A common misperception people who consider starting a youth sports franchise have is that they cannot compete with the existing local leagues. The common refrain is, “You don’t understand, it’s different here. These leagues are huge. Everybody plays in them. I just don’t see how anyone could compete with them.” It is not as hard as they think.
When you break down local youth sports competition there is usually either one organization that primarily serves all of the sports, or separate organizations for each sport. Either way, each individual sport is run by one or two organizations. Even if these organizations do a great job, inevitably there is a percentage of parents looking for alternatives. Below are five ways you can compete when running a youth sports franchise:
How to Get Ahead of Local Youth Sports Competition
1. Customer Service – most youth leagues are run the same way they were twenty-five years ago, while the needs of kids and parents have shifted dramatically. Great communication, organization, and convenience for busy families is a HUGE differentiator.
2. Age Appropriate Programming – Is there an age group not being served? As an example, could you offer sports for younger age groups in an age appropriate format that would allow you to get those kids in your leagues first. Or what about offering a sport like flag football for older kids?
3. Scale – Don’t just look in your backyard. Look at the town and neighborhoods all around you. If you are servicing an area that has 70,000 or maybe 100,000 potential kids you only need a small portion of them in your leagues to have a successful business.
4. Multiple Offerings Each Season – Blowing up preconceived notions about when sports should be played can unlock huge potential. What about offering basketball in the spring, or football in the summer, or baseball in the winter? Alternative season offerings can allow kids to participate in sports they love multiple times per year, or allow a child to experience a new sport that she otherwise may have missed.
5. Marketing – Existing leagues tend to be complacent. Great local marketing combined with strong search engine marketing can get people talking about you and to you.
We all have preconceived notions that color our perceptions. Sometimes these notions limit us. Don’t bring your baggage to the youth sports franchise party. Success comes to those with a well executed plan and the backing of a proven system.