Former NFL Player Keith Smith Talks About Life as an i9 Sports Owner
Opening an i9 Sports franchise business is ideal for retired professional athletes
For professional athletes, exiting their jobs can be a time of intense self-examination and anxiety. Since most athletes retire in their 30s (or even their mid-20s for athletes in physically strenuous sports) when their families are still young and growing, they have decades to fill with something rewarding and profitable. Many find themselves questioning what to do next and looking for ways to ensure their financial stability.
Former NFL player Keith Smith discovered that owning a youth sports franchise business is ideal for his background, his passion and his season of life.
Recently, Franchising USA featured Keith in “Athletes in Franchising: Life After the Game.” Following a seven-year professional football career, Keith found i9 Sports.
“Marking my first venture into the world of franchising, I was initially introduced to i9 Sports from a former teammate, whose son plays for one of the leagues in Jacksonville,” Keith says. “After extensive research on the company’s franchising opportunities, I immediately knew this was the business for me based on the proven track record of success of its business model. With convenient flexible hours, no real estate or upfront inventory, i9 Sports is a low-investment, home-based franchise opportunity offering entrepreneurs a compelling business with great profit potential. Additionally, there is immense room for growth in the youth sports market, considering that it’s a multi-billion-dollar-a-year industry encompassing 42 million participants annually.”
Keith says that he particularly finds the company’s core values attractive and feels aligned with its mission to provide kids with a fun, low-pressure experience.
“In fact, i9 Sports was founded on the principle that the number one reason kids play organized sports is to have fun — not to become the next draft pick,” Keith says. “I witnessed firsthand how this philosophy has allowed the league to shape a program that emphasizes ‘how the game is played’ and promotes good sportsmanship instead of the ‘win at all cost’ mentality that often strains young children and can negatively impact their self-esteem.”
The lifelong sports enthusiast says he’s a strong believer in the value of sports during childhood. He is thrilled to be working with i9 Sports franchise, which emphasizes what should be the foundation of youth sports: mastering new skills, developing friendships and learning the value of healthy competition.
Keith says: “During my time in the NFL, I learned valuable life lessons that have helped me succeed both on the field and off it, such as the importance of teamwork, responsibility and perseverance, and I believe that children can also learn how to succeed in life through sports. As a family man with four children of my own, i9 Sports was the perfect franchising opportunity because owning a league has allowed me to create a resource that families in my community can trust to have their kids learn to play sports in a safe and positive environment.”
Keith says that i9 Sports’ focus on concussion awareness and safety was another motivating factor in signing on with the youth sports franchise league. “We’re in a race against the clock, and protecting players against head injuries that can impact them for the rest of their lives should be the utmost priority,” Keith says. “That’s another huge reason why I chose to purchase an i9 Sports franchise, as the league is a leader in raising national awareness about safety in youth sports. In fact, it was the first national youth sports league to implement a ‘when in doubt, sit them out’ concussion safety policy and education for parents and coaches system-wide.”
Keith Smith’s i9 Sports franchise business is about 30 minutes outside of Atlanta in Douglasville, Georgia, and offers flag football, soccer, basketball, baseball and cheerleading.
Click here to read the entire article, “Athletes in Franchising: Life After the Game,” in Franchising USA featuring Keith Smith.
Learn more about the i9 Sports franchise opportunity
i9 Sports is in the midst of an aggressive growth plan to add dozens of new franchise locations across the nation each year over the next several years. The youth sports league franchise is looking to partner with passionate entrepreneurs — including former professional athletes — who care about kids, love sports and want to do something worthwhile that changes people’s lives.
For in-depth details about owning and operating an i9 Sports franchise, download our free report.