Becoming a sports athlete is a dream many people have when they’re really young. The bright lights, big cities, fame, paycheck and chance to play a sport for a living are what make it so attractive to many.
Most people realize around their early teenage years that the chances of turning pro are quite slim but still love to play the sport. A lucky few may continue to play in college but for most of us, our sports careers after high school will be delegated to intramurals and the occasional rec sports league.
Rec sports leagues are a great way to keep playing the sport you love, get some exercise and maybe bond with others around you. You may even rediscover your chances at a pro career.
But what do you do if you don’t have a rec league around? Should your sports dreams be left to yesteryear and your activity relegated to playing a video game? You might have thought a few times about starting a sports league. If you’re not sure where to start, check out the tips below.
Find a Facility
No surprise here, the first item on your agenda should be finding a facility where you can play. If you’re not sure where to start, get out a map or head to Google Maps and look at your city. Start looking at other existing leagues or places with open facility spaces.
A gym that runs a children’s basketball league may also have an opening spot for an adult basketball league. You can start by asking around to existing leagues to see what facilities they use and then go and ask the facility if they have any space.
A great place to ask around is churches and high schools, who could be looking to bring in a little bit of extra income by renting out their space. See what kind of schedule they have and what the rates are.
As a bit of precursor, the majority of your budget is going to be spent on the facility.
Build it Up
Now that you have a facility, you’re going to need players. You don’t have to go crazy with advertisements or run it like a business. You could simply start putting up fliers at various community centers, gyms and other public areas.
Make a Facebook page and start posting your league to various groups. When doing this, make sure and make some kind of advertisement with all the information that would be on your flyer. Making a text announcement looks sloppy and boring and no one is going to sign up with that.
Promote the league on a daily basis and give as much information you can with each posting so you won’t have to answer the same question 10 million times over, even though it will probably happen anyway.
When your league starts, put up team photos as well. Hire a photographer for the day to come out and take action shots of everyone and invite them to tag themselves in various photos. People want to show others they’ve still got what it takes to get out there and play.
Unless you’re playing a sport that doesn’t require referees (looking at you ultimate frisbee), you’re going to have to hire referees. The cost of referees greatly depends on their experience and the “quality” of your league. You could be making a league simply for people after work or making one for ex-college players.
In addition, you’re going to need equipment, such as cones, markers, scoreboards, watches, jerseys and much more. Some of these items can easily be picked up at your local sporting goods store, while others may be a bit harder to track down.
When it comes to jerseys, you can always look for a league sponsor as well to help cover some of the cost. The sponsor can also provide some kind of prize at the end of the league or offer some merchandise with their logo on it.
Trophies are optional, but who wouldn’t want to feel like a champion again?
If you don’t consider yourself an organized person, now is the time to become the most organized person in the world. You’ll be in charge of making the schedule, splitting up teams and handling registration fees.