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Sports facilities compete for cash

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A new athletics facility and hotel planned for Greenwood is a new concept nationwide but won’t be the only option for traveling teams or tournaments.

The summer months are when families of school-aged students travel each weekend to basketball and volleyball tournaments, spending money on hotels and meals at restaurants. GoodSports Enterprises Global of Sarasota, Florida, hopes to draw some of those families to Greenwood with a planned $22 million hotel and field house with indoor basketball and volleyball courts at the southeast corner of County Line Road and Interstate 65.

The company expects to break ground this fall, with the facility opening next year.

GoodSports will not face competition from a similar business because no other developer is looking to create a hotel and field house facility on a national or regional level, said Don Schumacher, executive president of the National Association of Sports Commissions, the only national trade association for sports tourism.

But that doesn’t mean GoodSports won’t have competition locally from other facilities, with at least three major competitors in central Indiana — Indy South Sports Academy in Southport, Indy Indoor Sports Park in Indianapolis and Best Choice Fieldhouse in Fishers.

The Best Choice Fieldhouse has six courts — the same number of basketball courts the GoodSports facility will be able to house. Indy South Sports Academy and Indy Indoor Sports Park each have four courts.

But even with those sites, there may be enough tournaments for all of the businesses, Schumacher said.

About 53,000 athletes nationwide participate on travel teams. While the percentage of students playing a sport has decreased slightly, youth who play sports are participating with travel teams more frequently, Schumacher said.

With more travel teams comes more tournaments both for elite teams that travel nationwide and local teams that rarely travel outside the region.

More athletes participating in travel sports should allow all of the central Indiana facilities to prosper, Indy South Sports Academy marketing director Craig Eubanks said.

For example, Indy South hosts tournaments on the weekends that mostly draw teams from the state, but it will also host a national Nike-sponsored event later this summer, Eubanks said.

Best Choice Fieldhouse has hosted portions of the Adidas Invitational in the past. That tournament needed to use five locations for all of the teams that participated in the various age divisions.

No other central Indiana facility has a hotel attached but can compete with a business like GoodSports by partnering with area hotels to offer discounts to teams competing in events at the facility, Schumacher said.

“Any sports facility, and it doesn’t matter where it is — indoor or outdoor — they’re going to want good relationships with the hotels because obviously the two run hand and glove,” Schumacher said.

For example, teams that compete in events at Indy South Sports Academy can get a discount at a nearby hotel, Eubanks said.

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