Indoor sports complex set to be sold

Inside the Richmond Indoor Sports Experience. (Photos courtesy of RISE)

Inside the Richmond Indoor Sports Experience. (Photos courtesy of RISE)

A Chesterfield County sports complex has a new owner.

The Richmond Indoor Sports Experience, better known as RISE, has struck a deal to be acquired by XL Sports World, an Orlando-based firm that operates indoor athletic complexes and organizes international sports travel.

The deal is expected to be finalized within two weeks, according to RISE co-founder Joey Robinson, and the XL name is already being phased in at the 48,000-square-foot Midlothian facility.

XL Sports World brings with it deeper pockets and the ability to expand RISE’s business model, Robinson said.

“It was just a good opportunity,” Robinson said. “They were looking to expand what they were doing and thought RISE would be a nice addition to their portfolio.”

“It’s an opportunity for staff, managers and patrons to take it to a level we couldn’t take it to on our own,” he added.

Neither side would share financial specifics of the deal. But XL chief executive Ciaran McArdle said the company paid about $3 million for its three other indoor soccer facilities in Orlando, Saco, Maine, and Raleigh, N.C.

RISE’s four-acre property at 2300 Oak Lake Blvd., near 288 and the Powhite Parkway, was most recently assessed at $1.84 million, according to county records.

Robinson and several partners founded RISE 10 years ago after seeing a need for an indoor soccer complex in that part of Richmond.

They bought the land, designed the facility and built the building. Robinson is a general contractor.

The facility hosts 250 adult and youth teams during its peak season. Its business is largely from soccer teams, but the complex also caters to lacrosse and baseball.

XL and RISE had crossed paths over the years.

“Years ago, we did a presentation at RISE for a team in that facility. So we knew it was there,” said McArdle, who helped start XL as an international soccer tour company 12 years ago. “A friend mentioned the guys may be willing to sell and pass the ball along.”

RISE caught some limelight when it became entangled in the mess of the nearby complex formerly known as SportsQuest.

RISE temporarily joined forces with SportsQuest early in the project’s development and eventually agreed to combine its business with SportsQuest LLC in exchange for an ownership stake.

But, seeing the writing on the wall before SportsQuest’s foreclosure and bankruptcy, RISE severed all ties with the troubled complex.

“We’re very excited about getting some non-SportsQuest publicity,” said Christopher Robinson, facility director at RISE and brother of Joey Robinson.

All 25 RISE employees will stay on under XL’s ownership.

One of the biggest changes that will come with new ownership will be renovations to RISE’s two turf fields. McArdle said XL plans to spend $300,000 to give the fields a makeover with new turf, boards and all the trappings.

The company will also look to grow its sports travel business out of Richmond. It organizes trips for college and club teams to play overseas.

The RISE brand will be phased out in favor of the XL name over the next few months.

But Joey Robinson, who still plays in soccer leagues at the facility, said the RISE name would linger on, at least among the players.

“The RISE name will go away, but I’m sure around here it will still be called RISE for a long time,” he said.

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