Owning a Youth Sports Business: How to Start

The promise of technology-centered sports  franchise training
So, you want to go into the youth sports business? Totally understandable. Where else can you create a promising future for yourself while providing an incredibly worthwhile experience for young athletes? It’s the kind of industry that reaps rewards that are both professionally ambitious and personally rewarding.

Are All Youth Sports Created Equal?


The first part of this question only you can answer because it’s a personal one. I know we’re talking business here, but one very basic professional truth is you should have an interest in, preferably a passion for, the kind of business you go into. If you don’t see the value youth sports offers the next generation of athletes, then it may not be the industry for you. There are exceptions, however, for those investors who are driven strictly by the numbers, but if that is true in your case, it may limit available opportunities.


The second part of this question is based on industry research. Basic research isn’t difficult and is necessary. Is the concept you are considering within a growing market? What are the projections for the coming years? Is the market saturated? Does it work for the demographic where you want to open it? Are there business owners you can talk with to validate your questions and concerns? What will it cost? Do you want to invest in an established brand, or have you always wanted to create a concept of your own? And lastly, what type of business will you explore?

Youth Sports Business or Youth Sports Franchise?

These are two business opportunity types that can be one and the same, but for the purpose of how to start a youth sports business, let’s address each of them differently.

There are monumental differences between start-up businesses and franchised businesses. With a franchised brand, there is no recreating the wheel. You invest in an established, recognizable brand, with full systems in place for operations, marketing, training, design, branding, technology, and most importantly, cost-effectiveness. A good brand will also provide experienced, willing guidance and support from their team.

With a start-up, you will create your own systems and design for your business. That means figuring out the cost of overhead and ROI on your own, finding vendors to create signage and design your space, understanding digital and local marketing, learning best practices for human resources, deciding your initial inventory, and so much more. If you are someone who always dreamed of your name up in lights on the sign in front of your business, a start-up may be for you, but there are definite advantages to starting a business via a franchised brand.

Example: Shoot 360

Youth Sports Business or franchise
Shoot 360 is an excellent example of a youth sports business which began as a start-up but has expanded dramatically via their franchise program. Shoot 360 is the world leader in technology-based, immersive basketball training. Athletes train with coaches, measure their skills with state-of-the-art, proprietary technology, and track their progress via the brand app. The technology is complex, but the business model has been simplified for duplication via a strategically designed franchise program.

The leadership team at Shoot 360 has gone through the pains of a start-up venture so their franchisees don’t have to. That’s the beauty of franchising. The kinks have been worked out. There’s rarely an issue that a franchisee faces, that the founding team hasn’t dealt with, thus can provide a readily available solution.

How to Start a Youth Sports Business on Your Own

There is a lot to consider when creating and opening a start-up: Financing for initial and operating capital, a properly zoned location, demographic studies to make sure you’re scouting the right area, insurance, leasing a location, buildout, design, and maintenance contractors, vendors and suppliers, technology for business operations and customer relations management, processes, programs, hiring and firing, employee training, community outreach, and marketing, and that’s just part of it. 

You’ll need to know what a balance sheet is, what your break-even point is, and other basic business and accounting knowledge.
Franchise opportunity in USA
Shoot 360 has grown to 25 locations spanning the US and Europe.

How to Start a Youth Sports Business via a Franchised Concept

Shopping around for a youth sports franchise is a completely different experience, that comes with a step-by-step process called Due Diligence. First, legally, a franchisor must deliver to prospective franchisees an FDD, or Franchise Disclosure Document. This is a large document with several items describing the business, including financial representation and initial investment requirements.

During due diligence, prospective franchisees will likely work with a dedicated franchise developer, learn about the concept, how each department is run, and what kind of support they can count on, all of which may be presented firsthand during a Discovery Day (a visit to company headquarters).

If a franchisor agrees to award a franchise to the prospect, then Franchise Agreement will be signed. This is a legally binding contract between the franchisee and franchisor that outlines the responsibilities of both parties and must be signed before business can begin. A prospective investor will pay a franchise fee designated by the franchisor.

It may sound like a complicated process at first glance, but it is a process all the same. There are no questions left unanswered, no huge surprise expenditures, no i’s not dotted, or t’s not crossed. Plus, loaning institutions feel better about loaning money to an established brand, than one that has only existed in one’s imagination.

At Shoot 360, we work every day to give our owners the kind of robust, industry-leading support that can make a meaningful impact on their business. We know it takes the same devotion, systematic commitment to training, and repetition to be a successful business as it does to be a championship caliber player.

Two Paths to Business Ownership

Going into the youth sports business for yourself is a huge decision. Whether you choose a start-up or franchised concept is up to you. Either way, business ownership can be a life-changing, fulfilling, exciting journey for anyone seeking a career change, or to broaden their professional portfolio. Good luck and happy prospecting!
The Amazing Potential of the Basketball Training Industry.
Learn about the future of basketball training and what sets Shoot 360 apart from the competition.

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