Former Disney exec aiming to build football-related theme park near Pro Football Hall of Fame

General view of the Pro Football Hall of Fame
Aug 3, 2019; Canton, OH, USA; General overall view of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It was back in 2018 that Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village near the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton hired former Disney executive Michael Crawford to run the development of the village.

This was apparently Crawford’s way in to the real estate market in the Ohio city. Two years later, and he’s dreaming even bigger.

According to Wall Street Journal, Crawford is aiming to build what’s been deemed as Disneyland of football adjacent to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The report notes that it’s slated to include a football-themed water park, rides, retail space, a research building and even apartments.

This is obviously a massive undertaking amid the economic uncertainty that’s come with the COVID-19 pandemic plaguing the United States and the rest of the world. But it really is one heck of an idea.

The former senior vice president and general manager of the Shanghai Disney Resort and president of Walt Disney Holding Company, Crawford certainly knows how to build up a brand. He originally negotiated the building of Shanghai Disney Resort, which ultimately cost $5.5 billion in US dollars to erect. The theme park attracted north of one million people during its first six weeks in operation.

Back in 2014, Crawford left Disney to become president of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts Asia Pacific region. He obviously has an understanding of a task like this will entail.

The idea of building a theme park near a popular tourist destination such as the Pro Football Hall of Fame is brilliant. Annually, we see families throughout the United States and the rest of the world hit up the iconic location.