Pro Football Hall of Fame Village takes next step in growth, cuts ribbon on domed sports fields

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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.

Ribbon Cutting 1

Michael Crawford, CEO of the Hall of Fame Resort & Entertainment Company cuts the ribbon to the new Performance Center with Carol Smith, Senior Vice President of Special Projects and Don Taylor, president of  the Welty Building.  [Eman Abu-Khaled /  Ideastream Public Media]

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 Pro Football Hall of Fame Village 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."

Community members talk and toss a football inside the dome.

 The dome is 100,000 square feet and will be used for sporting events and tournaments.  [Eman Abu-Khaled /  Ideastream Public Media]

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 is 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.

Michael Crawford 2

Pro Football Hall of Fame Village President and CEO Michael Crawford says they will break ground on their new football themed hotel and waterpark soon.[Eman Abu-Khaled /  Ideastream Public Media]

“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 Village 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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