A sports franchise concept with roots starting out nearly 20 years ago, i9 Sports has today become the largest youth sports franchise opportunity across the nation, with increasing popularity among parents. Serving over 500 communities and nearly 800,000 members in the U.S., i9 Sports officially began in 2003 when the brand was created out of a need for alternative options at the amateur sports level.
Founder and CEO Frank Fiume was inspired to bring something new to the sporting world for parents and children seeking amateur sports with a new philosophy—one focused less on competition and more on character-building. "We are continuing to push the limits of our business, while creating growth and giving individuals a chance to make a living doing something they love," says Frank. The brand has indeed grown over the years to include a number of benefits for families and franchise investors.
The brand’s core attributes benefit parents and children as well as franchise partners who join a fast expanding network across the U.S., which has seen a 26 percent leap from 2012 along with projections to develop 20 new franchise locations in 2013. When asked why i9 Sports stand outs in the industry, Frank comments on the key areas that have seen refinement over previous years: "Superior customer service, superior technology, superior marketing, and constant innovation."
For potential franchise partners interested in children and sports, i9 Sports offers an ideal opportunity for individuals from various backgrounds to involve themselves in the positive development of children through a healthy outlet. As part of an ongoing aim to incorporate diversity and support skilled incoming franchisees, the i9 Sports system has been listed as a Military Friendly Franchise for three years and counting due to discounted franchise fees, financing assistance, and efforts to promote current military veteran franchisees. i9 Sports continues its involvement with IFA’s VetFran program to implement incentives for valuable military-trained franchisees.
Respect for the time and freedom of every franchise partner also motivate the brand concept, with an emphasis on franchise investors managing their own schedule to better focus on what matters most in their personal lives. i9 Sports thus implemented an effective business model centered on home-based operations and building a team of staff to best manage daily operations. Steve Cox of i9 Sports comments on this aspect of the franchise: “I have been able to remove myself from the daily operations of the business over-time, giving me more and more freedom. For the past two years we have taken two-week family vacations, which is something I was NEVER able to do when working for somebody else.”
Another critical component of i9 Sports core values, likely responsible for the popularity of i9 Sports with parents and franchisees, is the commitment to enhancing a safer and more fun-focused sports environment for children. Recent studies frequently highlight an increasingly aggressive and competitive experience for children in youth sports, with 59 percent of young athletes expecting pain to be part of the game, and an alarming 69 percent experiencing and hiding their injuries to continue playing.
i9 Sports uses a safety checklist and survey to involve parents, coaches, and children in making each game fun and less stressful for all involved. Feedback from parents and children is of the highest importance and parents are offered dedicated customer service to ensure that their experience and their child’s experience are valued and considered each step of the way. These tools in addition to clearly defined core principles focused on inclusivity and good sportsmanship facilitate a very different experience for families interested in youth sports. It’s no surprise that i9 Sports was ranked the #1 Children’s Fitness Franchise by Entrepreneur Magazine, a ranking that illustrates the rapid exposure and growth that the concept has seen as it approaches its 10th anniversary this year. To further research how you can start a flexible career with an innovative youth sports franchise, visit here.