The recent establishment of a new breed of youth sports complex in the Kansas City, Kansas, area — one that caters to parents as much as to their kids — has Forbes.com hailing the idea as “genius.”
Olathe, Kansas-based Elite Sports, a sports development and management company, is opening a series of facilities with full-service bars, nail salons, big-screen TVs, lounges and business centers. Two are open now in Olathe and Overland Park, with three more planned in the Kansas City metropolitan area.
“Our new facilities are paving the way for local clubs,” Elite Sports Chief Executive Officer Jason Bryson told The Kansas City Star. “Practice is no longer a drop-off, but a lifestyle that goes well beyond the sport, and a unique experience that parents can enjoy, as well.”
“Even if you’re hanging on your child’s every moment during a game, most practices and tournaments come with a lot of downtime,” writes Forbes.com’s youth sports blogger (and sports dad) Bob Cook. “Local restaurants and sights around a facility would love to have parents take off for a while and explore their fine burgs, but that assumes even with GPS parents can find their way around, and even that they want to. Plus, another sign of tournament life is sometimes not knowing when the next game is coming, so you’re forced to stick around. So why not have something in the facility other than pizza, water bottles and — the worst! — watching other people’s children.”
Cook might have been joking about that last part, but he has a point when he notes that Elite Sports’ “Bryson has figured out he can make a lot more money keeping parents in the building than not. And, perhaps, parents might be more apt to sign up their kids for the leagues his facilities host.”
This looks like one of those situations in which everybody wins — as long as Mom or Dad doesn’t have too much to drink and decides to confront a referee or coach.