ISSUE: Why Are We Building Another Sports Facility? And Why Has the Cost Increased?

​​​SportsCenter.PNGFACT: The recently approved Sports Center is being built to attract more of the sports tourism industry in Virginia Beach. The cost increased from $40 million to $68.1 million to account for additional parking and a larg​er facility than initially contemplated. 

There are facilities in the Princess Anne area such as the City-owned Virginia Beach Sportsplex and the City-owned and operated Princess Anne Athletic Complex. Both are built for outdoor activities such as football, soccer, lacrosse and field hockey. 

The privately-owned Virginia Beach Field House is an indoor facility that hosts small tournaments and private events, however it's popular to the point that booking space is difficult, if not impossible. And while the facility is well-built, it's not big enough to host larger events. 

The Sports Center is part of the City of Virginia Beach's effort to capitalize on the $11 billion sports tourism industry (National Association of Sports Commissions). Since most tournaments take place outside of peak tourist season, this will also help achieve the long-standing City Council goal of being a year-round destination. Our Convention Center already hosts a number of these events -- everything from wrestling and basketball tournaments to cheerleading and Taekwondo. However, that facility was built to host trade shows, conventions and corporate events, not sporting events. And it doesn't have the capacity to host larger tournaments or track and field competitions. 

The new sports center is double the size of the facility originally contemplated, which accounts for most of the cost increase. It features 285,000 square feet that includes 12 basketball courts, convertible to 24 volleyball courts, an indoor articulated track, meeting rooms and seating for up to 5,000 spectators. It is being designed to NCAA standards to attract indoor Division 1 and 2 track and field tournaments hosted elsewhere. 

The facility will cost $57.8 million. Parking and site preparation will cost $10.3 million, bringing the total cost to $68.1 million. The project is being paid for with revenues from the Tourism Investment Program (TIP) fund, and not out of the General Fund. The TIP fund is primarily funded by tourism-related revenues such as hotel taxes and portions of other taxes, like the meals tax, that we can attribute to visitor spending. 

City Council voted on July 11 to begin construction on the facility, which is expected to be completed in November 2020. To learn more about the Sports Center, review public documents and proposed renderings, please visit www.vbgov.com/sportscenter.​​​​​​

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