In this exclusive Franchise Chatter Q&A, we get to learn more about i9 Sports from franchisee, and former NFL player, Keith Smith.
Franchise Chatter (FC): Tell us about your sports background.
Keith Smith (KS): Prior to purchasing an i9 Sports® franchise, I played professional football for the NFL as a cornerback for the Detroit Lions, San Francisco 49ers and Omaha Nighthawks.
FC: How will your professional football experience influence your i9 Sports league?
KS: My experience in the NFL taught me countless skills that helped me both on the field and off it. I learned invaluable life lessons including teamwork, time management, responsibility, perseverance, organization and more. I believe not only that these qualities will help me make this league a success, but will also provide a valuable resource for families in my community.
One of i9 Sports’ core values is that children can learn life lessons through youth sports, and I hope to help our players do just that by providing a safe and fun environment that promotes the importance of healthy competition and good sportsmanship.
FC: How did you get involved with i9 Sports?
KS: I first learned about i9 Sports from a former teammate, whose son plays for one of the leagues in Jacksonville. After being introduced to the brand, I did extensive research on the company’s franchising opportunities and was immediately impressed with the business model and saw immense profit potential.
In addition to the company’s proven track record of success, I also felt as though the i9 Sports core values aligned with my own in regards to how I believe the youth sports experience should be. I knew it was not only an excellent business opportunity, but also a good fit for me personally.
FC: Tell us more about i9 Sports. How many locations are there nationwide?
KS: i9 Sports is the nation’s first and fastest-growing youth sports franchise. It was founded in 2003 on the belief that the number one reason kids play organized sports is to have fun, not to become the next draft pick, which is a philosophy I believe in.
i9 Sports operates more than 4,100 youth sports programs in 780 communities across the United States.
FC: Where is your i9 Sports franchise located? What programs does it offer?
KS: My i9 Sports league is located in Douglasville, Ga., about 30 minutes outside of Atlanta. We currently operate out of two venues in the area, Fowler Field Park and Jessie Davis Park, and offer basketball, baseball, cheerleading, flag football and soccer.
FC: What makes i9 Sports a good franchise opportunity?
KS: With convenient flexible hours, no real estate or upfront inventory, i9 Sports is a low-investment, home-based franchise opportunity offering entrepreneurs a compelling business with great profit potential.
Additionally, there is immense room for growth in the youth sports market, considering that it’s a multi-billion dollar a year industry encompassing 42 million participants
FC: How is i9 Sports different from other youth sports leagues?
KS: i9 Sports has truly reinvented the youth sports industry with its signature i9 Sports Experience® that emphasizes fun, safety and convenience as well as teaching the value of good sportsmanship.
Additionally, programs are conveniently offered one day a week with practice right before the game, a policy that resonates amongst families with demanding schedules, multiple kids, careers, etc.
i9 Sports has also combated the common parental bad behavior that plagues youth sports sidelines, asking parents to sign a Parental Pledge to help make sure each child has a fun and enjoyable experience motivated by good sportsmanship.
Lastly, i9 Sports supports healthy competition and believes that every child should be both encouraged and given the opportunity to make the most of his/her abilities. This means that there is equal playing time regardless of talent level and there are no tryouts or drafts.
FC: What is i9 Sports’ stance on safety within youth sports?
KS: i9 Sports is a leader in raising national awareness about safety in youth sports and specifically, concussion safety. i9 Sports was the first national youth sports league to implement a “when in doubt, sit them out” concussion safety policy and education for parents and coaches system-wide.
As a former NFL player, this is an issue that is particularly important to me as I’ve seen first-hand the consequences of repetitive concussions. It’s extremely important to protect youth sports players from suffering from head injuries that can hinder their development and lives later on, and I’m proud to join a company that’s so committed to spreading awareness on the threat of concussions in youth sports.