Aug 2, 2023 - Sports

Pro Football Hall of Fame's new village shines during Enshrinement Week

Play ball. Photo: Courtesy of Hall of Fame Village

Visitors to the Pro Football Hall of Fame are in for an entirely different experience this week.

Driving the news: The annual Enshrinement Festival, which runs through this weekend, is expected to draw 700,000 people to Canton.

Why it matters: For the first time, fans will experience an operational Hall of Fame Village.

  • The $600 million, 120-acre campus featuring restaurants, rides, and sports and entertainment venues is expected to generate more than $15 billion for Stark County over the next 25 years, according to a 2015 economic study.

Zoom in: HOF Village CEO Michael Crawford believes a lot of that money will come from Northeast Ohio, especially with Browns great Joe Thomas being inducted on Saturday.

  • "We expect to see a large number of people from Cleveland this week and throughout the year," Crawford tells Axios. "And that's what we want. Cleveland is a big market for us."

Flashback: First announced in 2014, construction of the HOF Village experienced delays due to overspending and the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Crawford, a former Disney executive, was brought on board in 2018 to get things back on track.

Between the lines: Phase one included building Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, which hosts concerts, comedy shows and USFL games throughout the year, and the ForeverLawn Sports Complex featuring eight athletic fields for sports tournaments.

  • Restaurants, retail shops and amusement park rides were also installed, along with venues for corporate events, expos and weddings.

What's next: Crawford says the village is 80% complete as it undergoes phase two, consisting of a 180-room Hilton Tapestry hotel and an indoor waterpark. Both are set to be completed by late 2024.

  • Crawford has set an ambitious goal of drawing 5 million people to the village annually.

The bottom line: "This is the time of year everyone in the football world turns their eyes toward us," Crawford says. "It's our chance to showcase and market this experience to the world."

If you go: For a full list of Enshrinement Festival events, visit the Hall of Fame's fan guide.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Cleveland.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Cleveland stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Cleveland.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more