Skip to Content

College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

JVEM Vol. 2, Iss. 1


Managing Sport Facilities, Second Edition

Gil Fried, Published in 2010 by Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL 61825. (355 pages).

Reviewed by Sid Kenyon, Adjunct Professor, University of South Carolina, Department of Sport and Entertainment Management Director, Carolina Coliseum

In Managing Sport Facilities, Gil Fried provides an overall view of sport facility management and an in-depth look at many of its components. Fried has authored this book with the aim of providing a text for both students in sport and facility management as well as professionals already employed in the field. It is difficult for any facility text to be all inclusive for every facility due to unique situations, characteristics, missions and markets. Fried acknowledges that every facility is unique and its management structure may differ from other facilities, but the text enables the reader to gain a basic understanding of many issues concerning sport facility management.

The book is organized into five major sections which are comprised of individual chapters. Each chapter lists objectives which provide a good guide to understand what material will be covered. The first section is titled: Introduction to Sport Facility Management. It is comprised of chapters covering the history and future of sport and public assembly facilities, an overview of facility management, and a chapter on management theory and human resources. Fried’s inclusion of a history of public assembly facilities is important in laying a foundation to understand how these facilities have evolved. This section also covers such topics as opportunities for employment in sport facilities.

The second section of the book is titled: Facility Development. This section provides insights on planning, site design and facility construction. Fried provides information not only in planning for future facilities but also in planning for the best use of existing facilities. This can include everything from the proper use of space to the proper use of financial resources, personnel and scheduling. This section also covers information regarding various categories of sport and public assembly facilities as well as providing a basic framework for understanding the process of creating a new facility. These topics include selecting a site, designing a facility, understanding site and construction costs, and construction oversight.

Many of the typical facility operational procedures and issues are discussed in the third section of the text titled: Facility Systems and Operations. Fried covers topics including heat, ventilation, air conditioning, air quality, energy systems, and plumbing. The section of the text also provides valuable information for establishing and maintaining grass playing surfaces and dealing with other issues related to outdoor venues. Fried also includes a chapter covering maintenance and repair programs which includes the importance of maintaining a clean and safe facility.

The fourth section of the book is titled: Facility Administration. This section is comprised of chapters on sales and marketing, finance and budgeting, and legal issues. As mentioned before, since each facility has its own unique set of circumstances, a basic understanding of sales and marketing for a sport or public assembly facility is necessary. This chapter mentions the importance of developing relationships as a means to attract events to the facility. This is a factor which should never be overlooked. The textbook includes information on both construction financing and operating budgets, both of which must be understood by a facility manager. Although sport and other public assembly facilities require legal representation, Fried includes information regarding basic legal issues that a facility manager should understand. These areas include basic law, contract law, tort law, property law and constitutional law. Risk management and insurance are also included in this chapter. The topics of various safety codes, labor regulations, alcohol and tobacco laws, and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act are discussed in this section as well. The fifth and final section, Event and Activity Management, provides information concerning the planning and staging of events in the facility. The text explains the various elements of crowd management and the preparations necessary to provide adequate security at an event. As in many elements of facility management, proper training for all employees is imperative in implementing an effective security strategy. Fried emphasizes how this can be done only after a proper assessment of security risks followed by the development of a crisis management plan has been completed. The final chapter of the book provides information on attracting, planning, and executing events in the facility. Fried also discusses the importance of assessing the facility’s effectiveness in all aspects of the operation after events in order to make any necessary improvements in strategy or implementation.

Fried includes several helpful features in each chapter of the text. One of these is a chapter introduction by a professional in the field who has extensive experience regarding that chapter’s topic. This allows the reader to gain perspective from an expert other than the author. Each of the chapter introductions includes a brief biography to help the reader understand unique issues facing facility managers.

The second special section in each chapter is Facility Focus. Each of these sections highlights a specific facility and provides information regarding how that facility relates to the topic being discussed in the respective chapter. Facilities featured include arenas, stadiums, field houses, gymnasiums, fitness centers, concessions areas at stadiums, and even high school football fields. Several of these featured facilities host many non-sport events, including entertainment, political, religious, or business events. The various types of venues highlighted provide a broad overview and basic understanding of issues which may be faced by a facility manager. These illustrations also provide both similarities and differences when dealing with certain issues across different categories of sport and entertainment facilities.

Another special section that Fried includes is Behind the Scenes. These sections contain information dealing with a wide range of issues which a facility manager may need to address while managing a facility. Several of the topics covered include broad issues such as whether to outsource various services needed to operate a facility, how several different facility financial deals were put together, how to solve problems effectively, and what a typical day in the life of a facility manager might involve. There are also several, more specific topics that are addressed in these Behind the Scenes features. Some of these include how to develop a cleaning schedule, how to deal with safety issues stemming from foul balls at sporting events, implementing plans to deal with soccer hooliganism, and calculating air exchange in an indoor venue. 

Fried includes a number of other features in many of the chapters including informational charts, informational tables, sample checklists and sample forms. While all of these materials may not be specific to every venue, they may provide a starting point to develop materials suitable for use in a different facility. Some of the informational tables and charts include useful data including average square foot costs for indoor floor systems, foot-candle requirements at various sport surfaces and seeding rates for grass playing fields. These features provide a basic understanding of the wide breadth of knowledge sometimes necessary to effectively manage a sport or entertainment facility.

Managing Sport Facilities provides valuable information to both students of facility management and professionals already working in the field. Fried helps students understand the wide breadth of skills and information needed to effectively manage a facility of this type by giving basic information about these various topics while also illustrating specific examples where these principles have been put into practice. The text can also prove useful to professional facility managers with many years of experience by providing new insight on topics and issues which have often been looked at in the same way for some time. Although every facility has its own unique situation and characteristics, Fried has created a useful text that is valuable for a variety of audiences.

JVEM Editorial Board:
Editor: Mark S. Nagel, University of South Carolina
Associate Editor: John M. Grady, University of South Carolina 
Consulting Editor: Peter J. Graham, University of South Carolina
JVEM Editorial Review Board:
Rob Ammon, Slippery Rock University
John Benett, Venue Management Association, Asia Pacific Limited 
Chris Bigelow, The Bigelow Companies, Inc. 
Matt Brown, University of South Carolina
Brad Gessner, San Diego Convention Center 
Peter Gruber, Wiener Stadthalle, Austria
Todd Hall, Georgia Southern University
Kim Mahoney, Industry Consultant
Michael Mahoney, California State University at Fresno
Larry Perkins, BC Center Carolina Hurricanes 
Jim Riordan, Florida Atlantic University 
Frank Roach, University of South Carolina 
Philip Rothschild, Missouri State University 
Frank Russo, Global Spectrum 
Rodney J. Smith, University of Denver 
Kenneth C. Teed, The George Washington University
Scott Wysong, University of Dallas

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.