Joan LeMahieu Joins SFA as Sports Tourism Corners Market

Source: The Sports Facilities Advisory

(Clearwater, FL)  August 12, 2014—Youth and amateur sports, in conjunction with sports travel and tourism, have become one of the fastest-growing U.S. industries—its many benefits are apparent to even seasoned business management professionals who are turning to sports tourism after years spent in other industries, according to officials at The Sports Facilities Advisory (SFA).  SFA, which produces institutional-grade financial forecasts for new sports complexes and oversees the opening and management of such complexes, has recently announced the placement of several professionals, including Joan LeMahieu, a sports management expert best known for her stint at Ford Field, home of the NFL’s Detroit Lions.

Sports travel and tourism have proven to be recession-proof, a fact largely attributed to the growth of youth and amateur sports—reportedly, the “explosive youth sports movement has become a $7 billion industry in travel alone”. (1)  SFA CEO Dev Pathik recently commented that the sports tourism surge has spurred a 25% increase in the number of new clients seeking SFA’s help in planning, funding, and managing new complexes—the result is that not only has its clients’ associated sports centers announced plans to hire hundreds of employees in 2014, but SFA has also sought to further develop its teams of professionals.

In addition to the recent hiring of two veterans of Disney’s Wide World of Sports and Disney Theme Parks Disney, Steve Daugherty and Steve Eaton, Joan LeMahieu has joined SFA and its sister firm, Sports Facilities Management (SFM), with over 20 years of leadership experience in venue management, event development, hospitality and the sports and entertainment industries.

Throughout her career, Joan has specialized in the planning and opening of new venues, including stadiums, conventions centers and multipurpose centers.  Most notably, Joan managed Ford Field Stadium, home of the NFL’s Detroit Lions.  She has additionally managed several tourism and event destinations, including:

●   Monona Terrace Convention and Community Center (Madison, WI);

●   Visalia (CA) Convention Center;

●   The Parade Company Studio (Detroit, MI);

●   LJ Williams Theatre (Visalia, CA);

●   The Rotary Theatre (Visalia, CA); and

●   The Mountain Winery (Saratoga, CA).

Joan’s proficiency has also extended to marketing, budgeting and staffing consultation for the pre-opening planning of a 300,000 square foot addition at the Green Bay Packer’s Lambeau Field, as well as contract management for the owners of the Visalia Radisson Hotel.  As an SFA Management Advisor, Joan now serves as the full-time General Manager of City Beach, an SFA-managed facility that boasts two locations in San Francisco Bay and offers sports, entertainment and teambuilding experiences.  City Beach locations also encompass multiple basketball and volleyball courts, a full-service restaurant, bocce ball courts, a ropes course, and a 16,000 square foot rock climbing gym.

“At SFA, our goal is to continue bringing athletics to every community and imparting a significant contribution to our nation’s economy,” said LeMahieu.  “I look to utilize my skill set as a means of increasing access to youth and amateur sports in a substantial way. It is a joy to know that ones work contributes to the enrichment of the lives of many people.”

SFA has been influential in the opening and management of new sports tourism destinations both nationally and globally.  SFA CEO Dev Pathik notes that Joan’s facility management leadership and overall expertise has contributed to her recognition and demonstrated success in such diverse areas as event development, sports marketing, new facility development, strategic planning, sports tourism, finance, emergency preparedness, and human resources.

SFA has served a portfolio of more than $4 billion in planned and operational facilities.  Along with SFA, SFM has delineated a niche as an industry leader in the management of such complexes, and together, the two entities provide the planning, financing and management expertise needed to turn ideas into quality recreation facilities.  During 2013 and 2014, SFA has assisted and will be assisting in opening more than 1.5 million square feet of indoor facilities and nearly 600 acres of outdoor complexes.

For more information about the Sports Facilities Advisory and its suite of planning-funding-opening-management services, visit

About Sports Facilities Advisory:

The Sports Facilities Advisory (SFA) is the leading resource in sports facility planning and management.  The Sports Facilities Advisory has helped to plan, fund, open and manage dozens of multimillion-dollar sports complexes in communities throughout the USA and internationally since its founding in 2003.  The company serves public and private clients.  Its services fall into four main categories:  plan, fund, open and manage, which encompass every phase from early stage feasibility studies to preparing financing documents, overseeing development and opening and full-time management services.  SFA’s success depends upon its mission to dramatically improve communities through the opening or optimization of sport and recreation centers.  For more information, visit

1.   Koba, Mark.  “Spending Big on Kids’ Sports? You’re Not Alone.”  N.p., 13 Jan. 2014.  Web.  26 June 2014.  <>

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