How to Create an RFP for Sports Facility Operations and Management

How to Create an RFP

As the sports tourism industry has boomed over the last decade, so too has the need and desire for an outsourced facility management and operating solutions. Few communities are equipped with the staff, expertise, niche business savvy, or relevant experience to develop and manage a premier sports tourism destination on their own, or they feel the risk is too great to bear with the staff at hand. Many public entities (and some private companies) are required to issue a request for proposal (RFP) for outsourced management or sports facility development services.

As a frequent responder of publicly issued RFP’s, here are a few tips for creating an effective RFP from the Sports Facilities Companies:

Clearly define the need and judging criteria.

To garner the best responses, spend time thinking through the need statement of the document. Which areas are of most concern? What are the goals, vision, and history for the project? By providing a thorough needs statement, you’re giving the responding firm the opportunity to respond with a higher level of customization. By providing the judging criteria or point values, RFP issuers can further create focus on the most critical elements (marketing, fee structure & incentives, operating control/reporting).

Make it an RFQ instead.

As a general statement, RFP’s are painful. They take long hours to prepare, long hours to distribute, long hours from bidders preparing submittals, and long hours to review. Why go through all that pain when you don’t have to? Issue an RFQ (request for qualifications) instead.  Focus on understanding the submitters specific and relevant industry experience, references, depth of team and expertise, and an executive summary level approach instead. Use this response to weed out the unqualified teams and then bring in the top 2-3 choices for interviews. Prior to the interview, allow each team to ask questions or hold a planning session with the selection committee and outline specific topics you’d like them to cover. This means that the interviews will represent the information you want to hear to make the very best decision for your community and you’ll get a feel for what it’s like to work with their team in the process. Allow 60 minutes for the presentation and 30 minutes for questions.

Don’t just post it, send it.

There are many bid distributions sites out there. Some are state-specific while others are national and most require some sort of log in. Ensure you get the very best bidders by identifying some target companies in the industry and sending it directly to them, in addition to your typical posting activities. Not only does this ensure that your RFP lands in the right hands, but it also demonstrates your strong desire for that company to respond.