i9 Sports Franchise Review: Kate and Brandon Harper of Washington

i9 Sports Franchise Review: Kate and Brandon Harper of Washington

Owners expand the i9 Sports presence in the Pacific Northwest 

Kate and Brandon Harper learned about i9 Sports® when they were looking for a flag football league for their then 3-year-old son. At the time, the only i9 Sports leagues in Oregon were on the west side of Portland.

“When I was signing my son up for a second season, I saw a sign that said, ‘Be your own franchise owner.’ That’s how it got started. I had no idea that i9 Sports was a franchise.”

Noticing an opportunity

Seeing the need for more youth sports leagues in the area, Brandon partnered with his father-in-law, Dan Jacobson, to open an i9 Sports business in east Portland. At the time, Brandon was finishing his bachelor’s degree in business management, so the timing was right.

“My father-in-law and I always wanted to go into business together, and before signing on with i9 Sports, he and I came up with a 3-year plan, a 5-year plan, and a 10-year plan. Our goal was to have multiple franchises.”

Several years later, Brandon heard that the Vancouver, Washington, territory was available, and he seized the opportunity. Vancouver is a suburb of Portland, just across the Columbia River.

Some families from Vancouver were already driving to Portland to play in i9 Sports leagues, giving the brand a presence there. Brandon says a big part of the business is building relationships with families and in the community. 

Growing and moving forward

One of Brandon’s main goals for Vancouver is to grow his flag football leagues.

“We’re going up against some programs that have been there for over 20 years and so I’m hoping that what we bring  will help set us apart from them — our presence, how we run our programs, how we set up our fields, how we set up our venues, how we sign our venues.” 

i9 Sports franchise review: Home Office

Brandon speaks highly of the support he’s had from the Home Office. 

“My business coach Jake is available anytime I have a question or a concern. He has been phenomenal in helping me pick the right areas to run our sports,” Brandon says. 

He also says that i9 Sports’ resources for new owners are a tremendous help, including an Operations guide that helps with day-to-day management, like tracking registrations and revenue as well as season-specific goals.

i9 Sports franchise review: Owner network

Other owners are also helpful. Brandon has kept up with some of the people in his training class. He likes to see what they’re doing because they grew up together in the business.

And as his own experience has grown, he’s shared his knowledge with newer owners, too.

i9 Sports franchise review: Building relationships

When asked about the i9 Sports business model, Brandon says he likes the work-life balance. He adds, “But most of all I like the relationships that I build within i9 Sports.” 

“Just a few weeks ago I got awarded by a local high school. There were kids in the audience I’ve known since they were 5 because they played in our programs. That really makes me happy when I see these kids, and they’ve grown into some really great athletes, really great people.”

Some of those kids are working in Brandon’s leagues now.

Learning the family business

Brandon and Kate have three sons and a daughter: Jaylin, 14; Dylan, 11; Landon, 9; and Jordan, 6. Jaylin will start working with Brandon this summer. 

“We feel that he’s at an age where he should start learning the family business,” Brandon says. “He’ll help with our PeeWee division. I’m excited about it.”

Learn more

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