What Startup Sports Leagues Remind Us About Business

While the major professional sports leagues will always garner support and views, there has been a recent rise in smaller scale startup leagues who intend to grow.

The early stages of these leagues are extremely important, and often set up the league for either success or failure.

A recent article by Forbes Sports details what a startup league needs for success, especially in the early stages of launching out onto the market.

“While having a substantial base of passionate fans is a must for a startup sports league, it does not guarantee success. (Investors continue to pour money into spring football, behind the idea that American sports fans can never get enough pigskin, despite the various failed non-NFL leagues.) That’s why the product still needs to resonate with the target demographic.

As Pollack said in an interview with Sportico, it all starts with the action between the lines. The on-field competition creates the foundation for a gameday experience that should be enjoyable, memorable and shareable.

“The competition needs to be full of energy, integrity and meaning for the participants and fans,” Pollack said. “It is the connective tissue among your fans, players and the stories they have to tell.”

Once sports properties are delivering meaningful competition on the field, they then should focus their efforts on storytelling and connecting with the audience. Conveying who the participants are and why the fans should care about them can go a long way in creating interest in the property’s live events. The content should be fresh, engaging and snackable, across a range of platforms, Pollack said, and “geared to the viewing habits of a new generation of sports fans that is frankly more interested in athletes and personalities than they are teams.”

Read the rest of this article here. 

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An important line from this article reads That’s why the product still needs to resonate with the target demographic.” 


For sporting leagues, the product in question is the athletes and their performances. Startup leagues have to evaluate what makes their league different from the major ones that dominate the market, and they must lean into that difference.


You have to do something different in order to find success. 


This is true for these startup sports leagues, and it is true for businesses as well. Analyze the market that your products lies within to ensure that your services are fulfilling a customer need that cannot be satisfied by any other company.


This article also states that “energy, integrity and meaning” need to be present within a startup, and the same goes for a business venture. 


The energy comes through in your branding and marketing efforts, while the integrity and meaning come from your ability to show up for your clients and deliver on your promises.


Always consider your business as a startup sports league. Continue working to strengthen your model and cater to your fans and your employees in the process. 


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