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FranchiseKnowHow Spotlight Franchise

Interview with Brian Sanders,
President and COO

i9Sports is a Children's Franchise Where Everyone is a Winner

by

Being an avid sports fan I was interested to learn more about the i9Sports franchise. I found it to be a great concept with the right product for children. Its objective in removing the stress and emphasis on winning so prevalent in children's sports is refreshing. The following is my interview with Brian Sanders, President of i9Sports.

In early October I wrote an article entitled "Don't Forget the Kids” which focused on franchise opportunities that feature products and services for children. Shortly thereafter I received a call from Danielle O'Neil, Franchise Development Manager for i9Sports. She had read the article and was curious as to why I hadn't included i9Sports. I explained to Danielle that I was unfamiliar with the franchise. After Danielle gave me a brief overview I told her I'd visit the i9 Sports website and perhaps we could schedule an interview.

After visiting their website, I contacted Danielle and told her I'd like to learn more. She scheduled an interview for me with Brian Sanders President and COO. i9 Sports started franchising in 2003 and has grown to 130 franchisees, with plans to grow to 300 franchisees within the next 3 years. For 2011 they are looking to add 15-20 new franchisees. Personally, I like the fact that there is no litigation reported on their FDD.

The investment for a new i9 Sports franchise is from $44,900 to $69,900. The franchise serves children under 18 years old, where they participate in sports leagues, camps, clinics and other sports related activities.

The sports that franchisees can offer are:

  • Flag Football
  • Lacrosse
  • Cheerleading
  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Hockey
  • Baseball/Softball

Brian explained that: "The most popular sports are; flag football, soccer, cheerleading and basketball. The franchise is looking to add T-Ball as a new sport for younger children. Everybody plays and children with various disabilities can participate."

 

I asked Brian what the profile of a typical franchisee looks like:

"Our franchisees come from a diverse background. They average 39 years old and have some prior management experience. They have a family and are seeking financial independence.”

Franchisees, work with various schools in their territory to coordinate the use of their facilities for sports activities. Some school systems allow franchisees to use school facilities for after school programs. Given the reduction in funding for school athletics the opportunities for the franchisees will continue.

I asked Brian for his comments regarding the future potential for i9 Sports in the United States.

Brian said:

"There is a significant crisis in children's sports. Many children drop out at an early age due to stress and pressure. Our franchise allows children the opportunity to participate in sports for the pure enjoyment. This reduces or eliminates the stress that some children face when playing sports.”

As further evidence regarding children's sports Greg cited some interesting statistics about children's sports: The National Athletic Trainers Association issued a "report card" on youth sports safety in the United States for 2010. It gave the nation a grade of C+ (slightly above average) but says it hopes that will improve next year with a reduction of injuries and deaths in young athletes.

The i9Sports franchise has a program based upon children playing sports for enjoyment rather than driven to win. However, we can't forget the fact that this franchise is a business. Franchisees generate revenues from the membership fees paid by the parents. I was curious how franchisees market their services. Brian indicated that: "Franchisees market to Moms using grass root programs. In addition, the program grows through referrals within the franchisee's territory.”

Brian also indicated that the franchisor provides and uses a 120 day to countdown checklist for all franchisees. This lists the activities a franchisee should be engaged in. Although the franchise has a number of locations in Florida since that's where the franchise started it has franchisees in Michigan and the New England.

I would say that i9Sports franchise is definitely on the right track.

© 2010 FranchiseKnowHow, LLC

Ed Teixeira is the President of FranchiseKnowHow, LLC. He can be reached at franchiseknowhow@gmail.com

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