By:  ABIGAIL BOTTAR
idealstream Public Media

Next steps for Hall of Fame Resort & Entertainment Co. as ribbon is cut on Domed Sports Complex – Center for Performance

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Village in Canton has cut the ribbon on one of its latest additions, a new 100,000 square foot , 87 foot tall dome.

The inflatable dome is called the Center for Performance and one the village says is the largest of its kind in the United States. The idea of the dome as opposed to a brick-and-mortar structure came from an effort to reduce the price tag, said Hall of Fame Resort & Entertainment Co. President and CEO Michael Crawford.

“The cost was around $17 million instead of $50 million, so now the return is a lot better,” Crawford said.

The inflatable dome will allow tournaments and other activities to occur year-round, regardless of the weather, said Crawford.

“In Ohio, much like the Northeast and Midwest, we have weather, and for many, many years, you know, we have a great sports team that run a lot of youth sports, adult sports programs,” Crawford said. “But come December, kind of the lovely weather starts to blow in, and we can’t run those anymore.”

The dome will be used for sporting events, tournaments, concerts and conventions.

“And now when athletes show up – and I’m hearing this by the way – they show up, and they say, ‘Wow these are the best fields we’ve ever played on. Literally the best fields we’ve ever played on,’ which is fantastic,” Crawford said. This venue another step toward making the village a tourist destination, said Crawford.

“So, we’re going to cut a ribbon for a building, but I’d like to think about it as cutting a ribbon for a destination,” Crawford said. “Because the destination is really what we’re about right now.”

Next for the village is a football-themed hotel and waterpark.

“I’m happy to say, you’re going to see ground break on those in the very near term,” Crawford said. “Now, we’re a public company, so I can’t give you an exact date yet. But you’ll see an announcement on that, but when I say the near term, I mean the near term.”

Meanwhile, the Hall of Fame Resort & Entertainment Co. has been granted preliminary approval for sports betting. If the company meets the legal requirements, it could have a retail sportsbook and mobile betting on Jan. 1, when sports betting becomes legal in Ohio.

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