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Spotlight On... Sports Franchises

If you love sports and want to be involved 24/7, a sports franchise might just be the ticket.
December 20, 2006
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/159432

Do you feel more at home on a putting green, tennis court, baseball diamond or soccer field? Is it painful to drag yourself to work Monday through Friday when you're dreaming about next weekend's game? If you've got an entrepreneurial gene in addition to your sports one, a sports franchise might just be the answer to making your love of sports a full-time job.

And the industry is booming. The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association reported that wholesale sales of sporting goods equipment, apparel and footwear brought in $55.7 billion in 2005, a 6.8-percent jump over the previous year. A similar gain is expected to be made this year.

There are a wide variety of sports franchises--from golf to baseball to even billiards--that can please any sports enthusiast. We've chosen six to highlight here. As with any franchise, be sure to do your homework when researching. This list isn't meant to endorse any particular company; just to introduce sports lovers to what franchising has to offer.

LTS Leaderboard
LTS Leaderboard franchisees work with local charity and corporate golf event planners to improve scoring with their proprietary technology system. The LTS Leaderboard system can also be used at just about any function where video plays a part--auctions, competitions, seminars, corporate events and more. Franchisees should have proven sales and marketing skills, a love and knowledge of golf, and access to local golfing and business communities.

i9 Sports
i9 Sports franchisees own and manage amateur leagues, tournaments, clinics, camps and other events for kids, young teens and adults. Franchisees can choose three sports for their territory, including baseball, basketball, cheerleading, football, golf, hockey and more, giving entrepreneurs the chance to select sports that not only suit their expertise, but their local markets as well.

Soccer Shots
Young kids who are taught soccer skills by the Soccer Shots franchised teams are also taught sportsmanship, good character, teamwork, healthy habits, creativity and even a word of the day. The goal and philosophy of Soccer Shots is to use soccer as a teaching tool, so franchisees should enjoy teaching children as much as coaching.

Frozen Ropes Training Centers
Frozen Ropes baseball and softball training facilities offer a variety of training programs that target anyone from kids learning the basics and high-school players navigating the college-recruitment process to youth coaches who want to sharpen their skills and pros who need to fine-tune their game. Unlike many other sports franchises, Frozen Ropes cannot be run from home and requires a large investment, but the reward is that franchises will own their own sporting facility and potentially work with high-level athletes.

Recruit
As a member of the Recruit team, franchisees scout local athletic talent at the high-school level and act as a "personal recruiting advisor." They provide up-to-date information to your athletes and act as a matchmaker with college coaches--and, therefore, potential scholarship opportunities. Young athletes who sign on with the program are included in a national database and college coaches are given regular updates on their scholarly and athletic achievements.

American Poolplayers Association
Though billiards may seem like a nontraditional sport, millions of people play pool and tournaments even get coverage on ESPN. The American Poolplayers Association has more than 25,000 members. Its local 8-Ball and 9-Ball Leagues are administered by franchisees, while the national championships are handled--and more than $1 million in prize money funded--by headquarters. The Association offers different types of leagues (juniors, ladies, corporate, etc.) and a unique Equalizer handicap system so that franchisees can offer more choices and opportunities to pool players in their local marketplace.

Time for Research
Use this list as a starting point in your search for a franchise; then, continue searching in the sports section in our Franchise Zone to learn about even more franchises.

When one catches your eye, begin your research. Due diligence includes thoroughly reading a company's literature and its Uniform Franchise Offering Circular, calling and visiting the existing franchisees, and consulting with an attorney and an accountant. Use our thorough how-to to guide you on your journey.