Sports & Recreation Based Franchises Score Big In The American Market
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Sports & Recreation Based Franchises Score Big In The American Market

Americans love to have fun--and despite their bulging waistlines, they also like to keep fit--or spend money trying! Between these two trends there's a lot of room for franchise growth--whether for seniors, juniors, or in-betweens!

Americans have plenty of disposable income--and they like to spend it on recreational activities. From golf to cruises, fitness centers to birding and photography, there's money to be spent (and made!) in Americans' pursuit of leisure.

And when you add longer, active life spans to the picture, the opportunity for franchises serving a nation's growing appetite for recreation only widens. With seniors controlling an estimated 70 percent of the country's disposable income, there's gold in them hills.

For aging boomers trying to keep in shape, Club 50 Fitness Centers fit the bill. Club 50 offers the 50+ crowd--the nation's fastest-growing segment--a half-hour cardiovascular and muscular fitness program on hydraulic fitness equipment.

But not everyone likes to exercise--or can. Sports enthusiasts who thrive on coaching, being "armchair quarterbacks," or participating from the sidelines also can find an outlet in franchising.

Buy a Collegiate Sports of America franchise and learn how to recruit college athletes--and make money doing something you love. Identify outstanding young athletes, then direct them to CSA, which promotes them to colleges and universities for athletic scholarships and financial aid. The system claims to have helped more than 40,000 student athletes over the past two decades.

Want to be more involved? Set up your own sports leagues with an i9 Sports franchise, and tap into the nation's estimated 100 million youth and adult athletes.

Or show up at the games as a Future Stars Sports Photography franchisee. Paired with Pegasus School Images, this concept offers a dual-stream, year-round concept to turn a passion for photography, sports, and kids into a profitable home-based business. Or try TSS Photography (formerly The Sports Section), which has been in the field of youth and sports photography since the early 1980s. For the "younger set," Images 4 Kids focuses on children ranging in ages from infants to five years old.

Hit the ball
Golf, an activity that continues into the golden years, has its own niche in recreational franchises. For those who like to golf and want to make some money in the process, Simple Golf Solutions combines home lessons, golf tournaments, custom clubs, and travel into a franchise package with a very low entry cost. Perhaps you'd like to train golfers year-round by opening a Parmasters Golf Training Centers franchise--or develop your own golf tournament service business with a Global LeaderBoard franchise.

Cash in on golf's $25 billion annual market by selling golfing equipment with a Pro Golf, Golf Etc., or Golf USA retail store franchise. Or, if you want to get involved in all types of sports, open a Play It Again Sports franchise and buy, sell, and trade used and new sports equipment and gear to enthusiasts across the spectrum.

Want to add kids and families to your customer base? Try a Monster Mini Golf franchise. This concept began in 2004 as a 10,000 square-foot indoor, glow-in-the-dark, monster-themed family entertainment center.

Hit the road
A growing number of Americans like to hit the road, biker-style--and there's a franchise for them, too. For the heavy-duty road warrior (or wanna-be), EagleRider Motorcycle Rental hits the spot. This "adventure rental and motorcycle touring company" franchise rents late model motorcycle and powersport units from Harley-Davidson, Victory, Polaris, Honda, and BMW--as well as all-terrain vehicles, personal watercraft, and dirt bikes. EagleRider also offers tour packages in the U.S., Mexico, France, and Spain.

For a tamer, family experience, Wheel Fun Rentals offers a fleet that includes unique cycles, electric cars, scooters, pedal boats, kayaks, mopeds, and more for "good, clean family fun for all ages from toddlers to grandparents."

Hit the waves
Worn out yet? This might be the time to consider selling cruise packages to Americans trying to get away from it all. CruiseOne (part of NLG) is a home-based cruise-only travel agency franchise with about 400 independent agents. SeaMaster Cruises (part of Carlton Companies) allows a home-based agent to tap into the worldwide travel and hospitality network of its parent company.

Hit the mall
Quilting bees may be passé, but embroidery stores are hot. Personalized sports and recreational apparel--team uniforms, hats, golf shirts, jackets, bags, and even T-shirts--have wide appeal. EmbroidMe, with more than 250 retail stores, provides custom embroidery, screen-printing, and promotional products such as pens, mouse pads, sports items and stickers. Hometown Threads Embroidery, with 30 locations, many in Wal-Mart stores, offers personalized and unique apparel or home decor customized with a favorite image, name, date, or monogram.

Sports, speed, and travel are not everybody's cup of tea. And yes, Virginia, despite the Internet, there still are hobbyists out there--and franchise brands to serve their every need. HobbyTown USA, founded in 1980, is a retail hobby shop and toy store that serves kids of all ages nationwide. HobbyTown owners sell and provide expertise on radio control cars, airplanes, and boats, model trains, models, model rockets, gifts, games, and toys.

For the birds
Had enough? Time for a walk in the woods? Or a quiet hour watching the action at the bird feeder? Many feel a need to take a break from today's fast-paced, consumer-based, media-overload society, and seek solace in nature. But even this group needs supplies. That's where a Wild Bird Centers of America retail store franchise comes in, with a complete line of birding products such as seed, suet, feeders, baths, houses, books, hardware, and garden accessories. Birds are big business, according to the company, with more than 54 million Americans spending upwards of $4 billion to feed, house, and watch our feathered friends.

Active, passive, or somewhere in between, Americans' passion for recreation means franchise opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Published: September 20th, 2006

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