I’m a venue manager by trade. For nearly 15 years, I managed sports facilities. Most of my career was in mid- major collegiate athletics. But I’ve also worked in municipal and private venues. This is where I learned the trade.
At some point, in my venue management career, I became an expert. I know this because I had opportunities to teach college courses and sit on industry panels. Sports organizations also started to hire me to manage their events. These freelance opportunities grew into a business… Stylehawk Event Services.
Stylehawk Event Services offers premium event coordination services for sports events and organizations. As the Stylehawk service offerings grew, we added a venue directory to the website. Venue sourcing was a base service we began to offer.
I’m active in the venue management industry. I’ve built a deep network and geek out on discovering new sports facilities. Building the venue directory felt like a hobby rather than a task. But even still, venue sourcing proved to be a frustrating business model. This is because:
Sports organizations struggled to see the service value. And so, I was a middle man.
Many of the public venues I worked with had little motivation to work with outside groups. They were good people, but not willing partners.
And then I started working with privately- owned sports complexes.
Sports Complexes Are Great Partners
I had venue sourcing clients in need large, flexible spaces. So, I began reaching out to sports complex operators. I was amazed. I found these sportsplex to be very useful spaces. I also found their operators to be incredibly accommodating. They were small business owners who understood their time was a perishable resource. They were willing to take risks and explore entrepreneurial opportunities. In short, they were great partners.
Beyond that, my venue management was helpful to these sports complexes. My expertise gave them the resources to say “yes” to more events.
Lastly, we found that these sports complexes needed marketing help.
Sportspaces.io is born
The first sportspaces.io concept was simple. The idea was to separate the venue directory from the event services. The directory is a DIY tool. The event management work is a premium service. As a result, the first sportspaces.io was a massive directory. It included everything. University sports facilities, high school gyms, JC stadiums. Hotel ballrooms, convention centers, municipal recreation centers and sportsplex. This was too muddy.
So, we removed hundreds of listings. We decided to keep only the privately- owned sports complexes. But we didn’t stop there. We cut more. We only wanted to feature great privately- owned sports complexes. The ones that are the best partners for our sports organization clients. Those that are professional, motivated and flexible.