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Workforce optimization at a multi-facility sports recreation center

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Four portrait photos of students arraged in a square

Team members
Kody Huff, Garrett Moore, Anuhea Parker, Talia Stanley

Faculty mentors
Profs. Ramesh Johari and Riitta Katila

The organization
Legacy Sports USA's Bell Bank Park is a 320-acre private family sports and entertainment complex located in Mesa, Arizona. It claims to be the largest sports and entertainment facility in North America.

Legacy Sports USA logo

Project description

The ultimate goal of our team was to provide Legacy Sports USA with the tools and resources they needed to achieve their workforce optimization and financial staffing goals.


We suggest that Legacy Sports outsources temporary labor by leveraging internal marketing strategies and hiring directly. The most viable and cost effective source of temporary labor that we found is from local high school and college students. Therefore, we recommend that Legacy Sports maintains and expands strong relationships with local high schools and colleges, particularly guidance counselors in the local Mesa, Arizona area. High schools and colleges provide a trove of potential part-time employees, in addition to guidance counselors who are willing to help spread information regarding volunteer and job opportunities.

In order for Legacy Sports to determine how many students they need to hire, we strongly suggest they utilize the labor optimization calculator developed by our team and continually input the most recent data. The features of the calculator will allow Legacy Sports to see how many temporary employees need to be sourced to fulfill their preferred workforce size and meet performance goals.

From the numerical values generated through the labor optimization calculator, we found that Legacy Sports should hire 29 temporary student employees. Under a weighted shift scenario, Legacy Sports should optimally staff 139 employees per day, meaning 120 of those positions should already be staffed by in-house employees (this was one of the assumptions made after conversations with Legacy Sports leadership). The weighted scenario is preferred to the unweighted scenario given that it minimizes the total daily number of employees by 11.

It is important to note that while our modeling and calculations are robust, there are limitations to their overall accuracy and performance. The main limitation in our recommendations is the lack of internal data from Legacy Sports, which is understandable given that the company recently launched in January of 2022 and is therefore data-poor. Additionally, our recommendations become less accurate when accounting for extreme external factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic or future legal policies related to temporary labor.

Techniques and models used

To help the company determine the best course of action, we began by gaining a better understanding of company goals by talking to Legacy Sports USA leadership. Next, we performed an in-depth analysis of temporary labor trends in the US by reviewing the literature and doing qualitative research, which we then applied to the Mesa area specifically. Then we looked into local sources of temporary labor in Mesa, in order to supply Legacy Sports with an appropriate course of action. Finally, we transitioned to more quantitative methods by researching workforce optimization strategies and methods.

From this research, we created our own workforce mix optimization calculator that Legacy Sports can use alongside their own staffing data to determine how many employees to hire and of which type of labor.

Because there is not a lot of data available specific to the labor market in Mesa, we used the following main areas of information to further our knowledge of the local labor market and Legacy Sports’ labor issues and needs:  

  • First, we learned about the labor challenges specific to Legacy Sports by speaking with company leadership. The overall sentiment was that in the current Mesa labor market, temporary labor is difficult to find and retain, particularly in the following roles: parking, security, ticketing, and guest services.  
  • Second, we supplemented our understanding of these temporary labor challenges within the local Mesa labor market by analyzing more general temporary labor trends. We focused on temporary labor trends, given that the nature of Legacy Sports’ work caters to temporary labor.  We used data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, determining gaps in local data to determine how we could extrapolate or generalize this data.
  • Third, we focused on the specifics of Mesa’s temporary labor market, and particularly where to source temporary labor from. Legacy Sports has already entered a 90 day trial with Liberty Staffing USA, a third party temporary labor agency. We also chose to look into hiring temporary labor directly, as opposed to through a third party agency, to avoid the associated cost premiums. Therefore, another area of the local Mesa labor market that was helpful in determining our final recommendations was the high school labor market. The schedules of local high schoolers match up well with Legacy Sports’ needs, as the complex has less labor needed during the week and more on the weekends. We reached out to local high schools regarding local wage rates and methods through which students currently find part-time work.   

For the qualitative aspect of our project, we began by researching workforce optimization strategies and methods. Through our research, we determined that an inventory modeling approach would best align with Legacy Sports’ needs. Therefore, we designed and created our own labor optimization calculator using an inventory modeling strategy that Legacy Sports can personalize and update using company data on staffing requirements, employee wages, and financial constraints. 

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2022 senior projects