Using data analytics to drive the construction of smarter sports facilities –

The uncertainty of the current post-pandemic environment makes data-driven decisions more important than ever. Intuition and anecdotal evidence alone will not suffice; franchise and location owners must leverage multi-faceted industry data to ensure long-term project success. Advice in the form of a solid estimate, objective problem solving, and ROI-focused insights will contribute to solid capital investments.

Analytics is not a new concept in the sports industry. Teams have been using data to make strategic decisions about business, player personnel, and gameplay for years. Similarly, experienced construction companies rely heavily on historical costs, schedules, and materials databases to estimate project budgets and timelines. However, these data only offer fragmentary insights throughout the process of building nuanced sports facilities. It is in understanding the successes, failures, opportunities and shortcomings of peer facilities from a design and construction perspective that is compelling – and can be the differentiator that sets a facility apart from the competition.


Facilities are comprised of a diverse mix of seating products, experiences, ticketing options, operational needs and revenue-generating spaces – each unique based on its own stakeholder objectives, market and its budget. The vast collection of construction elements – all of which influence the final product and site performance – bear their own costs of implementing the project. To best optimize the program of an installation, comprehensive data must be taken into account.

For example, different markets have different needs for premium space. Some have more demand for mass general admission and family areas, requiring a larger commissioner for food storage and concession services. Others may have a higher demand for common areas with bar rails, resulting in larger lobbies and plazas with unobstructed views of the playing field. The choice of how much to invest in each of these areas will have a range of financial implications – both short and long term. By leveraging market data and construction insights, stakeholders can make sound business decisions that positively impact ROI.


Mortenson, one of the leading sports facility construction companies in the United States, doubled its data. Its ever-expanding database infrastructure lists the key variables essential to the development of sports facilities. Inputs represent material, labor and equipment costs aggregated from business partner relationships and contract labor spanning 30 years of sports construction. Data extends to design and program details from historical document libraries and partnerships with sports architecture firms. Extensive sports activity and market data increase the intelligence of the built environment. Hosted records of attendance, admission receipts, sponsorship value, concession prices, team performance, ticketing products, and more, contribute to the facility’s return on investment and pro forma refinement. Other data encompassing socio-economic characteristics, consumer behavior, financing, and even weather provide valuable information for benchmarking and project planning.

Access to a robust collection of site-specific data provides a powerful advantage to forward-thinking customers. Capital expenditures can be validated alongside key business implications, and dynamic and timely decision-making throughout the development planning process can add value to facility teams and stakeholders.


The sports venue landscape has seen immense growth and innovation. The construction variances between leagues, markets, venue types, regions and project budgets are unmistakable. Hot on the heels of the grand opening of Nashville Soccer Club’s GEODIS Park, it’s time to highlight the rapid evolution of MLS football-specific venues over the past 10 years.

MLS is the fastest growing major sporting property, highlighted by the changing landscape of its stadiums of play

There is a 280,000 SF2 size range between the largest and smallest MLS stadiums built in the last decade. Considering that each was built to feature an synonymous core entertainment product (professional football) demonstrates the explosive growth of the league.

Moreover, the decisions made in these 280,000 SF2 have real commercial and financial implications. There are different ways to produce a facility that showcases an MLS product, and by leveraging facility intelligence that analyzes how square footage is used in combination with a robust cost estimate, stakeholders can take smart decisions for the league, the community and the company.

GEODIS Park – the largest dedicated football stadium in Major League Soccer history – despite the pandemic, finished under budget and seven weeks ahead of schedule. The GEODIS park is large, not because of a superfluous structure or building program, but rather because of the number of seats it contains. In fact, GEODIS Park is efficient in allocating the surface area of ​​the building to the number of places programmed. Additionally, the volume and stratification of high-end offerings in suites, boxes and club seats are at the top of league benchmarks.

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GSF/Seat captures the amount of building space put in place to accommodate spectators and operational needs

The league’s healthy adoption, attendance growth, market strength and venue trend data allowed the team to analyze the cost/return trade-off of having the largest seating capacity of Major League Soccer. Additionally, the early recognition of cost savings and efficiencies for GEODIS Park, identified in the costliest construction work scopes, allowed the team to be more opportunistic in its scope/budget planning. – and meet the expectations of a myriad of stakeholders. A specific example was the identification of canopy design and size as a significant overhead. By evaluating alternative canopy designs that reduced size without sacrificing fan experience and comfort, a significant amount of money was saved in the budget.

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Mortenson-built sites apply early plant analysis with construction cost inputs to maximize construction results.

When investing in a new facility, franchise owners face a host of considerations. From square footage and seating products to ticketing strategy and revenue-generating spaces, each venue solution is unique to its market, tenants and stakeholders. These solutions must align with a clear management plan covering cost estimation, planning, scheduling, procurement and monitoring of trading partners, system integration and building execution for efficiency. maximum.

As capital spending on sports facilities accelerates and expectations rise, data will become increasingly necessary to make better, more informed decisions about stadium investments. Mortenson’s continued progress and application of a data-centric approach has cultivated a new perspective in sports construction management that will impact sports venues for years to come. Learn more about using data analytics in sports facility construction here.

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