SportsEngine.com & NBC Sports Go All-in to Promote Youth Sports Organizations
This Story Courtesy of SportsEngine
Youth sports organizations need three things to effectively market themselves to their communities: time, money, and experience. But the three things in short supply at most youth sports organizations – many of them run as nonprofits by a handful of volunteer parents – are time, money, and marketing experience.
“I've spoken with countless coaches and administrators, and they all seem to face the same challenge," said Brandon Anderson, Director of Product at SportsEngine. "They know how to manage an organization, schedule a team, and coach kids of all ages, but they don't have the time or tools they need to let people know that they exist.”
Families searching for the right youth sports programs have long faced similar "where do I start?" woes. They’ve relied on word of mouth, sifted through dozens of unsolicited flyers and emails, or spent hours tumbling down the Google rabbit hole. If they’re lucky, they'll put together a rough picture of which sports programs are available for their kids.
Thanks to the work of Anderson and his team, that once-elusive connection between organizations and parents is just a few simple keystrokes away at SportsEngine.com.
SportsEngine’s new youth sports directory, the largest of its kind in North America, allows parents to search and compare more than 100,000 programs and organizations across the U.S. and Canada, then filter by sport, gender, age, zip code and more to find the perfect fit for their kids.
“We're adding 50 to 100 new programs, tournaments, camps, and clinics every day,” said Anderson. “At this pace, we expect to have tens of thousands of active program listings for parents and families to choose from at any given time.”
Affordability and total program cost are important questions for parents. So Anderson made sure to feature no- and lower-cost programs from the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, YMCAs, and thousands of local clubs and associations on SportsEngine. The national governing bodies for several sports have also included their introductory or “Try for Free” programs.
The SportsEngine.com directory currently lists 20 sports types, including: baseball, basketball, cheerleading, cross country, cycling, dance, diving, fencing, field hockey, figure skating, golf, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse, rugby, running, skiing, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track & field, volleyball, water polo, and wrestling. More categories will be added as organizations create listings for their programs.
SportsEngine has been a leader in the youth sports industry for nearly a decade, and provides the B2B sports team and league management software that has powered more than 650,000 teams, leagues, clubs, and National Governing Bodies. “The things organizations are worried about the most are growing their sport and growing their organization,” Anderson said. “To do this, they need to be constantly connecting with new families and encouraging them to join because kids are naturally aging out or graduating every year.”
SportsEngine creates new opportunities for organizations to connect with potential new participants. “Let's say a kid sees their first hockey game on TV and gets super excited to play, but their parents don't know anything about hockey. What do they do?" asked Anderson. "SportsEngine is designed to help rookie sports parents and seasoned veterans make an informed decision for their kids."
There’s no charge to be listed in the directory, and administrators can create or claim their organizations on SportsEngine.com at any time. SportsEngine, an NBC Sports Group company, then works with the administrators to add programs and update organization details.
Anderson and his team are also building a review system that allows parents to rate each program and ensure that listed organizations are reputable. Ratings will use a star system, and Parent Reviews will ask questions like, ‘How much fun did my child have?’ ‘Was the program a good value?’ ‘Did my child learn?’ Additionally, parents can provide direct feedback to organizations so they can continuously improve their offerings.
SportsEngine.com will also help parents identify key details about organizations, leagues, camps, and clinics by adding badges to program listings that perform background screenings, are looking for coaches and volunteers, or are affiliated with a National Governing Body.
Starting next week, NBC will begin promoting SportsEngine.com across its network of on-air and digital media properties. Contest giveaways and other promotions throughout the NBC family of companies will be used to build awareness of SportsEngine.com and drive parents to the youth sports directory.