5 things to know about HOF Village earnings call: 'We are severely undervalued.'
CANTON − Hall of Fame Village CEO Michael Crawford talked excitedly about the future of the entertainment campus and development while acknowledging turbulence in the financial world and economic landscape.
During a fourth quarter earnings conference call Tuesday for the Hall of Fame Resort & Entertainment Co., Crawford also teased at the coming announcements of more high-profile events like comedian Kevin Hart, who performs on May 18 at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.
Fourth quarter revenue increased 2% compared to a year ago, but for the full year, revenue was up 48% or $16 million. Increases were driven by event revenue at the Village and at its DoubleTree by Hilton Canton Downtown hotel, offsetting the loss of revenue from a former large sponsorship partner Johnson Controls in 2022.
Meanwhile, the Hall of Fame Resort & Entertainment Co. posted a fourth quarter net loss of $18.5 million, compared to net income of $9.3 of during the same period last year. For the full year, the Village posted a net loss of $46.9 million, compared to a net loss of $92.8 million a year ago.
While acknowledging the reality of inflation and supply chain challenges, Crawford said the Village continues to grow and is positioned for "exponential" increases in revenue in the future when more restaurants and the on-site water park and hotel open.
Also, year-round use of the sports dome facility, and the recent opening of Don Shula's American Kitchen continue to generate more dollars, said Crawford, president and chief executive officer of the Hall of Fame Resort & Entertainment Co., which includes the Hall of Fame Village.
"We are getting five-star ratings across the board," he said of the new restaurant, which the Village owns with management from Shula's Restaurant Group.
The eatery is "starting to generate meaningful revenue for us," Crawford added.
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The Village's partnership with betr, an online sports betting website and app, has gotten off to a faster start than anticipated, while the gaming company expands with licensing opportunities outside Ohio, including Massachusetts, he said.
"We get an annual form of guaranteed revenue that increases over the life of the 10-year deal," Crawford said while noting the Village also has a "shareholder's interest" in betr, including for business done outside the state.
Crawford, addressing complaints and concerns from some shareholders in social media about the Village's prior stock split, said the move was necessary and decided with a focus on long-term profitability and viability, not quick gains.
Crawford said he and other executives are significant shareholders, proof of their unwavering belief in the overall project. And there's no signs of letting up, he said, citing plans being drawn up for phase three of the development, which wraps around the Pro Football Hall of Fame Museum.
"We're not done with creating physical assets," he said. "... We've hired a master planner to do phase three − phase three is now literally being planned, so look for updates on that in the months to come."
Here are five other things to know about Tuesday's Hall of Fame Village earnings call:
1. Revenue, debt and 'the potential for exponential growth.'
Crawford said the Hall of Fame Village is in "growth mode."
Regarding the company's "debt profile," he said the Village "will continue to work on that ... but I think we have made significant improvements over the last year."
"We're growing quarter over quarter, year over year," Crawford said. Some of the losses increased because "we're continuing to invest in the experiences ... and at some point, the investment stops (as more attractions open) and the financial performance increases."
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Revenue also continues to be more diversified, he said during the call, citing examples, including tenant leases, food and beverage sales, rides and gaming.
"This company has the potential for exponential growth in the coming months and years," he said. "And I'm excited about where we're at."
In September, Hall of Fame Resort requested an extension in its attempt to avoid having its stock delisted from the Nasdaq exchange.
The request came the week before shareholders were asked to approve a reverse stock split that could be used to convert shares and increase the value.
"We are severely undervalued and we're that way because I do believe there's ... the misguided assumptions being made about the actions we've taken to support our growth," Crawford said during the call.
He also referred to "false assertions" made in comments posted on social media "about purposefully devaluing the company to hurt shareholders."
2. Brew Kettle and Topgolf expected to open next month
The Brew Kettle, a craft brewery and restaurant with multiple Cleveland-area locations, and a Topgolf Swing Suite are expected to open late next month, Crawford said.
The Village entertainment complex also has entered into a multi-year agreement with former NFL star Donald Driver to open a Driven Elite Performance training program site, which joins a Driven Elite Fitness workout and sports training facility at the Village’s Constellation Center for Excellence.
3. Sports betting retail site opening pushed back
In January, betr began accepting wagering when it became legal in Ohio.
Betr, a startup company whose co-founders include include YouTube star and Cleveland area native Jake Paul, is among nearly 25 mobile sports betting license holders in the state.
Acknowledging competition from large gaming companies, Crawford said betr is also expanding into traditional sports betting in addition to micro-betting on individual plays and moments in a game.
Meanwhile, the outside of the BetRivers sportsbook site is finished, but work remains to be done on the interior. BetRivers will include a "significant food and beverage component," Crawford said.
Village representatives are in discussions with "some pretty high-profile food and beverage operators," he said.
By the end of the year, the Village hopes to have the food and drink feature of BetRivers open, Crawford said. No timeline for opening the retail sports betting site was given. Village officials previously had hoped to open it this summer.
4. More big events coming to HOF Village
The Don Shula-branded restaurant and other attractions will help draw star talent such as comedians Hart and Dave Chappelle, who performed at the stadium last summer. Concerts are also held at the stadium.
"There's more of these talents you're going to be hearing about," Crawford said. "And I mean in the very near term."
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5. Water park hotel guests will stay for multiple days
The Village expects to draw visitors from a 100-mile plus radius, Crawford said.
"People are coming for the experiences," he said. "They have to be worth the money, worth the drive and worth the stay, and we're getting feedback they are."
Once the water park is finished and opens, guests at the adjacent hotel are expected to stay for multiple days, Crawford said.
The Village also will offer "compelling packages" featuring the water park and hotel with meals, as well as rides and a ticket to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he noted.
Reach Ed at email@example.com and on Twitter @ebalintREP
This article originally appeared on The Repository: Brew Kettle, Topgolf to open at Canton's Hall of Fame Village soon