Aug. 6, 2019 – As predicted by Wintergreen Research, Inc in 2017, the youth travel sports industry has continued its rise in participation, spending, and development; a ‘boom’ which has far reaching effects across the industry, including event owners, industry associations, travel teams, and communities. Valued at $10.47 billion in 2016 by the National Association of Sports Commission, youth travel related spending has reached the $17 billion mark. According to Dev Pathik, CEO and Founder of the Sports Facilities Advisory, there are still hundreds of millions of real estate development yet to come.
“The Southeast region has continued to lead the Nation in the development of innovative mutli-sport destinations with new mega-facilities opening or underway in destinations like Panama City Beach, FL and Memphis, TN,” says Pathik. “In mid and major markets across the country, there remains an untapped potential for new developments and the associated benefits in travel related spending, sports participation, and economic development.”
Editor of SportsEvents Magazine, Sherri Middleton adds, “Based on current data, 2019 is anticipated to again hit record growth. The boom in growth creates a need for new multipurpose facilities to be built, and as a result, more networking and educational opportunities to conduct business.” SportsEvents Media Group has studied the sports events industry for 14 years by surveying stakeholders, gathering participation statistics, and analyzing spending data on the economic impact and trends. The organization hosts S.P.O.R.T.S. The Relationship Conference, which is in its 13th year and regularly sells out to event planning and destination city attendees.
Pathik explains that these destination cities are looking to tap into the opportunity of youth sports tourism primarily for economic development. Event owners are looking for the biggest, best, and most exciting facilities and cities to bring their events and the thousands of associated players, teams, and guests. Community leaders are searching for ways to bring new spending into their markets and sports tourism is a proven vehicle to produce millions in economic impact through visitor spending in hotel/motel bed tax and other mechanisms.
“Special tax areas such as tax increment finance districts, opportunity zones, and other incentives as well as public-private-partnerships are critical to obtaining start-up funding for these multi-million-dollar sports, events, and recreation destinations,” says Pathik. “Before investing, communities need to have cash flow forecasts and economic impact studies completed. They also need partners with proven track records. The business of attending events has become sophisticated and success requires experience.”
Cities like the Austin suburb of Hutto, TX are investing in sports tourism in a big way – an action that will shape the future of their rapidly growing community. Through a public-private-partnership, the city, a private developer, SFA, and the Nation’s largest and most comprehensive baseball scouting organization, Perfect Game, have joined forces to create an $800 million development anchored by the relocation of Perfect Game’s headquarters. Perfect Game’s presence in the community is expected to create demand for more than 150,000 hotel room nights annually resulting in $200 million in economic impact.
“Since our founding in 1995, the Perfect Game organization has become the gold standard in baseball scouting, recruiting, and organizing the largest scouting events in baseball” says President and Founder, Jerry Ford. “We’ve experienced dynamic growth, particularly in the last decade, and don’t see any signs of slowing down. Players and teams are more committed to traveling and playing in high level events than ever before.”
Perfect Game (PG) reports their current database has reached over 1,000,000 and holds an average of over 1,000 events each year. As the premier scouting organization, more than 12,000 players that have attended PG events became Major League Baseball (MLB) draft selections and 1,320 have become Major league players. In 2018 USA Today named PG President Jerry Ford one of the 100 most influential people in Major League baseball.
To learn more about the growth in the youth travel sports industry or to begin the facility and destination planning and development process, visit sportadvisory.com.