By Reagan Nickl
Enterprise Customer Success Senior Manager

Sports facility management software can save your company time, friction and money. Sports facilities and other athletic centers face unique challenges outside the usual scope of facilities management. Not only do these considerations pose logistical challenges for managers, they also demand a higher level of foresight and adaptability when it comes to avoiding planning issues. Some form of computer-aided facilities management (CAFM) is needed.

The key is to provide the right tools for sports facilities managers to execute operations quickly and efficiently. In turn, their oversight will deliver a higher caliber of enjoyment to patrons and a better revenue stream to owners.

Identifying challenges

Unlike a traditional office space or commercial retail environment, sports facilities feature larger areas with more diverse utilization capabilities. While this invites more potential for space usage, it also compounds logistical hurdles for facilities managers. Some of the most common hurdles unique to sport facilities management, as well as core to sports facilities management software, include:

  • Diverse client base: In an office space, the nature of an occupying business may not matter since all businesses need the same fundamental amenities. At a sports complex, each occupant has specific needs. Basketball players need a basketball court—they can’t play on a soccer field. Pairing the right activity to the right space adds an extra layer of logistics for managers, which greatly reduces flexibility in repurposing unused space.
  • Space diversity: Sports facilities can contain dozens of different spaces, each more unique than the next. A tennis court varies drastically from a natatorium, which is entirely different from a weight room, and so on. For as many different types of sports as your facility offers, you’ll have to manage as many different types of spaces. This is a much more significant undertaking than simply overseeing a traditional office.
  • Facility demands: Each unique playing surface in a sports complex also demands individualized attention. Tending to the equipment within each space and ensuring each area of the complex gets the right upkeep can feel like managing a dozen different facilities, rather than a dozen different spaces inside of a single facility. Facilities managers need a way to differentiate the demands of each space, while still overseeing the complex as a whole.
  • Seasonality: Anticipating space utilization is hard because sports are largely seasonal. Depending on the time of year, your facilities may be jam-packed every day versus desolate at other points during the year. Though somewhat predictable, this ebb and flow adds complexity to a facility manager’s job above and beyond simply understanding the day-to-day occupancy trends of each space.
  • Multipurpose activities: A sports complex is so much more than just a place for sports. Sports facilities play host to a variety of other activities, from high school graduations to concerts and other events. Managing each new use of space presents another unique set of challenges, including coordinating occupancy, understanding facilities costs, and overseeing the setup and takedown of each event.

These challenges are ubiquitous among sports facilities and event centers, and facilities managers must remain cognizant of them at all times. The ability to master unique space-related challenges can significantly impact facility operations, including maximizing revenue and individual space utilization.

Leveraging CAFM technology

Diverse challenges require robust management tools. CAFM technologies offer a comprehensive system of oversight that addresses both the space-specific needs of a sports complex along with the overall management of facilities. Take a look at some of the solutions SpaceIQ’s CAFM platform brings to sports facility managers:

  • Agile space planning: For multipurpose areas of a sports complex, CAFM software enables floor plan design and situation planning for both recurring and one-off uses. Planning for a high school graduation or a charity fundraiser is made easy, despite being outside the normal use of the space. With a well-designed workplace and execution strategy in-hand, individual space management is seamless and simple.
  • Detailed reporting: Having space-specific data about each area of your facility—both siloed and in aggregate—yields important insight into overall utilization. Knowing which areas see more traffic and which are less in-demand can help you formulate a plan to optimize space planning over the long-term. It’s also the best way to see where your revenue is coming from versus where your major cost centers are.
  • Booking and scheduling: Busy seasons require comprehensive booking and reservation capabilities for maximizing each space of your sports complex. Managers can delineate times for competitive league play, recreational matches, open gym slots, private tryouts, and more—catering to specific groups of customers in turn. Best of all, through CAFM software, managers can book daily, weekly, or monthly facilities usage with built-in flexibility thanks to a top-down space management approach.
  • Member location: For high-end sports facilities—such as private clubs or university complexes—membership unlocks an enhanced picture of facilities usage. Use member data from check-ins to instantly find a member based on their activity. Not only does this give a real-time picture of occupancy, it can reveal long-term trends about your facilities such as peak hours, average number of visits per patron, and monthly revenue per visitor.
  • Sensor integration: Lighting, heating and cooling, and water usage in sports facilities dwarfs most other types of commercial properties. As a result, many sports complexes are turning to smart technologies to help them keep utilities costs in check. A CAFM platform integrates sensors and beacons to enhance cost savings—keeping lights off on a court until motion is detected or regulating the temperature of facilities after hours to mitigate HVAC costs. CAFM systems offer more than just control. They capture the data needed to inform facilities managers on the effectiveness of these initiatives.

Though the challenges of managing a sports complex are unique, they’re not impossible to anticipate and manage. They’re easily managed with the right tools and an engrained understanding of the actions required to address them.

Meeting problems with solutions

Finding an open basketball court for a Thursday night recreational league isn’t the same problem as scheduling maintenance for your natatorium. What these problems have in common, however, is the ability to be coordinated and managed effectively through CAFM software. This holds true for any of the diverse and unique challenges facing sports facility managers. Having the right tools means understanding the obstacles of managing unique spaces and addressing them directly, proactively.

Using a platform like SpaceIQ to manage your sports facilities is the simplest way to make a complex task more manageable. Instead of facing the unpredictability of these unique facilities, SpaceIQ helps managers efficiently optimize each individual space for a well-managed complex on a trajectory for success.

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