Making Youth Sports Fun Pays off for Kids and i9 Sports Owners
i9 Sports® has worked for two decades to improve the youth sports experience, but a recent story in The Washington Post highlighted some of the problems that plague youth sports — including some issues that motivated the creation of our brand.
We believe that youth sports should be fun, and that competition — while important — should not be the sole focus of activity, especially for younger kids who are eager to learn skills and teamwork while playing with friends.
Everything about our business model is built to reinforce the fact that kids should experience joy, not stress, while playing.
An ugly incident, an unfortunate reality
The Post reports, “The mother of a U.S. Soccer star admitted she leaked information about his coach, because she didn’t like his comments about her son, who played sparingly in the World Cup.”
The article includes an i9 Sports survey from 2012 in which 31% percent of the kids polled said they wished their parents didn’t watch their games.
While we find the mom’s actions in the article concerning, we sympathize with her desire to see her son play. In i9 Sports leagues, everyone gets playing time in every game. We don’t want kids sitting on the bench any more than parents do.
The state of youth sports today
Negative experiences upset kids and lower participation rates. Kids don’t want to play sports when they worry about how their parents — or coaches — are going to react.
According to the National Alliance for Youth Sports, about 70 percent of kids quit playing sports by age 13. One of the main reasons kids gave was that it wasn’t fun anymore. For many, bad behavior from adults was a factor in their decision to quit.
Why the i9 Sports approach is better for kids, parents, and business owners
When kids enjoy playing sports, they want to continue. Their enthusiasm drives enrollment season after season. These same kids often invite their friends to join their leagues so they can play together. Parents may enroll all of their children in leagues, especially when they begin to see the benefits of playing with i9 Sports.
i9 Sports also makes it easier for families to participate. Practices and games are held once a week, on the same weekend day. This makes participation easy on parents’ schedules and allows kids to immediately put new skills to use in games.
How i9 Sports youth sports leagues differ
Unlike many youth sports leagues, i9 Sports offers multiple sports. We have leagues for soccer, flag football, basketball, tennis, baseball, volleyball, and lacrosse. Kids can play different sports to learn what they like best. The variety keeps playing fun and new.
It also helps prevent burn-out, so that kids want to keep playing as they grow.
Another i9 Sports differentiator is sportsmanship. It’s a value that i9 Sports embraces. Every week, the player who best demonstrates sportsmanship receives an Excellence in Sportsmanship medal. Scoring points is great, but we believe that teaching kids to lead and inspire is so much better.
A strong brand for entrepreneurs
i9 Sports is recognized as a thought leader in the youth sports industry. News organizations like The Washington Post cite our data because we are very active in research surrounding youth sports. Aspen Institute’s national Project Play initiative has named i9 Sports a champion in the efforts to improve the youth sports experience.
This kind of recognition generates publicity and public relations opportunities for the brand at a national level, building awareness of the i9 Sports brand across the country. Likewise, we provide marketing support to i9 Sports owners, to boost awareness and interest in their local communities.
Our strong branding, together with our affordability and efficient systems, makes i9 Sports a great choice for entrepreneurs. Our start-up costs are as low as $36,500.
Want to learn more?
i9 Sports offers youth sports leagues, camps, and clinics for boys and girls ages 3 to 14 in today’s most popular sports. If you’d like to learn more about i9 Sports and its business model, download our free franchise report.