8 Things To Consider Before Building A Sports Complex (Informational)

Jamie Jacobs
Jamie Jacobs joined APX Construction Group in June of 2020 specializing in interior design, marketing, event planning, and business development.
  • Here in Minnesota, we have a lot of impressive professional sports stadiums. U.S. Bank Stadium, Allianz Field, and Target Center all attract thousands of fans each year. Not to mention all of the sporting complexes for high schools, colleges, and community centers across the state!

    There are many reasons someone might be interested in building a sports complex. Maybe a local high school needs a new gymnasium, or the interest in a particular regional team is growing. Whether you’re looking to make a profit, enrich your community, or both, as yourself these 8 questions before you move forward with building a sports facility.

    1) One Sport or Multiple? ⚽🏀⚾

    The first thing you should consider when building a sports complex is how many sports it will accommodate. For example, are you intending to build an indoor complex only with volleyball courts? Or do you have a vision for a much larger complex with multiple fields, courts, and swimming lanes?

    building a sports complex basketball court

    Deciding on this factor will inform many of your remaining decisions about:

    • Where to build the complex
    • Budgeting needs
    • Design specifications

    2) Which Turf Material Will You Use? 🌱

    If you’re building a sports facility for football, soccer, baseball, or lacrosse, you’ll need to consider if you want to use natural grass or artificial turf.

    • Artificial Turf: Turf is most common for indoor sports complexes, but it’s still an option for outdoor stadiums. There are a few materials you can choose from, with “field turf” being the most popular.
    • Natural Grass: Many athletes prefer playing on natural grass as it’s softer than turf. It’s most commonly used for outdoor complexes; however, it comes with more maintenance needs than artificial turf.

    ✅Pros of Artificial Turf

    • Field turf doesn’t require mowing
    • Irrigation systems can handle draining easily
    • Lower maintenance costs
    • Much less water usage since turf doesn’t need to be watered

    ❌Cons of Artificial Turf

    • Turf can get hot and make the playing area feel hotter
    • Some bacteria can live on turf for 90+ days
    • Not as soft as real grass, so many players don’t enjoy playing on turf

    ✅Pros of Natural Grass

    • Soft surface that’s safer for athlete’s joints
    • Most athletes grow up playing on natural grass, so it feels the most comfortable
    • Can use natural resources already in place if constructing an outdoor playing field

    ❌Cons of Natural Grass

    • Gets muddy and slick in the rain
    • Requires consistent maintenance (watering, mowing, etc.)
    • Requires an irrigation system to prevent flooding or to keep the soil from drying out

    3) Are You Fundraising or Creating a Budget? 💸

    In order to build a sports facility of any size, you’ll need money. Take time to flesh out the details of how you’ll obtain the necessary funds.

    Will you fundraise in your community? Take out a business loan? Or seek funds from investors?

    Be sure you have a crystal clear idea of the type of complex you’re going to build, any amenities included, and the contracting team you’ll partner with before you start fundraising.

    The best way to know how much the project will cost is to work directly with a general contractor, which brings us to our next point…

    4) Which Contractor Will You Work With? 👷

    It’s vital to work with an experienced commercial contractor when building an indoor sports complex. Think about it: a contractor that primarily builds houses will be quite different than a contractor who is comfortable with a large-scale construction project.

    Choosing the right contractor can make or break the success of your project, as a shoddy team can cause you to go over budget and miss deadlines.

    building a sports complex toronto

    Vet general contractors by reading online reviews, noting how well they communicate, and asking about similar projects they’ve worked on in the past. Don’t be afraid to look outside your city or state if you’re coming up short.

    5) Are You Familiar With Local Codes & Regulations? 📋

    Each municipality has different codes and regulations that you must follow when building a sports facility. Thankfully, a reputable contractor will handle obtaining the necessary permits and following regulations.

    You’ll need to present your plans to the local municipality and meet with their zoning department for approval before you can move forward.

    6) What Lighting Will You Incorporate? 💡

    Whether you’re building an outdoor or indoor sports facility, be sure to work with your architect or design-build contractor on the lighting.

    Installing effective floodlights in an outdoor complex will allow you to schedule games at night and make more money out of your investment. Indoor facilities need lighting whenever the building is in use. Consider using LED lights to reduce your energy bills in the long run.

    7) Is a Parking Lot in the Picture? 🚗

    Many people forget to consider parking lots in their project plans. It may seem fine to have guests park down the street, but the lack of a parking lot can actually be a major deterrent for spectators.

    building a sports complex columbus park

    Plan to incorporate a parking lot right next to your complex or as nearby as possible. Be sure to build one with enough parking spaces to accommodate the average number of fans anticipated at each sporting event.

    8) How Will You Accommodate Severe Weather? ⛈️

    If you’re planning to build an entirely indoor sports complex, you don’t have to worry about severe weather as much as with an outdoor complex.

    For outdoor sports, lightning is a common and dangerous weather condition. Be sure to install a lightning detection system and lightning horn when building an outdoor or open-air field.

    Consider also incorporating shade structures for outdoor and open-air stadiums. Shade structures allow players and spectators alike to stay cool during extreme heat.

    Work With APX to Bring Your Sports Complex to Life

    Arguably the most important consideration on this list is choosing a reputable commercial contractor. A skilled and experienced general contractor will be able to guide you through the necessary steps and helpful tips for building a sports facility.

    Whether you’re looking to build a stadium that seats 60,000 spectators or a new basketball court for a local school, reach out to APX Construction Group. Our general contracting and design-build services have executed hundreds of incredible commercial buildings across Minnesota and beyond. Call us today for a free consultation and see how we can help you build your dream sports complex!


    Can you make money owning a sports complex?

    Yes, it is possible to make money owning a sports complex. The total profit you can make depends on factors such as the size of the complex, its location, services offered, and the number of customers that use the facility. Another way to generate additional revenue is through sponsorships and events held at the complex.

    What does a sports complex include?

    A sports complex typically includes a range of facilities such as playing fields, courts, tracks, and pools. Some facilities offer amenities such as locker rooms, meeting rooms, food service areas, and retail spaces. Depending on the type of complex, it may also include additional features such as climbing walls and zip lines.

    What are some possible constraints of building a new sports arena?

    Some possible constraints of building a new sports arena include the cost of construction, the size of the arena, the environmental impact of the project, local zoning regulations, and neighborhood opposition to the project. Other big factors to consider are the amount of available space and access to funding.

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