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Sports Museum of America
Established May 7, 2008
Dissolved February 20, 2009
Location 26 Broadway, Manhattan, New York, USA
Website Sports Museum of America
Entrance to the museum had relatively small signs
Quadricycle advert

The Sports Museum of America (SmA) was the United States' first national sports museum dedicated to the history and cultural significance of sports in America. It opened on May 7, 2008 and closed February 20, 2009.

The museum, which was originally known by the working name National Sports Museum, was at 26 Broadway, in Lower Manhattan across from Bowling Green. The museum contributed to the revitalization of the area following the events of September 11, 2001, as it was situated footsteps from the Statue of Liberty Ferry, near Wall Street and the former site of the World Trade Center.

From the idea's inception, in September 2001 following founder Philip Schwalb's visit to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame,[1] the museum was anticipated to celebrate all sports and the Canyon of Heroes, where New York City's famed "ticker tape" parades originated, was an ideal location. However, delays in funding, and construction pushed the museum to the point that some feared it would never be built.[2] A decision was made to be a commercial organization, rather than a non-profit as many museums are, due to a desire to participate in New York's post 9/11 Liberty Bond financing program (available only to for-profit business).Ultimately the museum received support from the requisite government officials, most importantly in the form of Liberty Bonds issued by the City and the State to support projects aiding in the revitalization of Lower Manhattan.[3] The museum was originally scheduled to open prior to the IOC announcing its selection of the host city for the 2012 Olympics, for which New York City was a finalist.[4]

The museum-attraction included more than 20 original films, nineteen galleries and state-of-the-art interactive technology. The special event space on the second floor of the museum featured a mural tribute to all of sports by LeRoy Neiman.[5] The Museum was intended to be the permanent home of the Heisman Trophy[6][7] and the Women's Sports Foundation International Women's Sports Hall of Fame within the Billie Jean King International Women's Sports Center.[8][9] Like dozens of other sports halls of fame and museums, the National Baseball Hall of Fame had loaned numerous artifacts, and - in addition to all the partner halls of fame, artifacts were also secured via private collectors.[1]



In an effort to be truly national in its representation of all sports, the Museum partnered with more than 60 sporting organizations throughout the United States,[10] and the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto (with 30 of those signed up to participate when the idea for the museum was still just an idea).[11] Exclusive Partners included:


On February 20, 2009, the museum closed its doors, citing low attendance. Schwalb blamed the recession and an "insufficient marketing budget." The Board of Directors is currently seeking a buyer for the museum, with an asking price of $10 million, to cover the museum's debts. If no buyer is found, the collection will be broken up and items returned to their owners.[14]

Unable to find anybody to take over the museum its parent company National Sports Attraction LLC on March 13, 2009, formally filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy to liquidate the museum. It listed $56 million in assets and $177 million in debts.[15][16]


  1. ^ a b Richard Sandomir (2008-03-12). "Luring Sports Fans of All Seasons to Lower Manhattan". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-31.  
  2. ^ Dan Barry (2003-12-03). "About New York; The House that Ruth Didn't Build". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-31.  
  3. ^ David W. Dunlap (2004-04-29). "At Bowling Green, a Museum for All Sports". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-31.  
  4. ^ "'Smithsonian of Sports' Planned for N.Y.". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 2003-08-28. Retrieved 2008-03-31.  
  5. ^ "The LeRoy Neiman Mural". The New York Times. 2008-03-12. Retrieved 2008-03-31.  
  6. ^ a b Craig Miller (2008-03-17). "USA Basketball Partners with Sports Museum of America". United States Olympic Committee. Retrieved 2008-03-31.  
  7. ^ Bill Pennington (2005-04-13). "Sports Museum and Heisman Find Place in Lower Manhattan". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-31.  
  8. ^ The Associated Press (2008-03-31). "New All-Sports Museum is Opening in NYC this Spring". Staten Island Advance. Retrieved 2008-03-31.  
  9. ^ Michael Kinney (2008-03-24). "Baker Joins Elite Company with Activist Efforts". The Norman Transcript. Retrieved 2008-03-31.  
  10. ^ The Associated Press (2008-03-31). "New All-sports Museum Opening in NYC". The Mercury-News. Retrieved 2008-03-31.  
  11. ^ "Plans Announced for First-Ever National Sports Museum in Lower Manhattan". PR Newswire. 2003-08-27. Retrieved 2008-03-31.  
  12. ^ "Sports Museum of America Partners with National Soccer Hall of Fame to Create Nation's First All-Sports Museum". Business Wire. 2008-03-13. Retrieved 2008-03-31.  
  13. ^ "Ballpark Menu: Skewed Gator". San Diego Union-Tribune. 2007-06-20. Retrieved 2008-03-31.  
  14. ^ "Sports Museum of America closes, seeks buyer". The Miami Herald. 2009-02-20. Retrieved 2009-02-20.  
  15. ^ The Bankruptcy Files: Door Makers, RV Manufacturers, Sports Museums, and Telecoms - Amlaw Daily - March 17, 2009
  16. ^ Formal Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Filing via amlawdaily - Retrieved March 18, 2009

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