Sports, Cities, and Accessibility—How Diversifying Practice Spaces Can Help Professional Teams
Domes have the potential to bring communities together and create valuable connections. Sport domes in particular are an excellent way to bring high-profile athletes closer to those who support them: the fans.
Most professional sports teams have some sort of community outreach program—from youth training camps to fundraisers and charity drives, community outreach is an important part of professional teams representing and “giving back” to the cities that support them.
However, in major metro areas such as Chicago, Toronto, and New York, neighbourhoods spread out across large distances. How can teams reach the biggest possible community audience?
Some teams, like the Chicago Fire Soccer Club, have found a strong middle ground by diversifying their practice spots to turfs outside of their home stadiums. As the Chicago Fire is based out of the suburb of Bridgeview, it can be difficult for the team to reach their entire audience within a metro area of over 10 million people. Air-supported structures, such as the in-progress PrivateBank Fire Pitch practice field located in Chicago’s northern suburbs, can provide strong footings for teams to reach areas of large cities that may be otherwise difficult to access for fans.
Year-round Events and Practice
In cities like Chicago, sports serve an important social role for young people. It is important for youth to be engaged with something positive and rewarding. Opening up a facility like this, one that links different neighbourhoods and social groups, provides a strong, accessible resource for youth to practice and refine athletic skills. Sports are all about team building, communicating, and embracing the joy of sport.
When the seasons grow colder, snowier, and rainier, turf sports become difficult, if not sometimes impossible, to play. Air-supported structures, such as facilities designed and installed by The Farley Group, offer an acclimatized, safe, and multi-use facility for year-round practice and events. For both teams and communities alike—especially community programs that are year-round—these spaces are crucial.
The Safety of Air-supported Structures
Air-supported structures like the PrivateBank Fire Pitch field come in varying sizes, but the basic principle remains—through state-of-the-art inflation and pressurizing technologies, these structures offer reliable, accessible, and weather-proof spaces for all kinds of turf sports and events. Custom made mechanical equipment keep the domes consistently inflated, supported, and acclimatized. Backup generators also keep them inflated in the event of a power failure.
Having a variety of spaces for professional sports teams open up endless possibilities—from more seasonally accessible practice turfs, to more connected community locations, these spaces are used in so many ways, and any professional sports organization should have different options available. The Chicago Fire practice facility fills this role perfectly It can also be difficult for youth—the ones most in need of community outreach events—to access, so opening up these options is always important.
The Chicago Fire practice facility not only provides the team with a great space to train, but it also brings the team closer to their community. This is another dome that The Farley Group is tremendously proud of. Not only does it provide an excellent training ground, but it makes a lasting impact on the community.
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