Where's the Money?


The increasingly sedentary lifestyles of children, and participation declines in many youth sports, are in part due to a structural reality: lack of access to safe, affordable, nearby recreation facilities. State, county and municipal leaders must find ways to avoid closure of more parks, recreation centers, and sports complexes.

Challenging outdated finance and management models is essential. Funding is a key factor in the development of new parks and recreation centers and the maintenance of existing recreation assets. Communities that have been successful in addressing financing issues have developed innovative approaches that often involve private-sector budgeting models, public-private partnerships, and economic impact analyses which justify new or continued investment in sport and recreation centers.

This roundtable of 25+ leaders built on a September 2014 roundtable that identified opportunities to grow access to recreation spaces, by focusing on facility financing solutions. Participants included Barbara Tulipane, president and CEO of the National Recreation and Park Association and Michael Kelly, general superintendent and CEO of the Chicago Park District, along with some of the brightest minds in sports finance. Sponsored by the Sports Facilities Advisory, the event will inform the creation of a resource that can be used by key decision-makers to fund more recreation spaces.


Event program with agenda, list of participants

Research on innovation in financing of sport and recreation spaces -- by Texas A&M University via Project Play (26-page PDF)

"Bringing Innovation into Play," Huffington Post blog by roundtable participant Jon Brilliant, on promise of Social Impact Funds

From the archive: "Fields of Dreams: Innovate and They Will Come" -- event summary report from 2014 roundtable 

Video Interviews with Participants


About the Sports Facilities Advisory

The Sports Facilities Advisory and Sports Facilities Management (SFA|SFM) is the leading resource in sport, recreation, and active facility planning and management. Since its founding in 2003, SFA|SFM have served a portfolio totaling more than $4 billion in planned and operational sports centers in communities throughout the USA and internationally. In recent years, SFA|SFM have opened more than two million square feet of indoor sport and recreation centers and more than 800 acres of outdoor complexes. The firm is currently working on more than $500 million in projects that are in the planning or financing stage. In 2015, the companies’ clients will host more than 18 million visits.