Hosting a Local Sports Franchise Made Easy



By John O’Leary

If there is anything that hits close to home with the lovely, old American Dream it is the notion of owning a sports team. Heck – legendary billionaire George Steinbrenner reportedly purchased the New York Yankees baseball team using just $5,000 of his own money, the rest wheedled from investors and borrowed from banks. He then let the profits from the team pay back these schlubs and then he owned the team pretty much outright. That’s how Steinbrenner purchased, arguably, the most iconic American sports franchise, the all-but-omniscient Bronx Bombers.


Can you do this, too? Certainly, but slow down. Like anything in life, it helps to practice first, so let’s get back to our beverages and get real for a minute. How about starting with a local sports team, the type that might be sponsored by a local pub or a pizzeria, something within reach. What do you need to do that?

The first decision

The first decision usually isn’t a decision at all, but it’s about choosing a sport that you believe you are suited for. This usually requires no deliberation, because sports team owners usually start with a passion for one particular sport. It just hits them suddenly in the chest like a flying anvil: Call it the Anvil of Epiphany! You are gonna start a badminton team and become state champs or your name isn’t fill in the blank. That’s the spirit! Go get ’em, Diamond Jim!

The second decision

Now that you’ve chosen a sport, you should figure out what league would be suited to your ambitions. Do you want to play in a high-stakes league with top-notch talent – where the fees would be higher – or settle for an entry-level, anyone who shows up can play sort of thing? How much energy do you want to put into this? You might do some research to figure out what the competition does. Do they practice once a month or six days a week? What kind of commitment can you make?

Uniforms and equipment You have a variety of uniform options ranging from striped baseball socks to home-made, tie-dyed tee shirts and cut off shorts to kevlar jerseys with matching warm-up suits. There are plenty of sports team catalogs that can outfit your team, but keep in mind not every player returns team equipment at the end of the season. You might simply acknowledge that fact beforehand and adjust your fees accordingly, allowing players to keep certain items while returning others.

You need a name and a logo

Some would debate that the team’s name is more important than winning, but this argument goes out the window when the Mighty Ducks win the national championship. Who cares about the name? Go for the trophy, knucklehead.

However, a great sports team name is fun and might help with recruiting. “Hey, would you like to play softball this spring? You could play left field for the Dandelions!” Somehow, that isn’t quite the same as asking someone to play for the Cobras, the Killer Bees or the Horned Toads.


Ah – money. Again, you need to do some research here. First, find out if there are league fees. Second, figure out what your budget should be. You might talk with your players first and find out if they want a team dinner at the end of the season and how much that will cost or if they just want to end the season with a team cheer and a drink at the pub.

Recruit players

Remember, there’s a big difference recruiting players for beach volleyball – two players required – or a local soccer team, which takes 11 players at the very minimum to field a team.

Local recruiting is made easier by delegating. You might know a few players, but those players also know a few possible recruits. Let the players pass the word around. They usually know competitive players who are friends of theirs, contributing to team spirit.

Managers and captains

It helps to have a chain of command. Players respect that and they expect that, too. They can vote for a team captain or two, but the team’s sponsors should select the manager who not only knows the game but knows how to handle the various personalities on your team.

Prepare to suffer

The other guys are bigger, stronger, faster, taller, more experienced, have better equipment are better organized, have really cool racing stripes on their uniforms, play like a team, practice six hours a day and some of them have the team logo – a Trash Hound, obviously – tattooed on their biceps.

What can you do? You can’t win every game, but you can fight every battle to the bitter end with your head held high. The players are having fun and even if their children are slightly embarrassed, they will respect you for trying. Hold up your head. Walk proud. You done good, Horned Toad!

Powered by

Speak Your Mind