The $93 million Sports Museum of America opened to the public ten (10) months ago with great fanfare and just recently closed its doors, in downtown New York. The all sports museum was expected to be a major tourist attraction for New York. Building and operating a sports museum is very difficult to run in good economic times never mind the recessionary times and future uncertainly we find ourselves in today.
While the Sports Museum of America management was closing their doors this past February, the Sports Museum of Los Angeles opened their doors to the public on the west coast. Unfortuneatley, after just a few weeks, they too were also forced to close their doors because expected revenue from admission tickets and group sales never materialized.
Running a sports museum is extremely difficult. Michael Gibbons has done a tremendous job as Executive Director of the Sports Legends Museum and Babe Ruth Museum in Baltimore , Maryland. An Exective Director must be fully committed to find funding, generate exposure, run a volunteer staff, solicit memorabilia and create unique exhibitions/displays and hope individuals and groups feel compelled to visit the sports museums.
Historically, sports museums have difficulty meeting budgets in good times but in today's environment they will need to become more multi-purpose than ever before. They will need to look at expanding retail store operations, set up weekly and/or monthly public autograph sessions with high profile athletes, look to sub-lease space to radio / television stations or other business's who could provide exposure and revenue to the bottom line. Add on a stage / audience room where events/programs can be created and revenue generated.
Times aren't going to get better anytime soon so we all need to support our sports museums today so we have them tomorrow. It would be a shame if our kids and grandchildren miss out on experiencing the sports history we enjoy today in our sports museums throughout the country.