Travel | August 4, 2020 1:20 pm

“Disneyland of Football” Resort Being Developed by Ex-Disney Exec

The complex will include a football-themed water park, hotels, retail space and apartments

Rendering of the new resort and complex from Hall of Fame Resort & Entertainment Co. in Canton, Ohio
Canton here we come.
Rendering via Hall of Fame Resort & Entertainment Co.

Like the NFL is attempting to do with its season, a former Walt Disney Company executive is pushing through coronavirus-related concerns and continuing his plan to build a resort in Ohio that he envisions as the “Disneyland of football.”

Already boasting a stadium and sports complex, the in-development resort is centered around the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton and will feature a football-themed water park, hotels, retail space, a research building and apartments once it is complete, according to The Wall Street Journal. 

Led by former Disney executive Michael Crawford and backed by his investment group, the project is slated to transition into its $300-million second phase later this year despite COVID-19 and the recession the pandemic has created.

Crawford, a Cleveland Browns fan who took over the company behind the football project in 2018, spent 25 years at Disney and was involved in developing theme parks in the U.S., Japan and China.

Though other resorts have struggled to stay open and many remain closed as the tourism industry struggles to stay afloat, Crawford said he is hopeful the pandemic will be finished and football fans will be willing to travel to Canton once the project’s second phase is completed in 2022.

“The people’s hunger and desire to consume sports and be in environments like arenas and stadiums and destinations like this will be at an all-time high,” he told the Journal. “We will be building in a down market and opening in an up market.”

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