Most of the sports facility managers I talk to on a regular basis are always looking for new programming ideas. In particular, baseball and softball facilities are usually looking for ideas because they’re typically at risk for over-relying on rentals – which is one of the top contributors to sports center failure.
If you’re struggling to come up with diverse programming for your sports center, consider hosting umpiring clinics.
Umpiring clinics offer your baseball and softball facility several advantages. The participants are not school-aged kids, which compose a bulk of your regular clients, so you might be able to host the clinic during non-peak hours. Also, umpires are typically well-connected in your local baseball and softball community, so meeting them and getting them familiar with your facility is likely to result in referrals and word-of-mouth marketing. Finally, working with an outside organization to host a class at your own location compliments your marketing efforts.
How to Host an Umpiring Clinic
Find the experts: The first step is to connect with the people and organizations in your area that specialize in training local umpires. Here’s a link to an MLB.com article on the process of becoming an professional umpire, but a simple web search with your local city should yield results for local organizations, if you’re not already familiar with them. Once you connect with the local organization and the decision maker, you can discuss their specific needs and determine whether or not you can meet those needs.
Decide on a revenue split: If you find a fit, the first item of discussion will probably be pricing. How much will each participant pay for the clinic? Of that price, how will the revenue be split between your sports complex and the umpiring organization? I suggest establishing a percentage rate for the overall revenue generated. This way, both of your organizations will have an incentive to increase marketing efforts to get more participants. As always, class programming brings in the most revenue for the space than any other programming option, so even when the third party organization is taking a cut of the profit, it’s worth it.
Nail down the details: Finalize the other details, such as the dates, times, curriculum and staff. Remember to build in time to market the clinic, just as you would with any other event at your facility, and discuss how the umpire organization will assist in marketing efforts. There’s no need to implement a lengthy contract, but it’s best to get at least some written record of your agreement. You can also decide whether you want to require a deposit for the space. Consider your potential lost revenue if they cancel, and consider that as you build a relationship, these safeguards will become less necessary.
After you confirm the details, proceed with enrollment as you would for any other class, hopefully via your online baseball scheduling software!
To schedule a consultation with Mike Meszaros on sports facility management, call (513) 791-4940.