When real estate agent Dave Noah takes a potential homebuyer on a tour of Fargo-Moorhead, he shows them more than just houses. There’s more to living in a community than the walls of your home.
The living space in Fargo, after all, extends from north of Hector International Airport to west of West Acres Shopping Center to south of Fargo Davies High School. In the same manner, the sports culture is found in many ways and spans the four seasons.
“It’s the quality of life, it’s a lot of different things,” said Noah, of RE/MAX Legacy Realty. “For instance, if I do a tour for Sanford or NDSU or anything like that, it’s usually two hours and you talk about everything, from the population to the amenities of a city like the walking and jogging paths, the parks, the elementary schools that have outdoor soccer fields and hockey rinks.”
And make no mistake, it doesn’t hurt to have a community that is able to sell its Division I athletics, minor league baseball, junior hockey, golf courses, softball diamonds and facilities for youth in all shapes and sizes.
In the winter there’s the F-M Curling Club rink and Scheels Arena that is home to the Fargo Force of the United States Hockey League. Golf comes to bloom in the spring with public courses Edgewood, Rose Creek, Osgood, Prairiewood and El Zagal. In Moorhead, there’s Meadows and Village Green. For the private clubs, Fargo Country Club, Moorhead Country Club and Oxbow have been around for decades.
A bevy of flood control projects on the courses by the Red River are helping their long-term viability. Edgewood, Rose Creek, Moorhead Country Club, Fargo Country Club and Oxbow have either started, completed or are about to embark on course renovations to battle the rising Red.
In the summer, the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks continue to draw thousands of fans to Newman Outdoor Field.
The king of the revenue in any season, however, is North Dakota State University football. The Bison and their four straight Division I Football Championship Subdivision national titles consistently sell out the 18,700-seat Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome and will most likely do so again this year.
The athletic department’s budget for 2014-15 was $18 million.
And along with the success is the visibility − fans like to wear the green and yellow both in the pre-game tailgating lot at the dome and inside the arena. Troy Goergen, NDSU’s senior associate athletic director for external operations, says the latest estimate on retail apparel sales of NDSU clothing annually exceeds $12 million.
The athletic department takes in about $500,000 a year in royalties from licensing fees. That’s a lot of T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats and anything else that carries the Bison logo on it. It doesn’t hurt, of course, with the football playoff success and the NDSU men’s basketball team reaching the NCAA tournament the past two seasons.
The basketball team has one more season in Scheels Arena before it moves into its newly renovated $41 million Sanford Health Athletic Complex across the street from the Fargodome. The 5,800-seat Scheels Center basketball arena will be the centerpiece of the project.
The biggest sporting event without an arena, however, is the Fargo Marathon. Held every mid-May, in 2015 it completed its 11th year with entrants exceeding 20,000 for the fifth straight year. It’s not just big business for hotels and restaurants, the event has other benefits as well.
“I do think there is more of a focus on quality of life,” said Mark Knutson, the executive director of the marathon. “I’m not going to jump out there and say the marathon is responsible for all of it, but I think it’s helped a little bit. I think what happens is you see a lot of people get into running and that morphs into other things like cycling and maybe more of a focus on trails to run on. Hopefully there’s more of an awareness for people being outdoors.”
Readers can reach Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack at (701) 241-5546 or email@example.com.