Park Privatization Aims for Revenue Sharing Operation

The City of Dallas posted an RFP seeking a private contractor to operate its 4-field softball complex. The goal includes outsourcing all operations and earning a revenue share from tournaments and events. Key details on privatization, sponsorship and naming rights within.


What Happened?

The City of Dallas, Texas, has published an RFP seeking private operation of a softball facility currently operated by the city parks and recreation department.

So What?

The city spent more than $3 million to build the four-field softball park, which has seen solid usage since it opened in 2003. However, current management believes a group with the ability to draw major domestic and international tournaments could profitably operate the park. The request for proposal states that the initial intent of the park was to attract major softball events and subsequently bring positive economic impact. The city currently has one full-time employee managing the complex.

Important Details

Among the details and specifics outlined in the RFP were:

  • Marketing—Provide progressive marketing strategies, including the marketing and selling of sponsorships and naming rights
  • Ticketing—Provide ticketing services for events at the facility
  • Maintenance—Manage all security, concessions, janitorial, waste removal, field maintenance and other personnel required for operatio
  • Utilities—Pay the cost of all utility services, not limited to water, gas and electricity, including a security system
  • Liabilities—Cover any liability or insurance expenses required to operate the facility
  • Ownership—Property remains under the ownership of the city
  • Contract—Winning bidder receives five-year contract, with a second potential five year term

Consideration

Evaluation of the responses and criteria used for selection of a winning bid will be based on a 100 point system. Applicants will receive a score based on four-category rankings:

  • Experience and Qualifications—Up to 35 points
  • Management and Operating—Up to 35 points
  • Revenue-Sharing—Up to 15 points
  • Commitment to Business Inclusion and Development Plan—Up to 15 points

Past Privatization Efforts

In 2009, Dallas turned over operation of the Dallas Zoo to the local Zoological Society. Los Angeles, CA, is hoping to do the same for its zoo, and had a deal to handle operations over to a local non-profit, only to see it fall through for political reasons.  This article from the Reason Foundation discusses other zoo privatization efforts, including North Carolina, and the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma using a public-private partnership.

Gov1 has written recently about naming rights/sponsorships efforts by other cities, as well as privatization of event facilities.

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