Hunden Strategic Partners Confirms State of Major League Sports Facility Industry is Strong and Expanding to Sports-Entertainment Districts

Rob Hunden Presented Third-Annual State of the Industry Findings to the ALSD Design & Build Conference

Hunden Strategic Partners

​​​Rob Hunden, president of Hunden Strategic Partners (HSP), a full-service, national real estate development advisory practice, presented the firm’s latest State of the Industry findings to attendees of the annual ALSD Design & Build Conference in Chicago.

The data shared included statistics on facility development and renovation spending, the average number of new facility builds and the average cost trends.

Some noteworthy findings include:

  • Spending on major league facilities is averaging $3 billion per year, with approximately $2 billion spent on new facilities and $1 billion on renovations annually over the last 15 years.
  •   The average number of new facilities built per year, by decade, is still lower than it was in the 1990s or early 2000s.
  •   The average cost per new facility has continued to increase, especially in coastal, urban areas like Los Angeles and San Francisco where additional seismic and regulatory realities boost the cost and time to build arenas and stadiums.
  • The NFL leads with the highest average cost per new facility at $2.8 billion, led by the $5 billion Los Angeles Stadium for the Rams and Chargers currently under construction.

During his presentation, Hunden went into a deep-dive discussion on trends. In particular, the trend that is helping major sports venues increase relevance and impact, even when games are not occurring: sports-entertainment districts.

“The sports-entertainment district has become part and parcel of all good team experiences. It helps the city induce and retain spending that occurs pre- and post-game, as well as 365 days per year,” said Hunden.

HSP found that 26 percent of all major league venues have a dedicated sports-entertainment mixed-use district, led by the MLB at 37 percent. Many other facilities have been built in existing or developing urban districts. Hunden noted that 40 percent of all facilities are located in an existing urban entertainment or major mixed-use districts. Three leagues have nearly 50 percent of their venues in existing districts: NBA, NHL and MLB. In total, two-thirds of all major league venues are located in purpose-built or existing entertainment districts, led by the MLB at 80 percent. The NFL and MLS are the laggards, with only 50 percent and 41 percent located in entertainment districts, respectively. Several teams are developing their practice facilities in major mixed-use suburban districts, including the Dallas Cowboys and Carolina Panthers.

“Team owners and cities have come to realize that their events draw the people and spending that support these districts. The synergy between the facility and district bring economic vitality to both and, in many cases, provide the new taxes necessary to support facility funding,” added Hunden.

Mr. Hunden wrapped his session with a recap of last year’s “Cities on the Verge” analysis, where HSP suggested which cities could support new major league teams. In the past year, several of HSP’s predictions became reality and others saw major movement. Seattle received its NHL team, while Nashville and Austin were awarded MLS teams. Louisville rebooted its NBA effort while Montreal, Portland and others began to get serious about the MLB. Montreal may even share an MLB team with Tampa, playing the spring in Florida and summer in Montreal. San Antonio has also issued an RFP for a study about whether it can host another major league franchise.

There is never a dull moment in major league sports. HSP currently tracks data on all five major leagues (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS) and their facilities. The real estate development advisory practice continues to expand its database to include additional leagues, sports and dimensions of the experience.

Hunden plans to present the 2020 State of the Industry at ALSD Design & Build Conference next year in Dallas. Rob Hunden’s full presentation, “State of the Industry 2019: Where We’ve Been, Where We Are, Where We’re Going,” is available for download at

About Hunden Strategic Partners 

Hunden Strategic Partners is a leading real estate and destination development consulting firm, with professionals in Chicago, San Diego, Indianapolis and Minneapolis. The firm offers a full range of development planning, market and financial feasibility, and economic and impact analyses for specialty destination assets such as sports facilities, mixed-use and entertainment districts, convention and expo centers, hotels, entertainment venues, theme parks, recreation facilities and other economic development projects.

In addition, HSP also provides the developer solicitation and selection experience to move projects from concept to funding. HSP’s clients include cities, states, universities, DMOs, authorities and private developers. Mr. Hunden has worked on more than 600 studies and $4 billion in open and successful projects in North America.

For more information, please visit

Media Contact: 
Laura Sportiello, 312-643-2500

Source: Hunden Strategic Partners


Categories: Real Estate Investments, Travel, Transportation, and Hospitality News, Public Sector

Tags: ALSD Design & Build Conference, facility development, Hunden Strategic Partners, Major league facilities, Real Estate Advisory, Real Estate Development, Rob Hunden, Sports-Entertainment Districts

About Winger Marketing

View Website

Winger Marketing is a full-service marketing and public relations firm serving businesses across the country and around the globe.

Karolyn Raphael
Press Contact, Winger Marketing
Winger Marketing
180 W Washington Street (Suite 700)
Chicago, IL 60602
United States