With thousands of sports clubs across the UK catering to hundreds of different sports, it’s pretty clear we’re a nation of sports fanatics. Not only are sports clubs great for keeping us active and healthy, but they’re also an important part of the community. It’s no surprise then that so many people think about starting a sports club of their very own.
Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as just throwing open the doors and hoping for the best. With years of experience working with sports clubs and teams as well as running our own business, we know a little bit about what it takes to start a sports club.
Why start a sports club
If you’re already reconsidering your sports club dreams, then think again. It may take a bit of hard work, but ultimately, it’s worth it.
If your sport isn’t very well known, is a new sport or even a dying one, then opening a sports club is a fantastic way to spread awareness and get the sport more recognition. With the right set-up and publicity, you may find your club makes a significant impact on the popularity of the sport.
Get everyone more active
Obesity is everywhere in the news these days and no wonder with a rise in sugary drinks and sweets as well as the popularity of cars and leisure. A new sports club might just be the thing your community needs to get more people active and healthy. Remember, sports can impact every aspect of a person’s life, including promoting healthier eating and lifestyle choices.
Help the community
Sports clubs can help everyone from children to the elderly. They can help get even more kids into sports from an earlier age, helping to shape a healthier and more active life as early as possible. The more sports clubs and sports options in the community, the more chance there is that every child will find a sport they love. It also promotes better values and life choices with many clubs helping to keep children off the streets and out of trouble.
A club that caters to elderly people is not only an important opportunity to keep them active and healthy, but also provides another social environment. When you don’t work and have families with their own busy lives, meet-ups and social interactions like this can become a vital lifeline.
Bring the community together
Your club has the power to bring the whole community together. Whether you’re thinking about opening a casual recreational club or a more serious competitive one, with enough popularity you’ll be able to host matches and events to get the whole community involved and bring everyone together. Plus, your club could also be an important cornerstone of the community economy. From employing staff to sponsorship, you’ll essentially be another local business giving back.
Starting a sports club of your own
If you like all the benefits to be had from starting a sports club, then it’s time to decide whether it’s achievable. Before you dive in head first, here’s everything you need to think about before making that big step.
Researching is essential and needs to be done immediately. Even if your research doesn’t completely rule out starting a sports clubs in your area, it will likely have a significant impact on all the decisions you make about the club from here on.
Use all the resources at your disposal including the internet, social media like Facebook as well as friends and family to get some initial reactions to the sport itself. This will help you figure out its current popularity as well as the possible interest to see if it has potential. You can even create a Facebook group to try and get some initial membership numbers and gauge interest levels.
You should also find out if there are already similar or the same sports clubs in the area. While you may have the same sport, you may have a different target membership or approach. For example, maybe they exclusively cater to the elderly or are a formal competitive club. Whether they cater to different people or are even adopting the same approach, it could be beneficial to partner with them.
Define your club
Your club is a lot more than just the sport it plays. You’ll need to define your club and have a clear focus as well as a clear target audience, even if this is several audiences. This is where your research comes in handy; you may have identified an opportunity to cater to a certain age group, gender or ability that is not being served by the existing sports clubs.
As well as your audience, this will guide your focus and what you want to achieve. You may be a more casual recreational club because you cater to the elderly or a beginner’s ability, with a focus simply to raise awareness and participation in the sport. Alternatively, your aims and focus may be to win a certain title and compete in various competitions nationally and even around the world, in which case your members will reflect that.
Your focus will essentially be your USP’s. These are unique selling points, and together they are the reason why your members will join your club. You should continue to build on them and promote them moving forward to help you ‘sell’ the club to the community.
Develop your club strategy
The following are all part of your club strategy, and you’ll need to plan all of them before you do anything else. You may find a significant roadblock on any of these points that hinder or even prevent you from opening your club, such as financing or support.
Budget and funding
Who is financing the sports club? You may be able to get funding from various places, such as government support, the county or national sports bodies, schools, local businesses and so on. This will depend partly on what your sports club is, who you’re catering to and what you want to achieve.
You should also think about membership. Will you charge for it, and how much? You won’t know the success of your club yet, so don’t rely heavily on membership fees to decide your budget for the first few months. If you’re arranging a free sports club for the elderly or disabled, for example, you should speak to the government and local council about funding.
Once you have an idea about where you can get funding or who is financing it, you can arrange meetings to help you decide your budget for the next year.
Location and venue
Think about location, venue and equipment. Is there a location or venue available? How much is it? What equipment do you need to get your club started and is it affordable? Where can you source it and can you source cheaper equipment elsewhere?
Who needs to be involved
There could be various people that need to be involved, from the government and the local council to the board or committee of the county and national sports bodies if your sport has them.
You’ll then need to think about more direct involvement, such as the people who will help you run the club. Will they need to be volunteers, or can you afford to pay them as employees? What training will they need now and in the future?
Set your goals
Set some clear goals and go back over your previous research and strategy outline to see whether they’re achievable. For example, maybe you’ll need to achieve a minimum membership number in the first 6 months to meet certain costs. Does your research about the potential interest in the sport support that this number is achievable?
Also, think about your club’s goals. Do you want to win a certain competition, or even just qualify for one? Again, you’ll need a certain number of members as well as a certain level of ability to achieve this. Does your research support this?
Spread the word
With your plan in place, you can finally start spreading the word! Set an open day with a free session to get people involved and contact your local media to promote your new club. Because of the positive community impact, you’ll find many places in the local area will be willing to promote the club for a smaller fee or even for free. Local town hall meetings and church events are also good social places to spread the word.
If you’re getting ready to open your own sports club or your new club is stepping it up a notch this year, a sports team kit could be the perfect way to bring your members closer together, spread the word and make a professional impression at competitions. Contact us today to find out how we could help you get affordable, high-quality sports team kits.