Budget, name approved for Hoover sports center

By STEPHEN DAWKINS / Staff Writer

HOOVER – Hoover’s City Council approved a $1.2 million “pre-opening” budget and an official name for the city’s under-construction sports and events center.

The center will be called the Alabama Sports and Events Center—“the Bam” for short.

The name was unveiled during a meeting of the Council on Oct. 3 by representatives of Florida-based Sports Facilities Management, which will manage the center leading up to its opening and thereafter.

SFM also has a contract with the city to manage Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. The Met, along with the adjacent sports and events center, will collectively be known as the Hoover Met Sports District.

SFM used a group of youth wearing “the Bam” T-shirts and sunglasses to help unveil the name.

Also as part of the presentation, Hoover City Council members donned “the Bam” ballcaps.

The pre-opening budget approved at the same meeting projects about $1.2 million in expenses leading up to the center’s anticipated opening in May 2017.

The expenses include $275,000 for marketing, a pre-opening payroll of $464,413 and consultant expenses of $373,000.

The budget approved by the Council also included projections for the first five years of the center’s operation.

Revenue was projected to grow incrementally from $2.4 million in Year 1 to $4.8 million in Year 5, while expenses are expected to decrease incrementally from a high of about $3.1 million in Year 1.

The budget projects the center to operate at a loss for the first five years, though in a decreasing amount each year.

Council President Jack Wright said officials think the center’s actual financial performance will outpace the projections.

“We asked the management group to be as pessimistic as possible when preparing this,” Wright said.

A benefit of the center will be its economic impact on the city, which is projected to be about $14 million in Year 1 and grow to $33.4 million in Year 5.

Though the center is scheduled to open in May 2017, it will eventually include outdoor facilities, such as tennis courts, that will open later.

The Council also discussed the possibility of a 5,000-square foot “adventure center” that could include attractions such as a rope course that would be designed to entertain those at the center not participating in scheduled events—for example, a brother or sister of someone competing in a basketball tournament.