Sure, Marcus Thigpen misses playing in the NFL. Being able to perform in front of thousands of screaming fans and proud family members, and sharing close camaraderie with teammates are irreplaceable experiences he’ll never forget.
After seven years, the Texas resident has now retired from playing professional football. But he isn’t hanging up his cleats just yet. In late 2015, Thigpen launched his own youth sports franchise with i9 Sports.
“I am very fortunate to be healthy and able to still be closely connected to the sports realm, and I’m very excited about our future with i9 Sports,” he said.
Setting up a youth sports business plan
A youth sports business plan was always part of Thigpen’s playbook. He knew that when he got done with football, he wanted to venture into entrepreneurship. Although he didn’t want to play sports anymore, he wanted to stay relatively close to the world of athletics. When he got an email telling him about the i9 Sports children’s franchise opportunity, it felt like a self-fulfilling prophecy.
“I have and always will have a passion for sports and children,” he said. “I told my wife and a couple of my friends that I wanted to own a franchise like this one day, and didn’t know that I was really speaking it into existence.”
As he prepared to start the low-cost franchise, Thigpen reached out to his brother-in-law, Dennis Johnson, who he says has a tremendous amount of business experience. The two are partners in the youth sports business plan, with Thigpen handling the day-to-day operations.
The positively perfect children’s franchise opportunity
His son and daughter had both played on i9 Sports teams, so Thigpen saw firsthand the positive effects of the i9 Sports Experience—the program’s unique approach that balances skill-building and healthy competition with fun and good sportsmanship, all in a professionally run, organized environment.
Now Thigpen supports the same positive culture with his i9 Sports program in the Plano, Texas, region. i9 Sports franchisees decide within their youth sports business plan about what sports are best for their region and their home-based franchise. He offers basketball, cheerleading, baseball, flag football and soccer to children ages 3 to 14 at three playing venues.
“This children’s franchise opportunity was a no-brainer for me as I watched my kids enjoy every moment of their season with i9 Sports. I wanted to have that same impact as an owner,” Thigpen said. “i9 Sports is all about the experience, we try our best to make the parent and the child have the best experience week in and week out. When we hear stories about how much a kid looks forward to coming out to be a part of our league, it makes all the long nights of planning and organizing worth it.”
Parents often comment on how much they love the well-organized program, and Thigpen is proud of that aspect of the i9 Sports children’s franchise opportunity. He seems most proud, however, of the confidence his players gain from being involved in his teams. He says there’s nothing like the feeling of seeing a kid who is unfamiliar with a sport become really good at it within a few weeks.
“To know that we had a part in this child’s life by giving him or her a great experience and elevating their self-esteem always makes us feel proud,” he says. “It’s a challenge, trying to connect with all the children, but they are a joy to have.”
Looking into the future, Thigpen says he wants i9 Sports to be known throughout the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area, and beyond. He’ll continue to embody the basic principle adopted by all i9 Sports franchisees who take advantage of this home-based business: helping kids succeed in life through sports. Ultimately, Thigpen wants his i9 Sports business to be his lasting legacy.
“We plan to keep this business until our children are grown, and then pass it down to them,” he said.
i9 Sports offers a low-cost franchise in the athletic arena
The i9 Sports children’s franchise opportunity is a low-cost franchise, and it could be the chance you’ve been looking for to work in the exciting world of sports while being in control of your own business. Contact us today to learn more about this home-based franchise.