6 Crucial Steps To Starting A Sports League

6 Crucial Steps To Starting A Sports League

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Do you feel that? Flowers blooming in a field… Dandelions settling on the bleachers.. That’s right, league season is almost upon us! How’s your plan coming along? You have your team qualifications? Your staff hired? Your contact info all finalized?

Don’t worry. You’re here because you care about your players and want to make sure you have the best sports league ready to go. To do that, the fundamentals of a sports league need to be satisfied—and we’re here to help you out! Let’s begin by asking these six questions.

1. Do I Have A Permit?

Permits are vital and not something to wait on. Why? They are a general requirement and grant you legal permission to reserve space at public parks, sports complexes, community centers, etc. for your sports league. Without one, your league is more or less trespassing into a park and runs a risk of getting permanently banned from a perfectly nice location for your league. To check the requirements for permits in your area, contact your town’s department of parks & recreation and reach out to the facilities you wish to rent from for specific details.

Side note on sports league locations! Proximity plays a big part next to price when choosing a location that’s best for your league. If you have people interested in joining a league, survey their hometowns to establish a central area that’s best for your future sports league.

2. Do I Have a Website?

No? Don’t worry! Making a website for your business is possible for anyone no matter the level of your computer knowledge. Websites act as a central hub for your league that’s available at their convenience—and it does not need to be complicated. There are both free and paid services that can aid in building up your league online and it can be as minimal as one page with contact info, hours, location, summary description and a few images correlating to your sports league. One of the best ways to determine what website service is best for your league is to draft an outline of your league website. Then you can determine how robust or simple your website needs to be. When drafting the outline of your website, make sure what you offer is clear on the front page

3. Do I Have Staff Or Volunteers?

When you are creating your league (business or nonprofit), you may feel like you’re on top of the world—like you can handle it all on your own. You need to be careful of the overwhelming risks and taking on too much! There are a lot of moving pieces in a sports league that could slip through the cracks and hurt your league. Avoid these nightmare scenarios and assemble a team. Hire umpires, assistants, schedulers, score-keepers and other positions you think will keep the management of your league in a healthy state. Once you have a staff team, it would be a great idea to introduce them with bios on your website!

4. Do I Have Waivers?

Naturally a sports league wants a good relationship between each and every league member. One of the best ways to do get that done is to have a waiver or sports contract that both establishes the expectations of being in a league and forewarns the possible risks. Why have waivers? Well waivers are like good tires for your car. Without them, the journey of your league won’t be smooth or safe for any of your passengers—both staff and league members. You can easily write a waiver yourself or find a template online, however it is best to run the content by a lawyer so that your writing 100% conforms to your specific state or county laws.

5. Do I Have A Marketing Strategy?

Imagine starting a league with no members to play the sport. This is why marketing is important. Consult with your staff to find towns near or within the area you plan on playing. Once that has been decided, collaborate with the local newspapers, schools and stores to hang flyers, and develop online advertisements. Getting the word out in advance—both local and online—means more people will come to you.

Side note on marketing! Consider the low-cost option on social media. Set up a Facebook Page for your league and create posts that call attention to your opening—and don’t forget to list your finished website in the About Section of your Facebook Page!

6. Do I Have A Management System?

A good league management system is the glue for your sports league. For the choice of league management software, it can be daunting to sift through the options, but one thing is certain: finding the right one can mean reduced expenses, increased profits, happier members — and, more time for you. If you’re not already using a sports league software solution, start looking into the possibilities today. And if you are, consider an overall assessment to be sure the one you’ve got is the absolute best choice for your new sports league.

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2016 Recreational Sports Trends

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If I asked you what the most popular recreational sport of 2016 is, what would you choose? Soccer? Volleyball? Maybe Tennis?The answer may surprise you.

According to a recent study conducted by GreenPlay Consultants, the number one recreational sport of 2016 (so far) that recreational facilities are adding is Pickleball. Strange, no? Well, though it may seem a strange at first, the rising popularity actually comes from the growing popularity of “simple” and “small” sports and activities. More trending sports in this area include small group training, mini-soccer, body-weight training, Ultimate Frisbee, and more recently, shortened sports seasons.

There are a couple key benefits that come from adding these “small and simple” activities. For one, facilities have an easier time integrating them into their existing programs as these activities usually require smaller spaces, less equipment and time. Mini-soccer only takes up about half of a traditional soccer field and Pickleball takes up only about a quarter of a regular tennis court, allowing for about four matches to take place at once.
An added benefit of these scaled-down sports is that people of all physical capabilities can play them. While they are popular with children and adults, older players are jumping on the trend as well because they don’t need to exert the same amount of energy as they would in the traditional forms of these sporting activities.

Many facilities are also adopting the trend of smaller seasons for sports leagues to accommodate the busy schedules of adults. As a result, the cost and use of equipment goes down and there are more opportunities for incoming revenue as leagues begin back-to-back.

Also trending are leisure or less athletic sports such as wiffleball, kickball, dodgeball, and hula-hoops. These activities are nowhere near as intense as other competitive sports, and work nicely into schedules as they can easily be played right after work and virtually anywhere. Some of the more popular leisure sports include foot gold, archery, and more recently Bubble Soccer which involves inflatable “bubbles” that players don which protects them upon impact with other players. Essentially, it’s bumper cars but with bubbles!

These rising trends have proven to be extremely beneficial to recreational facilities as they have driven down the cost of operation while increasing demand for new recreation possibilities. This is why it is so important to pay attention to predicted trends and consistently update services that your facility offers. All of the trends we’ve mentioned generate more interest in your business and creates various new streams of revenue. Get ahead of the curb by tapping into your local community. Find out what activities are generating the most interest and don’t be afraid to ask what new trends your clients have heard of that they would like to try!

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Sports Team Communication Challenges

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The following guest blog post is by Jim Woodman, President of PlayerGrid. PlayerGrid is a powerful new team communication and sharing service that we’ve fully integrated with EZLeagues. We are very excited to have another partner offer our clients some great insights on how to help streamline operations!

Mobile Apps are Delivering Smart Solutions

Getting timely messages to all members of a sports team becomes very important when games are canceled, practice is rained out or tournament information is updated at the last minute. In the old days – and we’re only talking about 15-20 years ago – telephoning everybody on a team with schedule updates was common practice.

But the telephone call – especially before cell-phones – was extremely inefficient and time-consuming for coaches and team managers.  Along came the Internet and by the late ‘90s, as more people starting getting e-mail accounts, team managers soon adopted e-mail as the preferred method of updating a group.

E-mail has Limitations

While e-mail and team websites represented a significant advance over telephone dialing everybody on a team and hoping to get an answer, e-mail has its problems and limitations. For starters, not everybody has a smartphone and, for those that do, they’re not constantly checking their e-mail accounts. Even worse, there are many coaches and managers not familiar with how to create email groups or send group text messages. What ends up happening is an important update – such as where and when a game is to be played – ends up in a reply to all message that has nothing to with the subject of that e-mail.

On weekend mornings, parents find themselves scouring their inbox for that one reply to all message that has the important “where and when” details at the top of the message. And depending on the content and origin of an e-mail, some spam filters may have dropped that all-important update into a junk folder. This is obviously very frustrating for coaches who assume their emails are being delivered.

And for those teams with websites, nobody is ever sure the website has been updated with a last minute schedule change. In many cases, those team websites stay stagnant for weeks, even months and can be unreliable.

Smart Phone Proliferation, Few Apps

Today, with the proliferation of smartphones and apps for just about everything one can conceive, it’s been surprising that very few apps have tackled the sports team communication issues and, for those that tried, the implementation has been poor at best.

To address this problem, EZFacility has teamed with Iconic Sports Technology to introduce PlayerGrid to facilities that have installed EZLeagues. PlayerGrid’s interactive iPhone and Android applications let parents keep track of multiple sports team schedules and events. Simply stated, with one PlayerGrid account, parents and athletes are notified instantly, in the manner they choose (text, email or push notification), the moment a coach or manager adds, updates or cancels any event.  The days of dialing people via telephone and sorting through your inbox for the right message are quickly giving way to these new, sophisticated applications that deliver data in whatever method the recipient chooses.

Besides its interactive calendar, PlayerGrid features a team specific message center, photo gallery, roster, custom team merchandise, and latest notifications panel. And everything in PlayerGrid’s iPhone and Android apps syncs seamlessly with its popular web application available at www.playergrid.com [website no longer in service – 3/30/2020].

Check out the previous blog post for more information on how EZFacility and PlayerGrid have come together. For more information on how to get your facility up and running with EZLeagues and PlayerGrid, give us EZFacility a call at 866-498-3279.