3 Tips for Organizing a Successful League


If you’re considering organizing a sports league, there are some significant structural dangers you can avoid with the right planning. This article points out three key areas of caution you should take into account before you actually create your league. The areas are universal to any type of sports league, whether it be a baseball league, hockey league or bowling league.

Tip #1 – Find an under-served player segment

Unless you’re thinking about planning a league in a very niche sport type, chances are, in your geographic area, one or two leagues already exist in the sport you’re considering. That’s OK. The leagues that already exist are likely targeted toward a certain level of player; novice, intermediate or advanced. What you need to do is find out which level of play is under-served and create a league for that group.

For instance, in a county that has a very good recreational baseball program, chances are there are groups of more-advanced players who would like some added competition. In such an area, organizing a highly-selective, highly-competitive baseball league would be fitting. You’d be able to harness all that built-up demand for your product, and assure that the membership numbers flow in when the live gets launched.

Tip #2 – Don’t be cheap when it comes to officials

Imagine the scenario…

You’re a young basketball player. You’ve trained all summer to perfect your drive. You’ve been lifting weights and running laps around your block. Finally, it’s playoff time. You’ve got the ball and there are five seconds left. You’re down by 1. You drive to the hoop and go in for a short bank shot. The opposing defender clearly slaps your arm, and the shot goes off the rim. There’s no whistle from the ref.

That’s a horrible situation, and unfortunately, it has many more times than it should. Officials are a critical part of a league. The problem is, when they do a good job, they go unnoticed. It’s only when they already made a horrible call do people notice them and get upset.

A theme of missed calls around your league is poisonous. It leads to a loss of player morale, and even worse, arguments from spectators in the stands, which in turn can lead to even worse events. The point being, don’t cut any corners when hiring your officials. Find a credible local officiating association with a lot of experience and hire officials through them.

Tip #3 – Get modern

The majority of people playing in today’s leagues, whether they be youth leagues or even adult leagues, have grown up around the internet. You need to put yourself in their shoes when thinking about how you want to manage league information. The old way of organizing a league – with fliers, paper forms and phone trees – will not fly anymore. You need to get digital.

Here are some key places to embrace technology as a league organizer:

  • League scheduling – Do away with the spreadsheets and embrace online calendars
  • League communication – Make sure you have a reliable league website you can use to post announcements, share files and even media like photos and videos
  • League registration – Be sure to have a simple, secure online registration service set up so those interested in your league can easily make the jump into becoming members with the click of a mouse

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