How Your Seasonal Business Can Keep the Revenue Flowing in the Off-Season
By Melissa Wickes
January 5, 2022
It’s a fact that youth sports organizers know well: youth sports is a seasonal business. Depending on where you live, selling baseball in December, for example, could be as fruitless as selling hockey in August. And yet the success of your organization could depend on your ability to generate revenue all year round. In a recent NextUp University talk, David Geaslen, founder and CEO of 3STEP Sports, offered advice on how to generate revenue year-round in a seasonal business.
That advice in one word?
As any finance pro will tell you, spreading your energy across a variety of income streams is a smart way to maximize revenue. For youth sports organizations, that means expanding offerings outside of your usual programming.
How to Diversify Revenue in a Seasonal Sports Business
- Apparel. We play and watch football in the fall; we wear football swag the whole year. Your organization can extend its cash flow by building out its apparel business and maintaining it all year long. (LeagueApps can help with this: Our e-commerce capabilities make it easy to sell merchandise on your website or right from your registration flow.)
- Events and travel. Would your players (and their families) be excited about a holiday party, or maybe even an off-season weekend retreat? Yes, get-togethers like this can be big undertakings with complicated logistics, but the effort can pay off in an impressive revenue boost.
- Additional programming. One-on-one coaching sessions, clinics, camps and even sports nutrition seminars extend your financial footprint beyond your seasonal business schedule. Theoretically, you already have the personnel—coaches and support staff—to run these offerings; you’re just further monetizing their know-how. LeagueApps’ innovative integration center seamlessly connects a variety of useful third-party platforms—such as virtual coaching platform Famer—to your League Apps account, allowing you to get any new program off the ground quickly.
- New sports. Yes, this one is obvious, but if you can find the resources to make it happen, beginning a seasonal program in a season in which you currently offer nothing can do great things for your revenue streams.
The offseason is also a great time to take a step back to re-evaluate your business plans in general. Here are three strategies to consider—some of which will be helpful if you do decide to diversify.
Revenue Diversification Strategies for a Seasonal Business
- Rethink your biggest expenses. Identify the areas in which you sink the most cash—for many organizations that’s apparel and facility costs—and consider whether you can gain more monetary advantage from those functions. For example, could you rework your lease so that it includes more hours on the field or courts for additional programming? If an outside company oversees your apparel acquisition and distribution, could you take on that responsibility yourself? More work—sure. Worthwhile? Definitely!
- Explore untapped resources. You can’t be an expert on everything, but there are probably people on your staff or in your community with the know-how to fill in those gaps and help you get a new initiative off the ground. Maybe someone in your office has worked in retail. Maybe a parent owns a company that does event planning. Maybe one of your coaches has friends in other sports. Sometimes it pays not to go it alone.
- Give yourself some time. Expanding your revenue sources is a process, and generally requires an initial investment of effort and money. Aim to minimize losses in the first year, break even the second, and begin seeing positive results in the third. If you don’t foresee making money off a new endeavor after 36 months, it’s probably not worth the investment.
Don’t let the seasonality of the youth sports industry stymie your organization’s growth. Contact LeagueApps for more advice on diversification and other useful strategies for growing your business.
And, if you have other questions and want to network with like-minded professionals, join our NextUp Community! It’s free and available to anyone who works with a youth sports organization.