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Sports franchises – a healthy investment opportunity

As a nation, the UK is pretty sport-obsessed. But then you’d expect nothing less from a country that invented football, rugby, cricket, tennis, badminton and table tennis. And not content with creating these games, we also published the rules and taught the rest of the world how to play.

Today, the UK is home to the Premier League, Wimbledon, the Open and countless other major sporting events. And it’s not just watching it that we love. It’s getting involved too. Across the country at weekends, the sports fields and clubs ring out to the sound of Sunday league football, village cricket, park tennis and more.

With around 60% or 27 million adults doing more than 150 minutes of exercise a week, there is a big market for sports-related businesses. And that’s where sports franchises come in.

The UK sports market is worth about £23.8 billion a year, with around one million people employed in some kind of sporting capacity. From ground staff to coaches, and caterers to Premier League managers, sport generates business and income in huge amounts. And as well as public sporting bodies such as the FA and LTA, there is also a huge market for private sector business. Sporting franchises can supply coaching, products, facilities and other forms of services.

However, the truth is that being independent in such a busy market place can be very tough. As a sports coach, for example, you probably love getting out on to the pitch or court and working with students to help them improve their game. Maybe you love being in the gym and seeing your classes get fitter and healthier each week. So you probably don’t want to have to eat into this game time by having to do publicity, branding or staff training.

What you want is access to a tried and tested business model. One that comes with branding in place and a respected name that customers trust. An established brand can provide a readymade client base and open doors for new opportunities. It can provide discounted supply chains, contacts, management experience and much more. In short, what you need is a sports franchise.

What kind of sports franchises are available?

There are sports franchises available in all sorts of areas, but the most common fall into a few key groups.

Gym franchises

Over the last few decades the rise of the gym has been spectacular. Once the preserve of boxers and serious weight lifters, the gym has emerged to become a huge part of modern life. With increasing pressure on us to look and feel good, the gym has become the go-to place for us to exercise. With convenient memberships, social interaction and modern facilities making exercise more fun, gyms can be found all over the country. And it’s a business that lends itself particularly well to the franchise system.

The initial outlay for a gym is high. You need premises and lots of expensive equipment, and without financial support this can be difficult. You also need a client base and promotion to get people interested. All of which a franchise can provide. Plus, the brand recognition factor is also huge.

Fitness classes

If weights and individual training is not your thing, you might prefer something like yoga or Pilates. These offer a more sociable exercise option, and one that relies on expert instruction. Other classes like aerobics, boxercise and a whole new range of dance fitness classes are also available as franchises, with the training and publicity being key areas of support.

Sports clubs

Again, offering a nice mix of exercise and social interaction, the sports club is a British institution. With everything from tennis to bowls, sports clubs bring like-minded people together to play.

Sports coaching franchises

It can sometimes be difficult to find a great coach in any sport, which is why people prefer training that follows an established model. With proven development structures in place, making it easy to mark and evaluate performance and improvement, the coaching franchise model works well in this niche.

Children sports franchises

Although we mentioned above that 60% of adults get regular exercise each week, it’s also sadly the case that a massive 25% get little to no regular exercise. That’s one in four of us sitting around, not putting our bodies to the test or improving our personal fitness. Unfortunately, many of these bad habits start in childhood. An aversion to sports and fitness can persist through life, and result in significant health problems in later years, which is why it is so important to get kids into and enjoying sport from an early age.

Whether it’s swimming, tennis, gymnastics or football, there are lots of options for children’s sports franchises. Working with kids and seeing their enjoyment in sport is very rewarding. And there are major benefits for society as a whole. Plus, with parents more conscious than ever before that it’s important for their little ones to be active, there are plenty of opportunities for sports franchises.

Why choose a franchise?

Of course, all of the above could be started as independent businesses. With the right investment and experience you could open your own gym. If you’re a trained instructor there is nothing to stop you running your own yoga classes. But as we mentioned above, there are several notable benefits to being part of a franchise.

Perhaps chief amongst them is the location and securing of premises. This is a notoriously difficult thing to do, and negotiating leases takes experience to get right. With the power of a franchise behind you, you’ll stand a much better chance of getting the right property at the right price. For businesses that rely partially on convenience, like gyms and fitness classes, this can be the difference between success and failure.

Branding is another key asset of the franchise model. Recognisable names and logos have been proven time and again to have a big impact on the success of a business. A successful coaching franchise depends on its brand reputation for producing results, and as part of a franchise you get the benefits of prior success.

Franchises also provide established business models. There might be a lot of scope within the sporting world for business success, but for every success story there are several businesses that never made it. Knowing that your business model works could be invaluable when setting up in the market place.

The time a franchise can save you in terms of working on branding, PR, training and more can also be incredibly useful as it leaves you free to do what you do best – working hard to get results and keep your customers happy. All these reasons and more explain why people choose franchises to help them establish successful businesses in the UK.

Sports in the UK are very important. Its business potential proves that beyond doubt. But success is never guaranteed and with a franchise you give yourself the best possible chance of creating a viable and successful sports enterprise. With sporting participation now dropping for the first time since the 2012 Olympics, it’s more important now than ever before to get out there and make a difference.

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