December 04, 2008 // Franchising.com // Brandon, FL – i9 Sports, the world's first and fastest-growing youth sports franchise, announced today the appointment of Brian Sanders, a respected industry veteran with more than 25-years of proven success in management, marketing and sales, to the company's Chief Operating Officer position. Sanders is no stranger to i9 Sports, having played a key role in shaping the company's image when he served as a consultant to founder Frank V. Fiume.
"Brian's extensive experience in guiding companies toward their growth potential will help us turn i9 Sports into a household name," Fiume said. "He is a true leader and his professional character and skills make him an invaluable asset to the i9 Sports team."
Focusing on equal play for every child, good sportsmanship and building self-esteem, i9 Sports boasts more than 190,000 members in 750 communities across 28 states, and projects to reach 1,000 communities in 2009. Despite economic downturns, membership numbers have grown by 350 percent in the last two years. The success can be attributed to the fact that unlike other leagues, i9 Sports has no tryouts or drafts, and provides an opportunity for all kids to play in each game, in all positions.
As the COO, Sanders will manage the company's day-to-day operations, focusing on Fiume's vision for i9 Sports and turning that vision into profitable and sustainable growth strategies for the franchise system and for each i9 Sports franchise owner. Bringing Sanders onto the i9 Sports team will allow Fiume to focus on further developing the i9 Sports brand and philosophy at the national level.
"I am thrilled to have the opportunity to return to i9 Sports during this time of extraordinary growth for the company," Sanders said. "I am looking forward to building on the great practices already established by the talented i9 staff. My goal is to continue building a brand that will one day serve every U.S. community."
Before joining i9 Sports, Sanders served as the Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President of Sales for ADVO, Inc, a leader in direct marketing services. There he was responsible for managing $1 billion in revenue and more than 600 employees. Sanders also served as Director of Marketing for Maybelline Cosmetics; Senior Vice President of US Marketing and Senior Vice President of Global Marketing for Pilkington Barnes Hind, a global contact lens and lens care manufacturer and a principal consultant for Marketing Outsourcing, LLC, a marketing focused management consulting firm.
Sanders also has the unique experience of founding his own business concept. In 2006, he created ClearAmbition.com, the first online career guidance program for teens, college students and adults. This endeavor has given Sanders particular understanding into what it takes to build a successful company from the ground up and better insight into the life of an entrepreneurial franchise owner.
Founded in 2003 by Frank V. Fiume, i9 Sports is the world's first and fastest-growing youth sports franchise, offering flag football, basketball, soccer, cheerleading, and other sports for kids ages 4 to 14. i9 Sports leagues put an emphasis on having fun and not on winning. There are no tryouts, drafts, or fundraisers, and i9 Sports encourages equal playing time for all kids in an effort to boost self-esteem. The name i9 Sports is based on nine principles that best symbolize the company's franchise and core ideology: imaginative, innovative, interactive, integrity-driven, impassioned, inspirational, instructional, insightful and inclusive. With more than 180,000 members in 750 communities, i9 Sports is planning an international expansion in 2010. The Franchise Business Review named i9 Sports the #1 mid-size franchise for 2008 and the #1 Sports, Recreation and Fitness franchise two years in a row. Entrepreneur Magazine recently ranked i9 Sports as the 15th Top New Franchise in America. For more information, visit www.i9sports.com