The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

Leaders chart path back to playing fields for amateur sports !

AMATEUR ATHLETICS: Leaders chart the path back for amateur sports

A child tosses an already-autographed baseball while awaiting another signature from a passing player before a spring training baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners in March. Doctors, scientists and sports leaders are outlining the path back to playing fields for children in grassroots sports — an exercise that could inform major organizations on how to get their industries up and running as well in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Doctors, scientists and sports leaders are outlining the path back to playing fields for children in grassroots sports — an exercise that will help inform major organizations on how to get their industries up and running as well amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

From New Zealand to Austria to the northwest corner of Utah, leaders are releasing regulations that have potential to impact everything from workouts at gyms to youth baseball leagues to elite-level training with an eye on the Olympics.

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee distributed a seven-page set of guidelines of its own this week that called on participants to “self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 twice daily,” as one of several steps in a multilayered return scenario.

“In addition to the logistical challenges of returning to training following COVID- 19, there are also ethical and societal considerations that are beyond the scope of this document,” USOPC chief medical officer Jonathan Finnoff wrote in a nod to the uncharted territory that all sports are trying to negotiate.

The guidelines are being developed as some major pro leagues, including the NBA, target return-to-practice dates, while others, such as Major League Baseball, float ideas about starting or resuming their seasons in upcoming weeks. All these plans need some sort of signoff from health and government authorities, who themselves are looking at models of what sports will look like on a grassroots level — a calculation that has potential to impact decisions all the way up the chain of sports.

All entities are developing their plans with the knowledge that lives are at risk and that a single outbreak among teammates or training partners has the potential to shut down a facility — or derail an entire season.

The guidelines reviewed by The Associated Press had several things in common:

n All returns will begin with individual training or in very small groups.

n Very few spectators, if any, will be allowed. The USOPC also released a 13-page guide about sports event planning that asks, among other questions, “Can the financial risk be mitigated through means such as event insurance, establishing financial impact timelines for cancellation, reschedule the event for a later date, or negotiate a contract that limits negative financial impact?”

n Almost every participant will be subject to temperature checks and some sort of verification that he or she is healthy and hasn’t been in recent contact with anyone who has COVID-19.

n Participants will be grouped in ‘bubbles’ — allowed to train with a specific group of people that will not change until restrictions are relaxed further.

n One key facet will be keeping track of it all — a role that private groups such as Utah-based Great Coach are trying to fill by offering apps, blogs and other online solutions that will help monitoring.

“The governors and president can say what they want, but when it comes to kids and amateur sports, the only way it’s going to happen is when parents feel like it’s safe for their kids to play again,” said Great Coach founder Bill Kerig, who estimates 45 million children participate in recreational sports across America.

A few test models are developing in Utah, where health authorities in the Logan area recently put out detailed guidelines of circumstances under which fitness centers can reopen, while organizers around Park City also try to develop scenarios for a return to play.

~ ~

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

We Can Save You Money In 2020 !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Teams, Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

www.sadlersports.com/soda

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

** “STAY HOME ** STAY SAFE ** StAY HEALTHY” **

America needs sports. Let’s see how we can get back to playing safely. !

The return of competition would give us something to cheer about from home.

The dominoes started falling after that. On March 12, Major League Baseball canceled spring training, the National Hockey League suspended the 2019-20 season, Major League Soccer went on hiatus and college leagues across the country began to shutter sports.

The following day, the Masters was postponed indefinitely, and President Donald Trump declared a national emergency that rightly spelled quiet in American stadiums and arenas for the foreseeable future.

All of these decisions were absolutely the right thing to do, and we applaud owners, coaches and athletes who joined the country in a stay home, stay safe movement that has helped us control the spread of the coronavirus.

Now, it is time to explore whether certain sports can begin again, without spectators gathering physically and with the appropriate level of safety for athletes and others who must be present.

Gov. Greg Abbott has announced that he is talking to teams and leagues about how they can reopen.

Given that the state is moving toward opening businesses that would involve far greater public interaction, it seems reasonable that sports could begin with adequate testing for athletes and distancing in those sports that make that possible. Very careful medical considerations would be needed, obviously. It may not be possible to reopen every sport, and we doubt we’ll see fans in stadiums in the near future.

Still, it is worth considering as we begin the process of reopening. Professional and amateur sports have long been important in America. They’ve long provided a common experience for a national conversation as well as inspiration. They are a shared experience that binds us. The same really can’t be said about Tiger King.

Reopening sports is not something to take lightly. But it is possible that, with the proper precautions, it can be done.

We know there can’t be cheering from the stands for a long time to come. But if we can cheer a little from our couches, let’s consider giving it a try.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

We Can Save You Money In 2020 !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Teams, Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

www.sadlersports.com/soda

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

** “STAY HOME ** STAY SAFE” ** Stay Healthy **

7 Tips For Wet Fields. !

The Ongoing Battle Rages On…

Thanks to the often-squishy sound beneath my feet as I walk the ballfields at our nearby Little League park, I know the first month or so of most seasons is typically a bit of an adventure (public health crisis aside). Even as summer starts to show up and warmer days become the norm, most groundskeepers have been battling (and many continue the battle) against the same thing … wet fields. What is a groundskeeper to do to keep his or her fields dry and get them playable as quickly as possible?

HERE ARE 7 TIPS FOR WET FIELDS:

    1. Winds can build up soil and topdressing materials into the lips of the infield skin. These lips will drastically affect the drainage of water off of your infield skin so be sure to regularly clean out all lips (see our Groundskeeper U module on Lip Management).
    2. Make sure the surface of the skin is smooth and level. Fall can be a great time to re-level your infield skin so there are no low spots in the skin which will collect water. This exercise best prepares your field for rapid water removal.
    3. If your infield was not regraded last fall, go out to the field right after a rain while there are still puddles on the infield skin and, using a rake, carve the outline of each puddle. When dry, nail dragthe infield avoiding the low spots so you can find them, then use the loose infield soil to fill these low areas to help the water move off the infield more effectively.
    4. When it’s early in the spring, you need to wait until the field has lost all frost in the soil profile before attempting any work on the skin portion. If it’s too soft to walk on, you should not be on it.
    5. If your field is in the northern part of the country — where there’s a noteworthy depth of frost each year (3″ or more) — be sure to roll the field early, once it has dried enough to help seal the field back up so water will run off the field more easily.
    6. Keep some calcined clay drying agents around for those emergencies. But if the puddles are large or deep, then use some puddle sponges or a puddle pump to remove excess water leaving just very shallow wet areas where drying agents can then work their magic.
    7. Whatever you do, NEVER use brooms to sweep excess water off your infield soil (see Top 6 Most Common Groundskeeping Mistakes). You will only be worsening the surface grade of the skin by sweeping more soil out which will create an even deeper hole for water to stand in. This will also cause build up of the lips which, even worse, creates a bigger dam along the turf edge. Save the brooms and squeegees for the turf grass only.

Paul Zwaska

Paul Zwaska

A former head groundskeeper for the Baltimore Orioles, Paul has been with Beacon Athletics for two decades. Among his many accomplishments, he authored Groundskeeper University, the first online ballfield maintenance training venue and continues to find innovative ways to help groundskeepers.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

We Can Save You Money In 2020 !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Teams, Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

www.sadlersports.com/soda

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

** “STAY HOME ** STAY SAFE” **

Sports Organizations and Coronavirus (COVID-19): Cancel or Mitigate the Risks ?

Updated 4/22/2020 – Sadler & Company – 

Applying Risk Management to Address Coronavirus Risk

The coronavirus threat and the ultimate impact on society and the sports community is unknown at this time. The situation is fluid with new information being released almost hourly regarding the progression of the COVID-19 outbreak and what steps various sports organizations are taking to address the situation. The trends have swung from mitigation to cancellation and now back to mitigation again with the planned reopening of various states. Any significant threat such as COVID-19 should be treated with the application of the risk management process.

There is safety in following the lead of authority sources

In order to prove negligence in failure to cancel or mitigate risks, courts will look to authority sources to determine the standard of care that is owed to sports organization staff, participants, and spectators. Therefore, sports organizations should pay close attention to the mandatory governmental regulations and/or recommended guidelines published by the various authority sources:

  • Federal/State/Local government: Constantly monitor governmental health agencies such as U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), your state’s public health department, and other county/local authorities.
  • School Districts: School districts provide localized advice based on the levels of coronavirus risk in a particular community. However, the risk components of school sports may be different than those posed by local, community-based sports organizations.
  • Sports Governing Bodies: Monitor the website, emails, and social media from the sports governing bodies that oversee your sport. Examples of sports governing bodies include USOCNCAANFHS, and USA Baseball.

Potential liability exposure exists for sports organizations

Below are the most common legal theories of recovery for a claimant who has been allegedly exposed to coronavirus with resulting sickness or death:

  1. Negligent failure to cancel event resulting in COVID-19 transmission.
  2. Negligent failure to take mitigation steps if events are not cancelled resulting in COVID-19 transmission.

It’s one thing to allege negligence, but it must be proved by showing:

  1. Duty owed to the claimant (may be different for participants vs spectators)
  2. Breach of duty by not following mandatory regulations and/or guidelines on cancellation or mitigation from sources as CDC, state health departments, and county/local authorities.
  3. Breach of duty was the proximate cause of the sickness. Proving causation may be a tall order according to law professor Benjamin Zipurski of Fordham University. Zipurski states that a claimant would need to prove they did not have a virus before the event, they did not come in contact with anyone or any shared spaces on the way to the event, and they did not come in contact with anyone or any shared spaces after the event. This is further complicated by the long incubation period of COVID-19 which may be up to two weeks.  On the other hand, it may be possible to trace the transmission of  COVID-19 if multiple people who attended the same event become infected.
  4. Damages (medical bills, loss of income, loss of companionship, disability, pain and suffering, etc.)

And then there are legal defenses to negligence such as the assumption of a known risk. And who in society has not been warned of the Coronavirus transmission risk by the media?

Does General Liability insurance provide coverage for sports organizations that are sued for failure to cancel or mitigate risk?

General Liability policies may provide coverage, but it depends on whether an infection event is considered to be an occurrence and the existence of certain policy exclusions. An exclusion means that a particular type or cause of injury is not covered. General Liability policies cover certain lawsuits alleging bodily injury or property damage caused by an occurrence and personal/advertising injury, subject to standard exclusions (built into the policy form) and non-standard exclusions (added by endorsement).

In the context of coronavirus, it is clear that disease falls under the definition of “bodily injury”. However, if coronavirus becomes widespread, there is an argument that infection does not fall under the policy requirement of an “occurrence.” Some authorities argue that an occurrence must be an accident or unexpected. This will undoubtedly be tested in the courts.

Below are some possible non-standard policy exclusions that could result in a coronavirus claim denial:

  • Communicable Disease Exclusion: In my experience, most sports organization General Liability policies don’t include this exclusion. However, it is seen on some sports facility General Liability policies such as fitness centers and martial arts studios.
  • Pandemic/Virus/Bacterial/Fungus Exclusion
  • Pollution Exclusions: Some absolute pollution exclusions may be worded broadly enough to define a pollutant as a bacteria or virus.

Different levels of transmission risk factors for different sports organizations

The following factors should be considered when a sports organization makes decisions regarding cancellation or how to best mitigate coronavirus risks. Know the risk factors for your particular sports organization and tailor a plan to fit your specific needs. For example, the transmission risks of many local sports organizations may be lower than that of high school, college, or professional sports teams.

  • What is happening in your specific community. If coronavirus is present or widespread in your community, you should increase your level of aggressiveness in applying risk management.
  • Analyze separately the risks from the perspective of staff, participants, spectators, and third-party vendors. Mitigation plans may need to be customized for each group.
  • According to the CDC, the risks to older adults and those with serious chronic medical conditions are elevated. According to U.S News & World Report, children and teens are at a lower risk and typically have milder symptoms or none at all and the death rate is much lower than middle aged and older populations. Exposure transmission to seniors may occur in their role as sports participants, coaches, spectators, or parent/guardians. Mitigation plans should be adopted to protect those with the highest level of risk.
  • Playing locally vs travel: Local play entails less transmission risk than air, bus, or train travel. Staff and participant travel to out-of-town conferences or competitions is a higher risk activity.
  • Spectators: Higher spectator transmission rates can be expected when spectators are indoors, confined in a small enclosed space, seniors, or have compromised immune systems.
  • Crowd size: The larger the crowd size, the greater the transmission risk. Currently many authority sorces are recommending that crowd sizes be limited to 10 or fewer.

How to mitigate liability risk by common sense risk management practices

  • Risk Warning: Sports programs should disseminate information to all staff, coaches, players, parents, and spectators about the coronavirus risk and practices that should be undertaken to mitigate risks. Information should be disseminated by way of email, social media, coach talks, and public announcements.
  • Social Distancing: All players, coaches, staff, independent contractors and spectators should practice social distancing of 6 ft. wherever possible, especially in common areas. Of course, this won’t always apply to players while engaging in the sports activity.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): All coaches, staff, and independent contractors should wear PPE such as face-masks and gloves whenever applicable. Players should wear face-masks in close contact areas and situations where applicable.
  • Spacing Of Player Equipment: Player equipment should be spaced accordingly to prevent close contact.
  • Limit Team Shared Equipment: The use of team shared equipment should be limited whenever possible and should be sanitized after each use.
  • Rest Rooms: Rest rooms should limit occupancy to one person at a time.
  • Spread Out Scheduling Of Practice And Games: There should be enough time between practices and games to allow one group to vacate the premises before the next group enters.
  • Hygiene/Hand Washing/Touching Face/Laundering: Players and coaches should practice proper hygiene, wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol), abstain from touching their face (mouth, eyes, or nose), and cover their cough or sneeze with a tissue and throw tissue in the trash. Facilities and sports organizations should provide hand washing and hand sanitizer stations and should schedule mandatory use at breaks. Carry small bottles of alcohol-based disinfectant when hand washing facilities are not available. Clothes should be laundered after all workouts.
  • Healthy Practices: All players and coaches should practice healthy habits including adequate hydration to keep mucous membranes moist, consume a varied, vitamin-rich diet with sufficient vegetables and fruits, and get adequate sleep.
  • Cleaning/Disinfecting: Sports Facility owners/operators and team staff should use disposable disinfectant wipes on all training areas, equipment, common areas, door handles, water fountains and bathrooms, etc. on a regular basis.
  • Self-quarantine: Players, coaches, parents, or spectators with any symptoms should not attend any training sessions or competitions.
  • Water Bottles: Water and sports drink jugs should no longer be provided by sports facilities or sports organizations. Athletes and coaches should bring their own water bottles to all team activities to help to reduce transmission risk. Individuals should take their own water bottles home each night for cleaning and sanitation. Visiting teams should also bring their own water bottles.
  • No Handshakes/Celebrations: Obviously with social distancing practices, players and coaches should refrain from handshakes, high fives, fist/elbow bumps, chest bumps, group celebrations, etc.
  • Sports Organization Staff: Many sports organizations are limiting staff exposure by limiting working at the office and non-essential travel. Staff is encouraged not to come into the office if they are not feeling well. Remote working from home is promoted as an alternative.
  • Returning From Out of Country: Those returning from a country with ongoing COVID-19 infections should monitor their health and follow the instructions from public health officials.
  • Meetings: Many sports organizations are cancelling in-person meetings and conferencing by telephone.
  • Conferences: Many sports organizations are changing member conference participation from in-person to video.
  • Limiting Spectator Attendance: Some sports organizations may choose to limit spectator risk by limiting attendance to essential staff and limited family members.
  • Coronavirus Warning Signage: Post conspicuous signage at sports facility warning of coronavirus risks and what steps can be taken to reduce such risks. Here is some sample language that should be reviewed by local legal counsel:
    • Coronavirus Risk Warning
      • It is suggested that seniors or others with compromised immune systems not participate in or attend this event due to risk of infection.
      • Do not enter if you are exhibiting any signs of illness such as sneezing, coughing, sniffles, have fever, or don’t feel well.
      • If you are repeatedly sneezing or coughing, you may be asked to immediately leave the premises.
      • All players, staff, and spectators should practice responsible social distancing by remaining at least 6 ft apart whenever possible.
      • All players, staff, and spectators should wear PPE such as face masks whenever applicable.
      • Wash your hands and/or use hand sanitizer upon entrance, during the event, before and after you eat, and as you leave. Hand washing and hand santizer stations are provided.
      • Avoid touching your face including your eyes, nose, and mouth.
      • Public restrooms should limit occupancy to one person at a time.
  • Waiver/Release: Waiver/release agreement forms should be updated to address the risk of communicable diseases such as COVID-19 in addition to injury. See our updated waiver/release agreements for minors and adults. In addition, we have a new, stand alone COVID-19 waiver/release for those sports organizations that already collected their normal waiver/release forms for the season.

Other insurance policies that may apply to coronavirus

Event Cancellation Insurance is a stand-alone policy that pays for certain financial loss if an event is cancelled, postponed, curtailed or relocated beyond the control of the policyholder. Covered perils may include, but are not limited to, hurricanes, earthquakes, severe/adverse weather, outbreak of communicable disease, terrorism, labor strikes, non-appearance of key people, and unavailability of the venue due to fires, floods or power outages

Though outbreaks of communicable disease are commonly covered under Event Cancellation policy forms, the two leading carriers have recently started to exclude (not cover) coronavirus on newly issued policies. One carrier is issuing a specific coronavirus exclusion, whereas the other considers it to be an excluded pre-existing condition. However, Event Cancellation policies issued prior to the addition of the recent coronavirus restrictions may not have a coronavirus exclusion.

Also note that even if a coronavirus exclusion does not exist, a claim would only be covered if it is not possible for the event to move forward due to travel restrictions, state or local ordinance restrictions, or the suspension of facility operations. These factors are beyond the control of the insured. It is not enough that the attendees or event organizers have a fear of traveling or of catching the virus and voluntarily make the decision to cancel or alter the event.

Directors & Officers Liability covers the business entity and its directors and officers against certain lawsuits alleging managerial negligence that results in economic damages or the violation of rights of others under state, federal, or constitutional law. It is possible that a decision involving the failure to anticipate the financial impact of coronavirus and to take appropriate action could result in economic damages to the business and a subsequent lawsuit by shareholders or other stakeholders against the negligent directors and officers. However, D&O carriers may attempt to deny such a claim because of the “bodily injury” exclusion that is found in D&O policies. Many claims adjusters will take the position that economic damages arising out of bodily injury (i.e. coronavirus sickness) are excluded. However, this position is already being challenged in the courts in other contexts and the ultimate results are unclear.

Worker’s Compensation / Employer’s Liability Insurance covers certain on-the-job injuries and occupational diseases to employees and uninsured subcontractors, including medical bills, lost wages, and disability awards. It’s possible that an infected employee could file a Workman’s Compensation claim. However, Worker’s Compensation Commissions in some states may take the position that a covered occupational disease must be one that is specific to employment and not an ordinary disease to which the general public is exposed outside of employment. An exception may be health care workers who are exposed as part of their employment.

Business Interruption.  Sports facility owners and other sports organizations that own buildings or insure contents may carry a Commercial Property policy. Commercial Property policies often include Business Interruption / Extra Expense insurance which provides coverage for loss of business income (lost profit plus continuing operating expenses) while operations are totally or partially shut down as a result of a covered loss to insured property.  Also provided is Extra Expense coverage for the additional and necessary expenses after a loss to the extent that they offset the Business Income loss. In order for Business Income coverage to be triggered, there must be a direct physical loss to the property that is being covered, whether it is building or contents.

Some Property policies may include a coverage called Contingent Business Interruption which can trigger coverage in the event that there is a covered loss to the premises of suppliers, customers, or key partners. This coverage does not require any such loss at the insured’s own premises.

It is doubtful that contamination of building and contents would be considered a direct physical loss that would trigger business interruption coverage. Also, many property policies include a virus or bacteria exclusion which would further restrict coverage.

In addition, the Property policy may include coverage for acts of civil authorities that restrict access to an area. If such coverage exists, this may trigger a covered Business Interruption claim.

Coverage for any of the above-referenced Business Interruption coverages is not certain. Each case will depend on its own unique facts. Furthermore, the outcome will be dependent on the policy form and the existence of certain bacteria or virus exclusions that may apply. However, these claims may at least be worth discussing.

Conclusion

This coronavirus resource page will be updated frequently as new information comes to light. The purpose is to provide a framework to think through the risks to help each sports organization make an informed decision regarding cancellation and/or mitigation of risk. In addition, any potential coronavirus claims should be turned into the insurance carrier so that the claims department can make the coverage determination.

How Much Do Backstop Netting Systems Cost ?

 

Apr 7, 2020 · 

Backstop Netting Systems: The factors that drive cost and a comparison of different sized systems.

The benefits of backstop netting systems are clear. Gone are the days of peering through chain link fences. As are the days of trying to squint past a series of in-the-way poles. Netting systems offer fans an unobstructed view of the game while providing superior protection against errant foul balls.

A backstop netting system is fully customizable. That offers you unprecedented flexibility in design, but also can make creating a budget a little more difficult. There are many factors that drive the cost of your system, and anticipating your ballfield’s needs can get confusing. Whether you already have a budget in mind, or you are just beginning to research how much a backstop netting system costs, this post will walk you through the approximate amount you can expect to spend based on these key five factors:

  • 1. The height of the net.
  • 2. The number of poles and their individual and combined spans. Bigger systems need bigger poles.
  • 3. The pole placement (inline with the backstop wall or offset behind the home plate seating area, and their placement in relation to the dugout).
  • 4. Whether the poles are buried or mounted using a base plate.
  • 5. The type of netting material used.

These are the primary factors that will drive your cost, but keep in mind there are many other factors that can impact your final costs including:  project location, site access, soil conditions, topography, and installation logistics.

When planning for your backstop net system, be sure to ask your netting consultant or supplier a lot of questions so you’re fully informed. A supplier should be equipped to discuss all of these factors and your other questions. Your goal and their’s should be to avoid any surprise costs in the end.

Sizing Up Backstop Netting Costs

Let’s look at three different broad budget sizes (small, medium, and large) and use the main five factors that drive cost to create a range for each.

To help you understand these differences between these small, medium and large budgets, we’ve included photos of different fields.


SMALL NETTING SYSTEMS

$25,000 – $45,000 per field installed 

A ballfield with a smaller budget will typically have a netting system that is 20’ to 30’ tall and a footprint that runs 105′ to 150′ in total length (35′ x 35′ x 35′ to 50′ x 50′ x 50′) supported by four (4) poles. Assume your system will not have any netting extensions down the foul lines. Integration with your dugouts will be straightforward and there will be no tie in with any grandstand seating areas.

The smaller budget would be the best fit for smaller high schools or community/league based fields. This is a good example of an entry-level lift and tension-based system.

Oregon (WI) High School

 

Sunset Park, Kimberly, WI

MEDIUM NETTING SYSTEMS

$40,000 – $80,000 per field installed 

Middle of the road backstop netting systems will be taller, usually 30′ to 40′ in height and have a corresponding footprint to its height that runs 105′ to 150′ in total length (35’x35’x35′ to 50’x50’x50′) supported by four (4) poles. In medium-sized systems, there may be permanent bleachers or dugouts to work around, and both could be straightforward or complicated (e.g., dugouts, permanent bleaches). Height is the biggest cost factor for these systems, but they do maximize your netting footprint to keep the ball in the park.

Inclusion of a barrier netting that runs over dugouts or down foul lines will increase costs another $10,000 to $25,000. Keep in mind your cost will vary based on the height and length of that extension.

The medium budget would be best fit for medium-sized high schools or college fields. Here is an example.

University of Wisconsin – Lacrosse

LARGE NETTING SYSTEMS

$100,000 – $500,000 per field installed 

Larger systems are typically 40’ to 60’ in height. These systems will have integration with the dugouts, and typically have full barrier netting running down the lines to the foul poles to offer maximum safety protection. Larger facilities that have permanent grandstand seating areas usually introduce additional poles. These installation complexities can increase costs.

This larger budget would be best fit for larger college complexes or minor league fields with grandstands and more protection requirements.

Huntington Beach (CA) High School

Principle Park, Iowa (Iowa Cubs – MiLB)

OTHER FAQs

Q. Can netting systems be installed in phases to defer costs into a second year?

A. Yes. Sometimes you shouldn’t skimp, but a one-time large expense may be more than you have to spend. In this case, the project can be designed for additional phases. Learn how this organization in North Dakota took a multi-staged approach:

Bismarck Municipal Ballpark (Bismarck, ND) – This park made netting improvements over a 5-year period starting with the backstop netting, then extending netting over the dugouts, then finally down the foul lines.

Q. What’s the cost difference between inline and tie-back systems?

A. An inline system that has the poles integrated into the wall or fence behind the home plate will likely be 10% to 20% less expensive than an outboard tie-back system. If working around existing bleachers is an issue, you might find the cost-benefit savings to be less than 10%.Q.  What is the cost increase of a barrier safety net that runs down the foul line?

A.  Again, height and length will dictate the cost. Running a shorter 10’ net halfway down the foul line vs running a 20’ tall net to the foul posts can mean a difference of $6,000 – $15,000 savings to your budget.Q.  What about just adding netting to an existing fence?

A. To do it right, you’re really looking at doing a small inline system as the existing fence posts will not be able to handle the load of the net. Many smaller community parks do this, and though it seems like adding 10’ to the top is a great idea, the result is usually short lived. Additionally, if this type of system were to detach and fall during high winds, you risk injuring people.Beacon Athletics

Beacon Athletics

We’ve been in your shoes. So it’s about giving you what you need, when you need it. To live up to “the ultimate ballfield resource” it goes beyond just delivering superior products. It’s also about giving you on-demand resources that will help make your job easier. That’s why we created Ballfields.com and GroundskeeperU.com. Whatever your ballfield needs, think Beacon.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

We Can Save You Money In 2020 !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Teams, Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

www.sadlersports.com/soda

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

** “STAY HOME ** STAY SAFE” **

Boys of Summer hold out Hope. !

UNITY, OH.  — From April through July, the Next Level Sports Complex normally features wall-to-wall youth baseball and softball action. This year, it has sat idle as the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic continues to play out.

“We had tournaments booked clear through the third week in July,” Next Level owner Jim Vance said. “We’ve already canceled everything for April and we’re just going to have to take it month-by-month after that.”

Next Level is a six-field baseball and softball complex that also features an indoor training facility complete with turf and batting cages. It is primarily run by Vance along with his son and brother.

When large-scale statewide shutdowns began occurring in the middle of March, Next Level followed suit.

“Everything is completely shut down right now,” Vance said. “We had the indoor facility booked solid for the rest of March, but we had to scratch everything.”

One of Next Level’s primary sources of income during the spring comes from renting out the complex to the East Palestine High School baseball and softball teams as well as the Heartland Christian baseball team for games and practice. The East Palestine Youth Sports Association and Heartland Christian’s Pony League team also make use of the fields.

During the summer, Vance said travel ball teams frequently use the fields for practice. In addition to Next Level putting on its own youth tournaments on the weekends, Vance said other tournament directors use his complex to host their events.

“On a good weekend we have between 32 and 36 teams here for our tournaments,” Vance said. “A lot of nights four or five of our six fields are in use.”

Like a lot of other parts of the sports industry, Vance said Next Level has taken a considerable financial hit in the past month. All tournaments through at least April 30 have been postponed.

“It isn’t good that’s for sure,” Vance said of the financial situation. For each tournament, we probably pull in $15,000 on registration fees. You multiply that out by the four tournaments we’ve had to cancel and that’s a lot. I also own a landscaping business in Pennsylvania and we’re still an essential business over there, so I’ve been able to stay busy that way.

“There are still costs for regular maintenance. I have 11 full-time employees with my other business and I’ve pulled a few of them to help me maintain the fields while everything is shut down.”

Vance said that all of the tournaments that have been canceled have been given their money back.

“I’ve given them all refunds,” Vance said. “Fortunately, I don’t use that money until the tournaments are over.”

If things resume sometime this summer, Vance is hopeful his facility can hold as many games as possible.

“I’ve had a lot of tournament directors contact me wanting to play games in a round-robin format,” Vance said. “We’re going to do whatever we can.”

That being said, Vance was careful not to get ahead of himself.

“I had been holding out some hope for May, but I’m not so sure about that now,” Vance said. “If major leaguers aren’t going to be able to play, they certainly aren’t going to let kids play. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

We Can Save You Money In 2020 !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Teams, Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

www.sadlersports.com/soda

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

** “STAY HOME ** STAY SAFE” **

St. Louis group OKs $6M for proposed youth sports complex !

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis commission has approved $6 million in tax money to convert a struggling outlet mall in Hazelwood into a massive youth sports complex.

The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission on Thursday approved a request that uses hotel tax revenue for the proposed POWERplex project, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Commission attorneys said the money would only be paid out if all other financing is secured for the $54 million project.

Last month, the Missouri Development Finance Board also approved a $6 million contribution to the project. The city of Hazelwood is contributing millions to the financing, and the developers are contributing $3.3 million in equity and $18.4 million in private loans for the project, the Post-Dispatch reported.

The project proposes a huge campus of multiple playing fields capable of hosting simultaneous baseball, basketball, volleyball, softball and football games. Plans for the area where the St. Louis Outlet Mall now stands also include a hotel, restaurants and other amenities.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

We Can Save You Money In 2020 !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Teams, Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

www.sadlersports.com/soda

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

** “STAY HOME ** STAY SAFE” **

4 Important Tips to Effectively Run Your Ballfield Facility !

How to get the most out of your ballfields.

With this forced downtime, this is a perfect time to assess how your operations are working. After years of working with a local little league in Madison, Wisconsin, Beacon’s Paul Zwaska offers some important tips that can help you effectively run your facility.

1. Be a leader! Every organization needs a visionary who can dream up and plan the future of a facility. However, to be successful, you will need someone who can lead and help the organization stay the course on its planned initiatives.  Someone who can keep an eye on the prize!

2. Organize the organization. It should be run like a business, especially since you have revenue coming in and expenses going out. The organization should have a budget that is closely monitored and controlled in order to help with planning. Without a budget, it becomes much harder to plan for facility improvements and upgrades.

3. Plan for the long-term, not just the here and now. Long-range planning is critical, especially when tackling projects that have high costs. Sometimes, these projects need to be done in phases over a few years to help spread out the cost. The long-range plan should be a living five year plan that is updated annually.

4. Maintain a healthy revenue stream. If you own and maintain the facility where you play your games, be sure to charge enough to cover the costs of operations and future upgrades. You should consider these revenue streams:

  • Player Registration – Total registration revenue should cover at least 50% of the cost increase of overall operations of the league and facility. The higher the better. Don’t be afraid to increase fees annually.
  • Concessions – You should shoot for a minimum profit margin of 40 – 50% on most items.  A good concessions manager is always experimenting with new menu items. Ditch the poor performers and seek out the popular top sellers.
  • Sponsorships – Team sponsors, outfield sign sponsors, and other special sponsorships. It takes the right people to approach businesses to ask for sponsorship money. You will find that the smaller the community, the bigger the support from local businesses.  In smaller communities, the youth sporting events are often the main entertainment.
  • Hosting Tournaments – Use your facility to host tournaments a couple times a year, this will help accelerate your revenue stream Proper planning will ensure that they won’t interfere with regular league action.
  • Grants – There are many foundations and organizations that have money to give to worthy causes. Do your research and apply for as many grants as possible. Most of these organizations want to know how their money will be used. Be prepared to share your budget and be specific about what you need. The application process can be tedious, but the rewards can be very fruitful. Sometimes it helps to hire a grant writer as they are better prepared to navigate the confusing and laborious application process.

Remember: Your facility is like a second home for families

Parents want a great place to send their kids to play. Parents and participants won’t complain about increasing costs as long as they see the money going towards facility improvements. They will be willing to pay a little more.

And, keep this in mind… the more visible the improvements, the easier it is to ask for more fees.

Paul Zwaska

Paul Zwaska

A former head groundskeeper for the Baltimore Orioles, Paul has been with Beacon Athletics for two decades. Among his many accomplishments, he authored Groundskeeper University, the first online ballfield maintenance training venue and continues to find innovative ways to help groundskeepers.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

We Can Save You Money In 2020 !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Teams, Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

www.sadlersports.com/soda

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

** “STAY HOME ** STAY SAFE” **

Virus outbreak grinds E’town Sports Park’s spring season to a halt !

Backstop Netting Systems -vs- Chain Link Fencing. !

Mar 17, 2020 ·

A large scale update of your ballfield means making a lot of difficult decisions. One of the toughest decisions is whether to install a backstop netting system or a chain link fence backstop. Considering durability, installation, fan safety, and visual appeal of both options will help you decide which is the right way to go for your ballfield.


► NETTING: What are the benefits?

  • Visual appeal
  • Fan safety
  • Installation
  • Cost

VISUAL APPEAL

Netting systems are visually impressive.They create a professional ballfield experience and provide minimal obstruction for viewing. Thin, black netting seamlessly blends into the ballfield and fewer poles mean fewer obstructions. The netting poles can even be installed behind the seating area giving fans a seamless view of the game.

SAFETY

Backstop netting systems provide superior spectator protection.Chain link fences can make it difficult for fans to see the game, and many will move to an unprotected area for a better view. Netting systems can be installed to greater heights than chain link fences, so the risk of foul balls flying into the viewing area is lower. While the most common height for netting systems is 30 feet, 10 feet higher than a chain link fence, they can be installed up to 50 feet. These increased heights prevent errant balls from hitting cars, buildings, and spectators without sacrificing the viewer’s ability to see the game. Besides backstop safety, barrier netting is often installed down the foul lines. Set at a height of 10 to 20 feet, this helps protect pitchers and catchers who are warming up, as well as spectators who are entering and exiting the facilities.

INSTALLATION

Netting systems are configured to fit your needs exactly. A typical system will use four large, steel poles that are engineered based on the specific needs (height and netting span) of your ballpark. These poles offer you flexibility in their placement – they can be placed down the foul lines, behind dugouts or seating areas, and can be configured to work around existing buildings. These solid poles are designed to withstand the stress that is created by wind at your park.

Netting systems need to be secured to the backstop wall, as well as secured to the grandstand or dugout areas. If not engineered and installed correctly from the beginning, this will likely cause future issues. For example, a backstop wall constructed of hollow blocks will not provide the holding strength for the eye bolts holding the lower horizontal cables.

In order to reduce the amount of give the net has when a ball hits it, proper installation is essential. If not correctly installed, the tension of the net can be compromised and the net will flex too much when hit by a ball. This can put nearby fans who are “nose to net”at risk.

COST

A wide range of factors means there is a wide range of final costs.First, you must consider some essential factors that will drive cost and design: the height of the net, the number of poles and their overall span, the pole placement (inline with the backstop, offset behind the home plate seating area, and placement in relation to the dugout), and whether the poles are buried or mounted to a plate. Large redesigns or initial builds can benefit from the cost savings provided by a netting system — huge chain link fencing projects come with huge price tags. While less expensive at the onset, even small chain link fences will require replacing down the road. After installation, the only future expense of your netting system will be replacing or patching the net. They cover a large area, and provide the most cost economical way to protect a large number of fans.


NETTING: What else should I consider?

  • Durability
  • Backstop use
  • Netting material
  • Give of the material (flex)
  • Other budget considerations

DURABILITY

Depending on your location, some backstop netting systems can be left up all year. In colder climates, a winch-based lift and tension netting system requires the field maintenance staff to take it down and to store it with care. A permanent netting system only needs the net removed in the case of an extreme storm. Properly maintained, a netting system will last eight to twelve years. Tears or holes can develop, but can be easily repaired. Netting systems can also be susceptible to vandalism if there is no park security.

BACKSTOP USE

Backstop netting systems are meant to be installed with a solid backstop wall, and are not meant to go directly to the field surface. Contact with cleats and balls at the ground level would create tears and holes. In the absence of a backstop wall, a netting system can be added to a 4 to 6 foot chain link base wall.

NETTING MATERIAL

The netting used for backstop netting systems must be strong, but flexible in order to resist stress created by wind. The type of fiber used in the netting system, paired with the design of the system, determines its strength and longevity. There are two main material options available, depending on your needs: nylon, and Dyneema.

The majority of netting systems use nylon. The stronger material means a longer lifespan, and can be used both indoors and outdoors. UV inhibitors extend the life of the netting, and varnish or latex dips make the material waterproof. Nylon provides your spectators with a clearer view of the field than the poly netting.

If you are outfitting a professional ballfield, Dyneema (a high-end Polypropylene type of material) provides the strongest and most visually appealing netting system. This material is ultra-strong yet ultra-lightweight, and offers minimal visual obstruction to spectators. It has a high resistance to UV degradation, but may need replacing more frequently than nylon netting systems.

OTHER BUDGET CONSIDERATIONS

For ballfields with fencing systems under 20 feet in height,installing a backstop netting system at a similar height is a less cost efficient option. In that case, a chain link fence may be your best choice. The increased value of a netting system is really seen when you’re looking at heights from 20 to 50 feet, and beyond.

► CHAIN LINK FENCE: What are the benefits?

  • Durability
  • Safety
  • Cost

Durability

Chain link fenceChain link fences are made from strong, high gauge metal that is meant to last for years. The posts can be concreted into place, and the fencing holds well against strong winds and the players who lean on them. Fence systems are typically installed straight to the ground, and will not become significantly damaged by balls or cleats hitting them.

Safety

Chain link fences provide your ballfield with immovable protectionfrom errant hits, throws, and pitches. The strong metal will not give when a ball hits it, the ball will be stopped immediately, and the fence will not be severely damaged.

Cost

For smaller backstops that are less than 20′ in height, chain link fences remain the most affordable option. Chain link systems require a smaller investment upfront and may be the best choice when working under a limited budget.


► CHAIN LINK FENCE: What else should I consider?

  • Materials
  • Obstructions
  • Other budget considerations

Materials

Metal is subject to rust and distortion over time, despite its strength. Years of being hit with balls can lead chain link fences to being bent or damaged behind the home plate area. Fencing often becomes bowed or bent over time and will later require large sections to be replaced at the same time.

Obstructions

Chain link fences give your ballpark a less professional atmosphere. The thickness of the metal, combined with the color of the steel, creates more prominent obstructions than netting systems. Poles must be placed every four to eight feet, and chain link fences often require additional horizontal supporting poles. Clear viewing of the ballgame is compromised and spectators may move to unprotected areas to be able to see the game. This reduces the protection your chain link system provides your fans.

Other budget considerations

Outfitting a ballpark with a chain link fence heights available in taller netting systems would be cost prohibitive. The typical chain link fence system does not exceed 20 feet in height, and extending it beyond that would require a much more extensive budget. When considering the amount of materials needed and the cost of installation, chain link fences may not be a suitable choice for larger scaled ballparks. Even if a shorter chain link fence requires a lower initial investment, eventual damage to the fence will require higher costs to repair it down the road.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

We Can Save You Money In 2020 !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Teams, Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

www.sadlersports.com/soda

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Beacon AthleticsBeacon Athletics

We’ve been in your shoes. So it’s about giving you what you need, when you need it. To live up to “the ultimate ballfield resource” it goes beyond just delivering superior products. It’s also about giving you on-demand resources that will help make your job easier. That’s why we created Ballfields.com and GroundskeeperU.com. Whatever your ballfield needs, think Beacon.