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Turf FieldThere appears to be a developing trend in Upstate New York – mega indoor sports complexes.

In Victor, a developer proposed a 96-acre development off Route 96 called Pinnacle Athletic Campus. The Democrat and Chronicle reports it would be an 83,000 square foot facility with fields for soccer, softball and other sports.

In Walworth, a development group made up of parents has proposed a 147-acre complex on Route 441. YNN reports the Youth Sports Depot would have, “indoor soccer and lacrosse fields, basketball courts, martial arts academy, restaurant, and pre-school.” The developers drew a comparison with Total Sports Experience in Gates.

In Skaneateles, an orthopedic surgeon has proposed a 100-acre athletic complex that would also have medical facilities. The Post-Standard reports Victory Campus would have “four multi-use artificial turf fields the size of football fields, two multi-use natural grass fields (also the size of football fields) and six baseball- and softball-only fields.”

Is there are market for these giant facilities? In Upstate New York, winter prevents many sports from being played year round. We’ve managed to get by for centuries without playing soccer in winter. Are times changing?

Perhaps there’s something else going on here. Parents may prefer the more controlled atmosphere of indoor sports, along with amenities such as food and locker rooms.

Pinnacle Indoor Sports Consulting, based in Arizona, asks developers to consider 100 questions about their projects. The questions cover construction costs, market demand, operational costs, corporate sponsorships and marketing.

We’ve already seen one indoor sports facility in the Rochester area face financial struggles – the former ESL Sports Centre.

It’s important developers demonstrate they can maintain these facilities as we pave over green space to create indoor parks.

Links of the Day:

– A lot of dirt is being moved around the Montezuma Wildlife Refuge.

– We’ve had another mild winter. But is it a trend?

– New York state shows mural once considered offensive.

– New York has the highest teen abortion rate in the country.

– Dinosaur Bar-B-Que will soon be open in Brooklyn and Buffalo. The Brooklyn location will have ceiling art made of antique whiskey bottles.

20 Responses to Sports Sprawl

  1. February 27, 2013 at 10:54 am Phil Hurwitz responds:

    You wrote: ” Parents may prefer the more controlled atmosphere of indoor sports, along with amenities such as food and locker rooms.”

    I think you nailed it. Parents feel the need to become involved in their children’s play time. I’m sure its well intentioned, and may reflect the times we live in, but I can recall a time when I just went out to play, being sure to come back home in time for dinner.

  2. Don’t construe this as an endorsement, but the parents are reacting what they’ve been told. If he/she doesn’t play eight days a week for 13 months a year, little Billy Bob will never grow up to be the next John Grant in lacrosse and Missy Sue will never become the next Abby Wambach in soccer.

    Dreams of scholarship money dance in the heads of these otherwise reasonable adults. In fact, the number of scholarships actually available can be counted on the one hand of a bad woodshop teacher. Most other college money is straight financial aid available to students based on need.

  3. any body posting so far or Rachael actually have kids in sports?
    These centers are being done by private developers why? Get this… so they can make money. Again why?’ because there is a demand.

    In this town virtually every winter weekend there is youth sports tournament for indoor soccer, v-ball, hockey, swimming, basketball. They are all over the place and not enough places to play. In the summer there are baseball and soccer tournments all over upstate.

    ESL didn’t fail because no one used it. It failed from bad management and not filling it enough.

    Kids don’t make HS teams because they tried a sport in the 7th grade and worked their way up. Most play all year long and start between 8 and 10yrs old. Most Varsity Scoccer Basketball, swimming coaches don’t know whats coming up and don’t make their players. In the burbs they’re parents got them there long before they walked on the field

  4. Parents’ intense involvement in their children’s leisure-time activities, especially sports, is an extreme expression of vicarious participation – living through the success (or failure) of another.

    If you have ever coached youth sports, you get to see this up-front and close. I have had manic dads call-out instructions before every wind-up to his 12 yr. old kid pitching on my team. By the 3rd inning the kid would be a rag doll, totally void of energy or concern for the game.

    I’ve had mom’s on lawn chairs gradually creep forward toward the field so that by the 3rd inning they were on the chalk line at the 3rd base coaching box giving their kids signals at bat.

    And, best of all, is listening to parents trading stories about their kids doing rehab at a sports medicine clinic like they were trading recipes.

    I miss KPAA softball, softball teams organized by kids with self-elected team captains, self-transportation by bike to games at Kodak Park diamonds held during the working day free of parental oversight.

    It was an era when parents weren’t paranoid about the safety of their children or supervision by others like the Kodak KPAA staff in their absence.

  5. “In fact, the number of scholarships actually available can be counted on the one hand of a bad woodshop teacher.

    And actually your about as wrong as you could be on the sports scholarships.
    I would guess on the sports I know on a annual basis this area Kids get the following guess on the number of scholarships.

    Volleyball boys & girls 15 to 20 scholarships
    Swimming depending on the year 20 to 40
    Lacrosse 20
    Hockey 10 maybe more
    Skiing 5
    Track 5 to 10

    As usual the local media doesn’t cover these “other athletes” so few know. This area is a hot bed for Lacrosse, V ball swimming, hockey, Soccer and there are many area girls in those sports getting scholarships thanks or because of title IV

    • Some of the greatest athletes got their start in unsupervised sand lot ball. Organized play from 6 yrs. old up can burn-out a kid and turn him against the game and adult authority.

  6. Sadly there is a market for these, not so kids can have fun but because if they don’t play and practice year round they can’t compete. It’s a same children’s sports have become so competetive. These poor kids have harder scheduales than he pros.

  7. February 27, 2013 at 2:16 pm Edward Richards responds:

    Any football fields?

  8. My thoughts…these are FAMILY activities. This is a good thing. I hope they get completed. Your tone in the blog seems to indicate that you don’t approve. I wonder why? These are private ventures. There is no tax money going to pay for these. There will probably be families enjoying themselves and spending time together. Children will grow up knowing what it is like to compete, to win, to lose, to celebrate good and bad. It is a perfect learning experience and will prepare these children for a successful life in the real world. What is the concern?

  9. February 27, 2013 at 3:36 pm John Moriello responds:

    oreilly: There are approximately 18,000 U.S. high schools that play girls basketball, probably averaging about seven seniors per team, Those approximately 144,000 grads each year are competing for an average of fewer than 1,400 scholarships per year — barely 1 percent.

    The numbers are slightly better in some other sports, but not much.

    And take scholarship numbers with a grain of salt. Football and basketball are full rides. In sports like softball and lacrosse, you often have as many as 8 kids splitting a scholarship.

    • February 28, 2013 at 8:27 am Benny C. responds:

      Mandatory watch for parents and kids seeking the brass ring in college sports, especially basketball:

      Hoop Dreams – 1994 (free on YouTube) – brutally honest 4+ year documentary of 2 guys from HS in Chicago to post HS play:

  10. February 27, 2013 at 3:41 pm John Moriello responds:

    As for the alleged Division I scholarships you think we’re hauling down, so many of them are at schools that are Div. I in name only — the school has to field a minimum number of sports in order to play Div. I basketball.

    There are at least 100 Div. I women’s lacrosse programs that have no hope of qualifying for the NCAA tournament in the next five years. They’re splitting their 10 or 12 scholarships among as many as 45 players.

  11. John, you of course picked the worst sport for numbers and scholarship basketball. It is the hardest to make and start.

    But I noticed you didn’t argue with my other numbers. Your comment of “In fact, the number of scholarships actually available can be counted on the one hand of a bad woodshop teacher” is totally not true.

    So do some sports at some schools split the scholarships sure… SO WHAT? You want the money off the tuition or not? Did they earn it ..YES.

    Your comment is that they are pursuing a dream they can never reach. NOT true. Many reach it. I would guess over 100 in total or more in ROCH.

    And what is wrong with a kid working hard going after something and not making it? The real lesson is in the dedication. Most that don’t make it are good enough to play at D3 schools if they want. And that is BAD?

    Most athletes do better academically than their peers and most have better GPAs while they are in their season.

  12. The planned Pinnacle development in Victor may be desirable for any number of reasons, but all of the arguments above fail to recognize a growing problem in Victor; the town’s seemingly unquenchable desire to become the next Henrietta. Drive through Victor and take note of the unoccupied businesses, new office parks with few or no occupants, and now a mega sports complex complete with restaurants, medical services, and hotels. Has anyone driven through Victor lately? How is the only route through the area (96) supposed to handle the increased traffic? Traffic drags to a halt during rush hour and now they want to pump a few hundred more cars through the area all day long. Great planning Victor.

  13. JM, I drive or ride through Victor every day, and know what you are talking about. The development of the area continues, unabated. The sensible way to relieve congestion through Victor would be to suspend the Thruway toll between the Victor exit, and maybe Canandaigua and Henrietta. This has been brought up a few times, but has always been shot down – usually by people in Victor. Maybe they’ll finally get fed up enough that things will change. 96 was never made for these traffic levels. And they’ll get worse if Fishers is the new center for development in the town.

  14. February 28, 2013 at 7:42 am John Moriello responds:

    Oreilly: 10 or 15 percent of a scholarship at a school like Syracuse where you’re looking at $50,000 a year in tuition plus room/board doesn’t go very far.

    I’ve been in the business for more than 30 years. Rochester is not exceptionally good at producing scholarship athletes.

    I pulled basketball numbers, but the data is not substantially better in other sports.

    Those 20 to 40 swimmers you cite? Add them up and they amount to maybe 5 to 10 full scholarships.

    I go back to my original point: With few exceptions, Mommy and daddy are chasing unreasonable dreams.

    • February 28, 2013 at 8:17 am Benny C. responds:

      How about Division 3 sports scholarships based on “financial need” and for tuition only complete with rigorous off-season workout programs and off-season practice games, much like Division 1 regimens?

  15. These are getting built for a couple reasons. Obviously they are FOR PROFIT so that’s number 1. Number 2 is the growth of club sports and believe it or not the lack of adequate facilities for tournaments and games. Yes alot of schools have beautiful fields and gyms but they were not built for youth tournaments, they were built with the school coming first and rightfully so. Therefore not every school has enough gym or field space to accomadate these programs and while some parks have beautiful fields, others do not. A chance to play on state of the art fields, year round is extremely enticing to both parents and kids and yes there is money to be made.

  16. John I too have been in business for 30 yrs, whats that got to do with anything?

    I still don’t understand what your logic is that opposes getting some money off the tuition at SU or any where. Its a waste because they aren’t winning full scholarships? Uh?

    SO they don’t get a FULL scholarship and the problem is? Again your putting down these efforts vs admiring the achievement.

    This areas not good at producing athletes? Really?

    Size of our city and two NHL captains, the best by far woman’s soccer player in the world over the last 8yrs, a gold medalist pole vaulter, Second best male swimmer in the world and the best male swimmer two years ago, a 3yr starter on the 2 time NCAA Championship Womens volleyball team, 3 time Olympic women swim team member. A full ride to UCLA for a mens V Ball, a full ride to UCLA for HS golfer who also made the JR Ryder cup team? This area doesn’t produce athletes? Come again? For our size?

    My guess is you don’t know about these local athletes. Try learning about some other sports besides football and B ball. Area athletes in those “other sports” are doing far better than the sports that get the media coverage.

    You want to to back to your original post? DO it …. YOU said ” I go back to my original point: With few exceptions, Mommy and daddy are chasing unreasonable dreams. ..

    Nope sorry buddy what you said was —“in fact, the number of scholarships actually available can be counted on the one hand of a bad woodshop teacher”…

    That is categorically and totally FALSE and if you knew what you were talking about you’d never have said that.

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