4 Important Tips to Effectively Run Your Ballfield Facility

How to get the most out of your ballfields.

With this forced downtime, this is a perfect time to assess how your operations are working. After years of working with a local little league in Madison, Wisconsin, Beacon’s Paul Zwaska offers some important tips that can help you effectively run your facility.

1. Be a leader! Every organization needs a visionary who can dream up and plan the future of a facility. However, to be successful, you will need someone who can lead and help the organization stay the course on its planned initiatives.  Someone who can keep an eye on the prize!

2. Organize the organization. It should be run like a business, especially since you have revenue coming in and expenses going out. The organization should have a budget that is closely monitored and controlled in order to help with planning. Without a budget, it becomes much harder to plan for facility improvements and upgrades.


3. Plan for the long-term, not just the here and now. Long-range planning is critical, especially when tackling projects that have high costs. Sometimes, these projects need to be done in phases over a few years to help spread out the cost. The long-range plan should be a living five year plan that is updated annually.

4. Maintain a healthy revenue stream. If you own and maintain the facility where you play your games, be sure to charge enough to cover the costs of operations and future upgrades. You should consider these revenue streams:

  • Player Registration – Total registration revenue should cover at least 50% of the cost increase of overall operations of the league and facility. The higher the better. Don’t be afraid to increase fees annually.
  • Concessions – You should shoot for a minimum profit margin of 40 – 50% on most items.  A good concessions manager is always experimenting with new menu items. Ditch the poor performers and seek out the popular top sellers.
  • Sponsorships – Team sponsors, outfield sign sponsors, and other special sponsorships. It takes the right people to approach businesses to ask for sponsorship money. You will find that the smaller the community, the bigger the support from local businesses.  In smaller communities, the youth sporting events are often the main entertainment.
  • Hosting Tournaments – Use your facility to host tournaments a couple times a year, this will help accelerate your revenue stream Proper planning will ensure that they won’t interfere with regular league action.
  • Grants – There are many foundations and organizations that have money to give to worthy causes. Do your research and apply for as many grants as possible. Most of these organizations want to know how their money will be used. Be prepared to share your budget and be specific about what you need. The application process can be tedious, but the rewards can be very fruitful. Sometimes it helps to hire a grant writer as they are better prepared to navigate the confusing and laborious application process.

Remember: Your facility is like a second home for families

Parents want a great place to send their kids to play. Parents and participants won’t complain about increasing costs as long as they see the money going towards facility improvements. They will be willing to pay a little more.

And, keep this in mind… the more visible the improvements, the easier it is to ask for more fees.

Paul Zwaska

A former head groundskeeper for the Baltimore Orioles, Paul has been with Beacon for more than two decades. Among his many accomplishments he authored Groundskeeper University, the first online ballfield maintenance training venue. Paul continues to seek innovative ways to help groundskeepers.

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