Ultimate Guide to Building an Active Sports Community
8 Meaningful Ways You Can Build a Massive Sports Community.
So, you want to build your own sports community, but aren't sure where to start?
Earlier we took a look at how you can get your friend to join your pick-up group. Playing sports with your friends is great, but what if you wanted to expand your pick-up sports group? In this article, we will cover the 2 phases of building an active sports community and how you can get your sports groups/teams lifted off of the ground.
All of our successful communities have followed these steps and have garnered great results. Now it’s your turn!
Fundamental Knowledge You Need to Build a Community
Before you jump right into the first phase, let's take a look at some key factors that are going to play a part in the growth of your sports community.
Understanding who your target audience is and what their goals are is important to keep in mind when you are building your community. For example, do you want to build a community around pick-up basketball in Toronto on Friday evenings? The more specific you get the better. This will help you acquire "high-value" members when you are first starting out.
A player becomes a "high-value" member of your community when:
Their goals align with the communities values.
They are encouraged to participate in group engagements.
Are able to share their experience and values with others.
Phase 1: Developing Your Community
Now that you have a few of the fundamentals for building an active sports community it's time to assemble your own.
1. Be Purpose Driven
We touched on this point briefly at the start of this article. Developing a purpose behind your sports community allows other players to identify your values.
When someone comes across your community, you want them to understand the value your group provides them. Clearly depicting your community can clear all confusion any new players might have and will be the foundation for your community.
"Make every detail perfect and limit the
number of details to perfect.”
- Jack Dorsey, Co-Founder and CEO of Twitter
2. Word of Mouth Marketing
Provide an experience to your players. When people join your community you want them to have an experience that is worth sharing. Word of mouth is such a valuable growth strategy and can make or break your communities reputation. How many of you have downloaded an app or bought something based on friends or family sharing it with you.
You want to invoke this kind of viral loop within your community. This can be done by creating a great user experience and by encouraging referrals from your players.
3. Starting Small
Scaling an athletic community takes time, and the fact of the matter is, you are going to have to start small. Invite a couple of your friends and family to join your community, maybe host a couple of pick-up games. If they enjoy their experience, ask them to bring a couple more people next time you guys meet. This ties into word-of-mouth marketing, but is a simple and easy way to start scaling.
Can't find anyone to play sports with when you are first starting off? The Javelin app can be a great place to start your sports community. You can meet other players in your area that are actively looking to join and play with sports communities.
We have some more information on how you can host pick-up games for your local community to help you get started!
4. Validate Your Users' Values
People join sports communities and teams based on their values. In order to keep people engaged with your community, it is important that you validate what it is they seek. If someone joined your community to play basketball, make sure that their needs are met by creating a basketball game for everyone to join.
Making sure that someone's needs are met plays a part in the quality of your community. Some easy ways your can validate your users' values are by:
Create high-value conversations within your group.
Host sporting events in your local area and invite all of your members.
Partner with other groups that have the same values as your community.
Now that you have your foundation laid out, it is time to scale your community. One of the best ways to do this is by taking your community online. A great resource to use is Javelin, which allows you to build public and private teams where you can connect with other athletes, and scale your community.
Phase 2: Bringing Your Community Online
Now that you have developed the values within your community and have a basic understanding of what engages and connects people, it’s time to launch your community online.
Online communities are a great way for people to meet like-minded individuals and connect with other athletes/players before they meet up in person. You can start an online community by creating an online group chat on Facebook, WhatsApp, Javelin, and more!
5. Fuel Online Participation
When people first join online communities, the first thing they probably do is take a look at online participation. If no one is chatting with each other in your group chat, then it seems like the community is dead and they won't join. Don’t let this happen!
Be the fuel your community needs to thrive. Chat with everyone that joins your group, create events, and build out mini-communities within your group. These can be subgroups for different sports, like basketball, soccer, etc. A great resource for athletes who want to build sports communities is the Javelin app. You can build a team to host your community, create subgroups for your community, and invite new players to your community. All done in one app.
6. Build Trust
Building a sports community requires a lot of trust between players. Especially as you acquire a massive amount of random players. A great way to build trust amongst players is to get them to introduce themselves. This can be a simple message they send that tells other players the sports they like and where they usually play!
An example of a great introduction you can send is:
"Hey everyone! My name is Adam, my favourite sports to play are basketball and soccer. I usually play Saturday nights at my local park in downtown Toronto."
This tells the group a little bit about yourself and is the beginning stage in building a relationship between players.
7. Give Your Players Control
In sports communities, it is important to give some of the control to your player base. As you grow your community, you are going to have a mix of people who want to play sports on certain days and at certain times. This might not be feasible for just you to organize.
Giving control to the players in your community to host and chat as they please will allow your members to connect better and will allow your community to seep into your member's networks.
8. Grow Your User Base
Once you have a foundation laid and an online community started, it's time to scale.
Invite your ideal players to join your group/community. This can be done in a number of different ways,
Tapping into your member's networks.
Social media reach outs.
Provide a great experience for your players. (Both on and off the court).
Build off of your player's values.
Growing your sports community might not be the easiest task to do, but assembling a group of like-minded individuals who all share a love for sports is enough to get started.