April 06, 2010 // Franchising.com // Brandon, FL – With the tremulous economy taking a toll on parents' discretionary spending, a record number of families turned to the i9 Sports Association, the not-for-profit arm of national youth sports franchise, i9 Sports, to secure the funding needed to ensure that their children can play the sports they love.
Families' applications for funding increased more than 100% in the last year. In 2009, the i9 Sports Association awarded 216 grants to families who did not have the means to cover their children's enrollment fees, up from 98 in 2008.
"i9 Sports is all about building up a child's self esteem and giving them the skills to be a better person as they move into adulthood," said Frank Fiume, founder and CEO of i9 Sports. "The mission of our Association is to help as many kids as possible have the chance to benefit from the life lessons learned from playing organized sports."
Any child between the ages of 4-14 who is interested in playing in an i9 Sports league and whose parents or guardians can not afford to cover the league registration fee is eligible for a grant through the i9 Sports Association. At minimal or no cost to the parent/guardian, grant recipients enjoy participation in a local i9 Sports program, ranging from flag football, basketball, soccer to cheerleading. Sports programs available vary by location.
Fiume launched the i9 Sports Association after learning of the growing number of children who could not participate because their families couldn't afford to pay for organized sports programs.
"As i9 Sports continues to grow and serve new communities across America each day, we are also able to expand our grant making to impact a larger share of kids who can't afford to play sports," Fiume said. "Its so rewarding to know that we're helping more children each year succeeds in life through sports. The lessons they learn will stick with them forever."
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. With nearly 300,000 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. Most recently, i9 sports was featured as an AllBusiness AllStar Franchise among the top 300 franchises in the country.