While citizens of Purcellville are familiar with family and community sports and recreation activities and events taking place at Fireman’s Field, a larger indoor facility that can flexibly accommodate multiple sports practice and tournament activities on a regular basis adds another dimension to community engagement plus sports tourism visitor economic development.
The National Association of Sports Commissions in a national study points out a few trends: Destinations with sportsplex facilities have discovered the industry to be recession resistant; Focus on National Championships has given way to more regional events; Event organizers prefer multiple courts/fields in one or in very few locations; Quality of facility remains the single most important deciding factor in capturing tournament commitments.
Some regional examples around us include Discover Sports Zone, Boyd’s, MD; Boo Williams Sportsplex, Hampton, VA; Virginia Beach Field House, Virginia Beach, VA; and Prince George’s Sports & Learning Complex, Raljohn, MD.
Local Community Recreation Plus Economic Development
A sportsplex facility allows the destination to better accommodate and grow its existing, local-based recreational programs as well as to attract incremental new sports competitions/tournaments that generate economic and fiscal impacts to the community.
According to the study on economic impact of nineteen major amateur sports tournaments taking place in Loudoun County in 2016, conducted by the School of Business at George Washington University, tournament visitors and participants booked 19,250 hotel room nights and contributed $20.5 million to the local economies, generating $1.2 million in local tax revenue.
Loudoun County engaged a feasibility study and found that Loudoun County field access was inadequate to meet current demand and the creation of an indoor sportsplex facility was recommended to attract major regional and national sporting events. Courts for volleyball and basketball as opposed to indoor turf offer more attraction and more flexibility for sports variety. Estimates show an 85% utilization for courts vs. 65% utilization for indoor turf fields.
Mid Atlantic market research, including direct feedback from event promoters/producers, suggests that demand exists for a new sports complex that offers multipurpose, rectangular fields with flexible indoor courts and divisible fields, associated with patron amenities and supporting infrastructure. A new indoor/outdoor sports court and field complex could serve a diverse set of demand generators at varying levels of competitions/tournaments. Offering multipurpose fields will allow the facility to host multiple sports such as lacrosse, soccer, rugby, and others that mitigate the reliance on any particular sport, like soccer, football, or baseball.
Other events such as entertainment acts, speakers, concerts, festivals, conferences, trade exhibitions can also utilize the space of an indoor sportsplex, bringing additional activity for community purposes and outside visitors for economic development.