There’s a lot of money in sports. Usually, that adage is associated with negativity — high player salaries, ticket prices, concessions — but on another level, it’s true on a small business level.
Sports present a lot of small business opportunities to entrepreneurs and there are plenty of sports business ideas that don’t require any athletic ability whatsoever. In fact, there are a number of businesses that are more just ways of marketing established businesses to a sports audience.
Athletics appeal to one of the broadest ranges of people. For many children, youth sports remain a rite of passage. And adults are being encouraged to be more athletic every day.
Check out these hot — and potentially lucrative — sports business ideas.
Hot Sports Business Ideas
For a lot of blue-chip college recruits, they’re making names for themselves in elementary school — literally — thanks to the fame they’ve built on YouTube and other video sites. Professionally edited “mixtapes” showcasing their skills serve as a way of getting their names in front of the public and, more importantly, college recruiters.
This isn’t just for the Thon Maker’s of the world, either. Any high school athlete with eyes on an athletic scholarship can benefit from a seamless highlight reel.
Every youth sports team still takes the time to sit down for team and individual pictures. These images often become family keepsakes and are shared with relatives and friends. And there’s usually a local photographer responsible for delivering those images.
Your community’s youth soccer league generally looks for a local photographer. Marketing your photo studio to these organizations could land a lucrative and long-lasting contract.
Want to go beyond the standard still team shot or the posed standing-with-bat picture? One of the more popular trends in youth sports is for a team or organization to partner with a photographer who can deliver in-game action shots.
Parents can then check out the real-time photos being taken of their youngster and purchase prints of their kids sliding into second base or hitting a big shot.
Sure, the value of some of those sportscards has come down drastically in recent years but there’s still a thriving sports memorabilia market.
A word of advice: for as long as there has been sports memorabilia, there has been an active fraudulent sports memorabilia market, too.
Sports League Organizer
We’re not talking the level of the NFL’s Roger Goodell but starting a sports league on the local level is a real possibility for a creative entrepreneur.
Amateur public basketball leagues, kickball leagues, dodgeball leagues all have someone at the helm to keep it all organized.
Referees are typically in high demand and it can become a regular gig for a lot of solopreneurs. Scholastic and collegiate sports organizations are always in need of refs for any number of sports.
Additionally, amateur athletics organizations — like the Amateur Softball Association — have a regular call for umpires and other officials.
Solopreneurs with some time to commit can become a team coach. Typically, these roles are filled by former players — not necessarily star players, either — with a knowledge of how the game is played and taught.
Coaching gigs are typically available through local school districts and at colleges and universities. Also, select and travel teams certainly need coaches.
Tennis coaches. Golf coaches. They’re still in demand and if you’re skilled in the sport, there’s a young protege in waiting who could benefit from one-to-one sessions.
Those examples are pretty standard. Today, specialization in sports has opened new opportunities. Think, a shot coach for basketball. A goalie coach in hockey.
Sports Camp Organizer
Camps can last anywhere from one day to a week or longer. These are specialized training sessions usually held during off-season months for players of a sport to hone their skills.
The best sports camps partner with a locally well-known athlete to boost credibility and attendance.
Personal Fitness Trainer
There’s always a demand for people to help others get healthy. Really, those people need personal trainers to keep them to a fitness regimen.
Becoming a trainer requires a lot less overhead and infrastructure in place to get started, too.
Whether it’s investing in a gym franchise or starting a small independent weight room, fitness-conscious people and bodybuilders need “their church” where they congregate.
This type of business clearly requires a little investment, obviously. Gym equipment, a gym, and insurance are just the beginning.
Martial Arts Instructor
There is a rise in interest of martial arts of all kinds. This goes beyond the ordinary karate dojo, too.
Martial arts enthusiasts are showing keen interest in more specialized forms of the sport. Of course, the rise of mixed martial arts fighting has increased interest in martial arts, too.
Private practice psychologists can market their scientific skills to the athlete’s mind. There’s usually a lot going on up there.
Create a marketing campaign that targets athletes. And it needn’t be athletes that are struggling with performance slumps either. Coaches needing confidence, assertiveness, and leadership training may seek counsel, too.
Yoga appeals to a particular audience but it can benefit so many more.
Marketing an existing yoga studio to team or field sports athletes can boost the amount of people walking into that studio. Targeting an entire team and offering a package deal on a special night — one you may normally not be open — may help alleviate any insecurities these athletes may have about attending yoga.
This is another business that only requires a targeted marketing effort. Reach out to teams local to your practice and offer your services.
Got a passion for one particular team, sport, player, or league? Craft a clever domain name — hint: a lot of the names you’ve probably already thought of are taken — and get to producing a lot of content.
Remember, the sports blogosphere is a crowded one. To stand out, you’ll need a unique take or angle and content quality is of the utmost importance. You’ve got to know as much as and more than the average fan.
Sports Bar Owner
Not everyone in the business of sports needs to participate in on-field activities. The public still likes to watch sports more than play them. And they need a place, in public, to watch these games with their fellow die-hard fans.
Bounce House Owner
A popular group outing — especially for kids (and their parents) — are bounce houses. We’re not talking the blow-up variety at a children’s party, either. Think, a room full of trampolines.
Skate Park Owner
Skateboarding remains one of the most popular action sports. Of course, there are a lot of concerns that need to be addressed before you allow anyone to start going airborne off ramps and trick apparatus.
These are just a few sports business ideas, do you have any to share? List some of your ideas below.
Soccer Photo via Shutterstock
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