sports Facilities Advisory (SFA) is a leading resource in sports facility planning and management. The Sports Facilities Advisory has helped to plan, fund, open and manage dozens of multimillion-dollar sports complexes in communities throughout the USA and internationally since its founding in 2003. The company serves public and private clients. Its services fall into four main categories: plan, fund, open and manage, which encompass every phase from early stage feasibility studies to preparing financing documents, overseeing development and opening and full-time management services. SFA’s success depends on its mission to dramatically improve communities through the opening or optimization of sport and recreation centers. For more information, visit

1.Lane, Matthew.“Youth Sports Could Have $10 Million Impact in Model City in N.p., 05 Aug. 2013. Web. 08 Nov. 2013.

2.Olukoya, Jobi. “Impacts of Sport Tourism in the Urban Regeneration of Host Cities.” N.p., May 2012. Web. 02 Dec. 2013.

3.”How Tourism Benefits Communities.” Tourism and Events Queenland, n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2013.

4.Gilliland, Donald. “Youth Sporting Events Help Put Harrisburg/Hershey over Lancaster in Tourism Dollars.” The Patriot News, 07 Nov. 2013. Web. 27 Nov. 2013.

The Sports Facilities Advisory encourages cities to carefully evaluate the type, size, and setup of sports tourism ventures to take advantage of the recession-resistant sports tourism industry in a mending economy.
     The Sports Facilities Advisory is a SODA Affiliate and Consultant.



Snow tubing at Thomas Bull Memorial Park begins Saturday !


 Snow tubing at the Orange County Snow Tubing and Winter Sports Park is scheduled to begin on Saturday, Jan. 10, and run through March 1, weather and conditions permitting. The park is located at Thomas Bull Memorial Park.

A discounted fee of $15 is available to residents to use the Orange County Snow Tubing and Winter Sports Park; the cost for non-residents is $20. Proof of residency is required at check-in and the fee is good for a 90-minute tubing session.

Days and hours of operation are Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Snow tubing is also available on Mondays, Jan. 19 and Feb. 16 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Thomas Bull Memorial Park is located on Route 416 in Montgomery. Visitors are strongly encouraged to contact the park prior to arrival. Call 845-457-4949, 845-457-4910 or email to confirm availability.

The Orange County Snow Tubing and Winter Sports Park’s 800-foot snow-tubing hill features two cable lifts, groomed lanes, and specially designed tubes built for a thrilling ride. The park also features an ice skating rink, small sledding hill, and cross-country ski trails. Park visitors must provide their own equipment for these free activities, which are available as conditions permit.

The Graham M. Skea Lodge, located at the crest of the tubing hill, offers beautiful views of the Hudson Valley and features a large stone fireplace. Visitors may bring their own food and drink as the lodge restaurant will not be open, and only non-alcoholic beverages are permitted.


Work continues to complete Sportspark, El Paso, TX !


EL PASO, Texas – For years, El Paso County has not been able to use its Sportspark in far east El Paso to its full potential. It is located off of Zaragoza and Saul Kleinfield.

Late last year, County Commissioners terminated the contract with the company hired to renovate the park and is now trying to resolve a dispute in court.

Monday, commissioners unanimously approved to begin negotiations with El Paso company Carl Daniel Architects.

The firm is no stranger to building baseball and softball parks in the area.

The next step for the county and the architecture firm is to find a construction company to complete what was never finished.

Carl Daniel Architects will begin working with the county as soon as this week to assess the park’s issues, write up a construction bid and present it to commissioners court.

The firm’s project manager, Steve Franco is familiar with the county Sportspark.

He was the project manager when it was first built nearly 30 years ago.

“We are the original architects for the park that was constructed back in 1986, so we have an in-depth knowledge of what’s out there right now,” said Franco.

Carl Daniel Architects was behind the Sunland Park Sports Complex, which is similar to the Sportspark, and the El Paso Community College Field of Dreams.

“We have done some several major parks in the local area so we do have a good understanding of park design . We’ll be able to do a good job,”said Franco.

County Judge Veronica Escobar maintains the county will not issue new debt to complete the park and taxpayers will not pay a penny more.

Construction to complete the park could begin in mid to late March.

No date of completion has yet been set.




Winter sports park coming to Rochester, MN ?


Gamehaven Reservoir Park in southeast Rochester, MN could become a winter sports wonderland someday, if a group of cross-country skiers has anything to do with it.

The Rochester Active Sports Club wants to add a snow tubing hill, snowshoeing trails, mountain biking and a Nordic ski loop, complete with snowmaking operations using water from the reservoir.

The group spent a lot of time in the past year grooming the trail system in the park to be better for mountain bikers and winter “fat bikers.” They want to extend that success into winter, with the hope of getting more people out and active instead of hibernating, though nothing related to the snow-based activities has been built yet.

“If we want to be the healthiest city in the United States, we can’t just be healthy eight months of the year,” RASC president Michael O’Connor said. “Those of us who are more fanatical, we’re out no matter what. … But if it makes it difficult for people, they won’t do it.”

Similar winter recreation parks in the Twin Cities, such as Elm Creek Park Reserve, are usually really busy during the colder months, O’Connor said.

“It’s so popular on a weekend. … It’ll be packed because there is nowhere else to ski. It’s rush-hour skiing up there,” he said.

RASC got the go-ahead from the Rochester Park Board in November to create a master plan for Gamehaven, located right beside the Gamehaven Scout Reservation. The group also got approval from the Joint Powers Board. The master plan is expected to be completed in the next few months, O’Connor said. Gamehaven Park does have a website set up with information on all the potential aspects of the project, located at

Fits city vision

A winter sports park fits in with the Park Department’s plans as well, said head of parks and forestry Mike Nigbur.

“We’re looking to enhance wintertime use and recreation activities for the community, and having a snowmaking capability and outdoor recreation park … all these things can happen,” Nigbur said.

The city of Rochester submitted parks to the state for consideration for “regional designation” in order to get Legacy funds, and Gamehaven ranked in the top 20 out of 90 projects submitted, Nigbur said. Projects that scored highly, such as Gamehaven, would be more likely to get state funds, he said. About $8 million is given out each year in Legacy funds for parks, Nigbur said.

The park eventually will need to get approval from the Rochester City Council to be designated as a park, then they’ll start looking for grant funding, Nigbur said.

“We’ll try to get some public input from the community” throughout the process, he said.

$6 million plan

Jeff Robertson, an RASC member and Nordic skier, has been leading the planning efforts and worked on the trail project at Gamehaven, too.

“We’ve dreamed about it for a long time,” Robertson said.

The full park is expected to cost somewhere in the $6 million range, he estimates. A chalet could cost up to $1 million, he said.

“It depends a lot on all of the facilities you put in. … It’s going to take probably a lot of different sources for the funding,” Robertson said.

That might be a big price tag for some, but Robertson said the park would be a regional draw and play off the successes RASC has had in growing the cross-country skiing community here. When the group started its Nordic team in 2002, it only had a handful of kids and a couple coaches, he said.

“Today, it’s grown to 187 kids from all the high and middle schools in Rochester and some outside of Rochester, MN” Robertson said.

The team goes to about four meets per year, and it’s very possible those meets could happen at Gamehaven once it’s revamped, he said. They have had meets at Eastwood golf course before, which is fine as long as there’s snow. That can be unpredictable, though, and Gamehaven’s snowmaking capability on a potential ski loop would be a huge asset, he said.

DNR permission

The snowmaking capability would require a Department of Natural Resources permit to draw water out of the reservoir and drop the water level by about 9 to 12 inches, O’Connor said. That wouldn’t affect fishermen, he said.

“We don’t want to screw that up,” O’Connor said.

A tubing hill would attract nonskiers and families to the area as well, he said.

“If you get them out and get them active, it’s just a positive, positive thing,” Robertson said.

Contributor:  PostBulletin (MN)



Creating a 12-Month Marketing Plan for Your Sports Facility !


   When you’re considering how to best market your sports facility to your community, the most important thing to do is to plan ahead, whether your business is brand new or has been around for decades.

Sure, things can change at a moment’s notice, and owning a business requires a good deal of flexibility. You don’t have to set all the minutia in stone for what happens a year from now, but having a general plan is essential. As I’ve mentioned before, planning ahead is especially critical to avoid a slow season and the subsequent lull in revenue that can make or break your business.

When establishing an annual marketing plan, break the year down by deciding what to focus on each month. Write down:

  1. What your clients will want to buy that month. You know your clients better than anyone. Familiarize yourself with local school schedules and sports schedules. Which sports and fitness programs are the most popular in your community, and when? Notes those details on your calendar.
  2. What programs, classes or events will provide the optimal revenue for your facility. Remember that each area in your facility should have multiple uses throughout the day, and that diversifying your space will maximize your revenue. Keep your clients’ range of ages and interests in mind when planning programming to make sure that there’s something for everyone. Remember, each square foot of space costs you money every day, and each square foot should be generating as much money for your business as possible. Don’t worry about getting too detailed here; the most important thing is to note the start dates, staffing, focus, and tentative pricing. You can finalize all the details as the event gets closer.
  3. What special events and promotions you can run to reach your goals. As the business owner or manager, it’s up to you to come up with promotions that will entice your customers while still allowing you to meet all your financial obligations and keep your doors open. New businesses, in particular, need to offer discounts to get new customers in the door. Plan promotions with care and update the pricing as your financial needs change.

Once you’ve established your general outline of events, it’s time to pencil in the associated to-do lists on a calendar. At DNA Sports Center, we’ve found that the ideal window for getting the initial word out about a new class, program or promotion is six to eight weeks ahead of time. That doesn’t mean that the classes will fill up that early, although sometimes they do. But it does get people thinking about the event. We typically send out a dedicated emailer at that point. Then, a few weeks later, we remind our Facebook fans about the event or class. Then, at the beginning of the week of the actual class or event, or the registration deadline for the class or event, if that comes first, we send out yet another emailer linking directly to the registration page.

Having these specific to-dos on a calendar that is highly visible to your staff will keep everyone on track. Just make sure that after your detailed month-to-month marketing plan is developed, someone on staff is in charge of enforcing the deadlines associated with it. That includes revisiting the plan every month to make additional changes and add details. Every six months you should be planning ahead for the next six, so that you’re a year ahead at all times.

- See more at:



Myrtle Beach Sports Center Announces Signing of 17 Occasion Contracts New Facility, Scheduled To Open in March 2015, Has Nearly Sold Out Its Very first Six Months !

Clearwater, FL (PRWEB) November, 2014

Myrtle Beach, SC is the third largest tourism location in America behind Orlando and Las Vegas – its longtime focus on sports is 1 cause the beach town has grow to be so well-liked. John MacDonald, Common Manager of the new Myrtle Beach Sports Center positioned in Myrtle Beach, has announced the signing of 17 event contracts for the new facility, which is scheduled to open in March 2015. “Response has been phenomenal,” says MacDonald. “There are only two weekends still open for the center’s initial six months of operation—Easter and Memorial day.”

Myrtle Beach Sports Center will incorporate one hundred,000 square feet of year-round tournament and events space. The center delivers eight high school basketball courts or 16 volleyball courts with full-length retractable curtains. The courts are also lined so as to be configurable as four collegiate/specialist basketball courts.

“Basketball and volleyball are not the only choices, of course,” says MacDonald. “The center has 70,000 square feet of totally free-span space it is developed to host mat sports, table tennis, pickle ball, trade shows, and numerous other sorts of events.”

When not at the Sports Center, MacDonald notes, athletes and their households will have a host of region activities to select from. These incorporate the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, named the nation’s number-three boardwalk by National Geographic Household Kingdom Amusement Park, considered the fifth-ideal amusement park in the nation the Huntington Beach and Myrtle Beach State Parks a wide selection of musical entertainment, which includes the Carolina Opry and comprehensive, family-friendly purchasing.1

“This new facility and its locale in one particular of the significant tourist destinations in the U.S.,” says MacDonald, “makes it a have to quit for any occasion owner that wants to give athletic teams with the ultimate in customer service, facilities, value, and guest experience—in and outside of the competition venue.”

Amongst the groups that will be moving their events next year to the Myrtle Beach Sports Center sits the National Travel Basketball Association (NTBA). Says NTBA President John Whitley, “Having the new Myrtle Beach Sports Center permits NTBA to now bring its 1st-class tournaments to a first-class facility. We will be hosting our State and National Championships at the MBSC, and becoming capable to have the games below 1 roof is merely a win-win for all involved, but especially the spectators.”

A essential aspect in the accomplishment of the new Myrtle Beach Sports Center, and of related facilities nationwide, is an explosion of interest in youth and travel sports. “Youth sports tourism wasn’t even a category 4 years ago,” says Dave Hollander, a professor at New York University’s Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports, “and now it’s the fastest-growing segment in travel. You have got millions of youngsters involved, parents spending thousands of dollars, and cities constructing facilities to host events. It is just massive.”

According to a recent USA Right now survey, at least 35 million youngsters between five and 18 currently play an organized sport every single year in the U.S. Of these, 21 million are involved in non-college youth sports. “I do not see this as trending downward,” says Hollander. “Check out the neighborhood youth sports Television channels in your neighborhood. They are continuing to grow. Cities and towns are seeing advantages as these trips turn into mini-vacations for households, so their incentive to be a player in this is also expanding.”2

Even though the opportunity is real and developing, Dev Pathik, Founder and CEO, Sports Facilities Advisory and Sports Facilities Management, cautions that becoming a player in youth sports demands accurate analysis and planning. Speaking of the Myrtle Beach Sports Center, he says, “The city engaged us to generate a detailed economic forecast and financial effect projections for [Myrtle Beach Sports Center] from the time the project was in its infancy, and then hired our management team, to oversee the pre-opening and day to day operations.”

This cautious and detailed strategy, notes Pathik, is crucial to the success of any new sports facility. “Even with a excellent location and a booming market,” he says, “you have to make particular that what you are doing is precisely calibrated to the marketplace. We recognize this simply because it is our enterprise.”

SFA|SFM works with government entities, economic institutions, private developers, institutional customers, and faith-primarily based organizations to assist them—from the ground up—to optimize the return they make on their investment.

About Sports Facilities Advisory and Sports Facilities Management (SFA|SFM):

The Sports Facilities Advisory and Sports Facilities Management (SFA|SFM) is the leading resource in sports facility arranging and management. SFA|SFM has served a portfolio totaling a lot more than $ 4Billion in planned and operational sports centers in communities throughout the USA and internationally given that its founding in 2003. Youth and amateur sports and neighborhood recreation centers now require professional planning and management. SFA’s proprietary data system—based on years of arranging, funding and managing facilities, coupled with the rise of the youth sports segment—is the engine behind the improvement of SFM. Since its inception, SFM has become an business leader in the management of amateur sports and events complexes, and along with SFA, offers the preparing, financing and management knowledge needed to turn suggestions into profitable recreation facilities. SFA|SFM serves each public and private clientele. Its services fall into four major categories: program, fund, open and handle, which encompass each phase from early stage feasibility studies to preparing financing documents, overseeing development and opening and complete-time management solutions. SFA|SFM’s achievement depends upon its mission to dramatically increase communities by way of the opening or optimization of sports and recreation centers. For a lot more info, pay a visit to