The most successful educational institutions are continuously investing in new ways to attract and retain the next generation of students. College athletics promote school spirit and unity, which allows students to take pride in and feel connected to the higher educational endeavor. They also give historically underrepresented people a way to get an education at a reasonable price. Therefore, we must protect, preserve, and enhance the resources that ensure these opportunities.
College athletic facilities have received a greater focus of attention from administration and communities in recent years. Updates to these facilities show investment in the campus, community, and student population. It demonstrates the importance of the student-athlete experience and can target prospective students who may not otherwise have an interest in the college. In recent years, schools have made huge investments in improving their athletic facilities, many of which haven’t aged gracefully or weren’t designed to adequately accommodate modern-day conveniences.
The Competitive Advantage
In today’s competitive landscape, educational institutions are constantly looking for ways to attract and retain both students and staff. Investing in quality athletics facilities can improve your recruitment success rate by attracting top-level athletes, ultimately leading to stronger team performances. The resources these facilities offer are important considerations for many prospective student-athletes when deciding where to attend college. The result is not only a boost in morale among the athletics program but also an increase in the overall success and prestige of the college itself. The availability of these facilities will help student-athletes perform well on the field and allow them to achieve their full athletic potential while maintaining their academic pursuits.
The advantages of adding, improving, or enlarging school facilities go beyond athletics, too. Major sporting events can bring money for the school and the community, including attracting youth travel events. Indoor facilities provide year-round play, extending the playable season.
The Financial Benefits
Investing in campus sporting facilities can achieve long-term financial gains for institutions. Though it may require a substantial initial investment, improvements such as state-of-the-art gyms and indoor/outdoor sports fields can attract more students, especially those who value athletics. Colleges may generate more revenue and develop a more varied student body with a range of interests by boosting enrollment. Furthermore, bolstering athletics programs can improve a school’s reputation and make it a more attractive option for prospective students and donors. As universities look to compete with one another for recognition and funding, investing in athletics is becoming an increasingly important tactic for both financial and reputational gains.
Additionally, upgrading sports venues often increases attendance at games and other events. Due to enhanced sound systems, better lighting, and more comfortable seating options (among other characteristics), showcasing restored spaces can attract a larger audience. Increased attendance typically results in more ticket sales or merchandise sales for universities. This revenue generation helps to enhance university finances.
There are grant and funding programs offered by the public and private sector for sports facility projects that you should be aware of. There are a few specific grants that colleges in the state of Ohio are eligible for including the NFL Foundation Grassroots Grant Program, for which funds can be allocated for artificial turf field surfacing, and the Molyneaux Foundation, which offers grant money for community recreational facilities development. Deadlines may vary. More information can be found here: https://sportsvenuecalculator.com/knowledge/sports-facility-grants-funding/
The MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation is another organization offering specific athletic funding. The YDF is a joint initiative by Major League Baseball and the Players Association to support efforts that focus on improving the caliber, effectiveness, and availability of amateur baseball and softball programs across the United States. The Youth Development Foundation supports capital projects such as field lighting, renovations, and construction. This organization only supports public schools. More information can be found here: https://www.mlb.com/youth-development-foundation/apply
Teaming with local grant writers can help uncover a broader pool of funding options. Most architectural and engineering firms offer these resources and can help make connections along with assisting with the planning process for preliminary site and conceptual design. Firms that do not specifically specialize in athletic facilities often have partners with expertise in this arena. Connect with the right team to help kickstart your next project.