Study finds more indoor sports facilities needed in Loudoun
The presentation allowed developers and county officials to discuss efforts in the area of sports marketing for Loudoun County and the creation and coordination of the year-old Visit Loudoun Sports and Event Commission.
Also presented was the results of a recent sports impact study, in addition to a complete analysis on further development of indoor and outdoor facilities.
Visit Loudoun has been busy collecting and researching data on both current and potential opportunities Loudoun has to offer in the sports market.
According to Visit Loudoun President and CEO Patrick Kaler, Loudoun County possesses potential in the sports market especially with the Loudoun Hounds and Virginia Calvary FC set to begin play at their stadium at One Loudoun.
Additionally, Loudoun County has been home or soon will be the home to numerous championship tournaments and other related events including baseball's Babe Ruth World Series, the American Collegiate Hockey Association Men's and Women's Hockey Championships, PGA's Senior Golf Championships and more.
Kaler outlined during his presentation both the strengths and weaknesses Loudoun County possesses.
Loudoun's location, accessibility, facilities diversity, proximity of fields and more are some examples of the county's strengths in regard to sports marketing.
One of the most glaring weaknesses discussed during the event was the need for more indoor sports facilities.
Renowned sports economist Dr. Patrick Rishe, a professor of economics at Webster University in St. Louis and founder/director of Sportsimpacts also presented his findings at the event.
Rishe and Sportsimpacts have conducted economic impact studies for two Super Bowls, three Final Fours, one Ryder Cup and one MLB All-Star Game.
Rishe expressed a need for Loudoun to invest in a multi-use indoor sports facility in the future.
“There is a lack of a quality multi-purpose indoor sports facility that would attract non-local tournament organizers to the region,” Rishe said in his presentation. “This is especially relative to the number of facilities within a three to four hour proximity of Loudoun County. The county is currently at a competitive disadvantage in regards to the region's other indoor facilities.”
The findings sparked discussion during the question and answer period in which attendees expressed an interest in looking more into a possible indoor facility.
Kaler hopes now that the discussion has started, a positive economic impact on the county will be the result.
“Well, with the discussion already begun, we would like to move forward and try and guide a positive economic impact on this county through sports marketing,” Kaler said. “Participants in the event expressed an interest in starting up a steering committee of developers to begin looking into a possible facility for sporting event use and other purposes. As it stands now, the county doesn't have a multi-use facility and that is why you see high schools going out of the county for their graduation ceremonies.”
While Visit Loudoun is hoping to help lead the effort to move forward, Kaler was quick to reiterate that Visit Loudoun wouldn't have a role in developing a potential facility.
“We are not in the bricks and mortar business, so building something is not on our agenda,” Kaler said. “We are looking to providing data, research and information to developers so they can move forward in an effort to build more sports facilities to fulfill a major sports marketing need for the county.”