4 Signs Your Sports Organization Is Actually a Business

Here are four signs your youth sports organization should actually be run like a business.

There’s a lot of time, energy, and resources spent running a youth sports organization, club, or league – and one could easily compare that to running a business. But, youth sports organizers sometimes shy away from the notion that they should treat and operate their organization with that business mindset

This shying away can easily be traced back to that overarching goal in youth sports: ensuring our kids have a great experience and learn/grow throughout the process. Don’t let that important goal turn you off from the idea that your sports organization is, indeed, a business. 

TeamSnap is here to tell you why. Not only will running your organization like a business help you accomplish that goal, but it will make the day-to-day operation of accomplishing that goal a lot easier. And just because we have our children’s best interest at heart, that doesn’t stop your organization from operating with several key characteristics of a business. 

Here are a few signs your organization is actually a business, and why it’s time to start running it like one. 

Signs Your Youth Sports Organization is Actually a Business

#1 Focus on the Management of Payments and Profitable Growth

Let’s start with an easy one. Does your organization manage a series of payments through registration, uniforms, donations, tournaments, or other fees? Any and all youth sports organizations in the year 2023 operate with a series of payments. 

These payments are one of the backbones behind our day-to-day operations, allowing our athletes to participate in well-organized events on the yearly schedule. Between facility rentals, management fees, payments of officials, and more, money helps make youth sports organizations run without a hitch.

Many organizations are also focused on profitable growth. We envision growth in our leagues. That means additional teams, additional leagues, additional programs, and more offerings in general. Why? Because it gives our children more opportunities to play the sports that they love. 


But that growth means that the money coming in and the exchange of payments is also rising. Don’t shy away from this. Focusing on profitable growth means you’re focused on providing a better experience for every athlete and the ability to offer them better experiences throughout their time on the fields or courts. 

This may seem like an easy place to start, but it’s worth mentioning! Just like most complicated projects in life, the earlier you get started, the earlier you get organized, and the earlier you identify all of the members of your team, the better!

#2 Run a Staff of Employees and Volunteers Using a Leadership Structure 

Another characteristic that points your sports organization in the direction of a business is employment opportunities. How many employees or volunteers does your organization work with? It’s safe to say at least a few. 

If any, or all of these employees work for commission, there’s a good chance that you work with some sort of payroll to keep track of hours, earnings, and everything in between. Employees are one of the biggest backbones of an organization. They help everything run smoothly and efficiently. 

Keeping track of payroll is another important item on your daily checklist, and you likely use some kind of technology tool to assist in the process. It’s also a great indication your youth sports organization is running like a business.

With employees, there’s a natural need for leadership structure. Even if your organization is small, there’s a good chance one or two members of your staff help make decisions. We’re probably even speaking to one of the decision-makers right now. 

The use of employees and volunteers doesn’t just mean payroll. It also brings the need for an employee code of conduct, the need for employee morale, and some sort of HR policy. By switching your organization’s mindset to that of a business, you’ll be able to integrate some of these policies more easily into your day-to-day. Think organized onboarding, training, and retention policies. 

#3 Use of Technology Tools to Accomplish Your Goals

We’ve discussed two key indicators that can help you classify your youth sports organization as a business. But we’ve also already realized the importance of operating this sports business efficiently. And how do we accomplish that? By taking advantage of technology

Is your sports organization using technology to assist with things like registration, communication, scheduling, tournaments, building a website, or others?

Every business, large and small, uses technology to assist with their daily operations. Tasks like scheduling, registration, and communication are all made easier with tools like chat, payment processing, and mass emailing. 

The best technological tools are the ones grouped together in an all-in-one solution. Accomplish your daily tasks with a one-stop shop. 

#4 Understand the Need for Member Experience and Feedback

The last characteristic on our list goes back to the beginning, running your sports business comes down to one ultimate goal: prioritizing good experiences for all of your members. And while that priority is led by the youth athletes, we understand that youth sports mean making the experiences of parents, families, and coaches a breeze. 

Provide all of your members with a great experience by giving them a central set of tools for support, from registration to gameday. This includes useful integrated tools, like registration software, easy payment processing, scheduling, rostering, and more. 

Good youth sports administrators pay close attention to the experiences of every coach, athlete, and family member and they are willing to use technology to help administer these experiences easier. 

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