Steve Criswell, an Ashland businessman who has coached several arena football teams and will be head coach of the Revolution, said that teams struggle when leagues struggle. He said Burton is better than most of the owners he’s seen.
“Being involved with SportsQuest gives us a leg up,” Criswell said. “In a small market for sports, it’s good to have secondary or tertiary revenue. Everything doesn’t live and die on football, and that’s a positive.”
Burton says he can drive down the company’s incremental costs by adding every level of sport, from amateur to pro.
“You don’t take the recreational guys and put them in one bucket and the youth travel team in another and the high performance in yet another one,” he said. “We’ll integrate them into one bucket. By doing that, we will have better retention in the sport.”
But even sports facilities that are full have trouble running a profit.
Skating rinks, for example, might not be that much more profitable even if part of a large complex. Brad Robinson, who helped buy both SkateNation in Short Pump and the IceZone in Chesterfield with Burton as a passive investor, said the rinks would not run a profit if his company had to build them from scratch.
Robinson paid about $820,000 in 2001 for the IceZone, buying it from a bankrupt sports conglomerate. He bought SkateNation in 2004.
Robinson said that, for the most part, the youth and adult leagues and the figure skating classes are filled.