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Jim Renne talks to Fields of Green about the latest investment in the business of basketball.

With the overall rise in parity at the professional and collegiate basketball levels, teams are clamoring to differentiate themselves in order to attract free agents or recruits. With the current Collective Bargaining Agreement in the NBA, teams are restricted on the amount they are allowed to spend on players’ salaries. A new recruiting tool for luring free agents to a franchise is a high tech, full-service training facility. In the last decade, over a third of NBA teams have built or announced a new training center in the quest for a competitive edge.


A full-service facility encourages players to spend more time at the team’s headquarters. Though most practice facilities feature basic programmatic training elements, each team’s mission drives their customized amenities.  This depends on their recruiting tactics, level of civic involvement, legacy, and recently, integration of medical components. To attract star players and coaches, teams increase spending on technology, furniture and finishes to create more luxury and amenities.

A franchise also benefits from the synergistic effect of having its basketball and business operations under one roof.  As a multi-functional facility, there are more opportunities to generate revenue and advance alliances with corporate sponsors.

For example, ROSSETTI worked with the Cleveland Cavaliers to renew and rebrand the Cleveland Clinic Courts, focusing on recruitment efforts and community engagement.  ROSSETTI enhanced the public-facing spaces into a more welcoming and educational experience that incorporates the team brand and history. Nearby medical powerhouse Cleveland Clinic has the naming rights to the facility and promotes educational messaging about wellness. After LeBron James signed with the Cavs, it was necessary to improve player privacy and delineate spaces for private/public activities. While stars like privacy during practice, they also welcome fans and social media engagement to build their personal brands.

In Detroit, the Pistons transformed a convoluted grouping of game-day rooms and lockers inside the Palace of Auburn Hills into a comfortable and motivating enclave for players and coaches.  The players’ lounge was the first in the industry, and the locker room doubled the size of the previous layout.


For collegiate teams, training facilities dedicated to basketball create highly motivational environments, and allow student athletes to use their time efficiently.  They are a strong recruiting tool for coaches and a showcase for donors.

At Brigham Young University, the new Marriott Center Annex will connect to the east end of the Marriott Center and provide a dedicated practice court and strength training for the men’s and women’s basketball programs.  Like most universities, BYU basketball teams share court time with other university programs, limiting practice time for players.  By incorporating meeting rooms and team lounges, athletes will spend less time traveling to various buildings on campus. When completed in the fall of 2016, the Annex will add a fourth university-level court to the Provo/Orem area, giving it a shot as a host for future NCAA tournament games.

As the parity continues to grow, teams will continue to look for ways to recruit top players. With training facilities starting to be all-encompassing and revenue-generating, it is only a matter of time before it becomes a true arms race. Teams are working with their corporate sponsors and community to create a multi-functional facility that will address multiple objectives for both their business end and basketball operations, while making the players feel at home.


Jim’s broad spectrum of experience, obtained over two decades of work, encompasses design solutions for many sports, including soccer, tennis, NASCAR, basketball, hockey and football. His background also includes extensive master planning and mixed-use development.

ROSSETTI is a global architectural design and planning firm with a focus on sports and entertainment. Established in 1969, ROSSETTI’s work includes architecture and interior design for showcase properties around the world.  The firm’s portfolio also includes DAYTONA Rising, The Palace of Auburn Hills, Ford Field NFL Stadium, the USTA National Tennis Center, Red Bull Arena, StubHub Center and sports facilities at many universities. The firm’s portfolio of training facilities includes work for LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Detroit Pistons, Michigan State University, Bowling Green State University, Florida International University, University of Notre Dame Compton Family Ice Arena, and USTA National Training Center.

Originally posted on Fields of Green