How Sports Teams Can Prepare To Return in 2021

James Cookson

December 5, 2020

When you got lit up in practice so you already know how the game is gonna go.

2020 has been an exhausting year all around. With new restrictions being introduced intermittently throughout the year, sports teams have been forced to either drastically change how they operate or simply shutdown all together. For sports club operators and non-profit organizations that have closed their doors early on or throughout the winter months, it can be difficult to determine what to expect heading into 2021. With talks of vaccination coming down the pipe and perhaps a possible glimpse at normalcy, it's relevant now more than ever to prepare for a hopeful return, but expect a completely new experience moving forward.

How can your sports club stay proactive?

With hope for a return to sport in some capacity over the next few months, clubs need to be prepared both internally with measurements in place within their facilities and amongst their athletes. What specific procedures need to be in place obviously depends on the sport, their location and ultimately their government policies. That said, many things can be done proactively in a digital capacity to ensure athletes, coaches, staff, etc. are properly informed and prepared for a return.

Refreshing your sports team's website

Many businesses, certainly sports teams, are ready to put 2020 in the rearview mirror. Perhaps your New Years resolution list can include a breath of fresh air for your website. Not to mention, much of the content that exists on many sports club's websites is no longer accurate with the amount of changes that have occurred since March. As opposed to dissecting your existing page to make changes, it might be time for a complete overhaul.

How do I make changes to my team's website?

If you have a "website guy" that makes changes for you, it might be time to reach out to him/her in order to have an update ready for the new year. If you already do, or would prefer to operate your site yourself, here are a list of website builders to take a peak at:

Wix is one of the simpler platforms to get started on. They offer plenty of templates to start your site with and of these options, likely includes the smallest learning curve. They also offer very affordable site plans.

Squarespace is a more design-centric alternative to Wix. Through our experience, the learning curve is slightly larger, but the templates are typically more elegant. The pricing for Squarespace is similar albeit slightly more expensive than Wix.

Webflow is a great option for those with experience managing/building a website. The learning curve is steep and if you don't consider yourself a "techy", then it may be overwhelming. That said, the building and editing experience is great and allows for a lot of freedom and integration.

Don't want to build your site yourself, but don't want to spend a lot either?

If you have ideas for your site's design, but you're not interested in learning how to build it entirely, the team at Self Made Media offers an affordable web design service that's extremely easy to get started and doesn't require any building on your part. As for site management once it's complete, they offer the ability to make text and image changes to your site at your own discretion, or simply call/email to request changes if that's easier for you.

Take a look here -> Self Made Media

Getting active on your social media

If you're like most sports teams with one or more social media account, you've likely been recycling content from the "good old days" prior to lockdowns. It may be time now to start looking into the hopeful future and creating content around returning to sport, expectations for safety and ultimately getting your athletes (reasonably) excited about sport in 2020. Many platforms exist to post-date and schedule posts for the future. This may be helpful for having content ready for opening day. Take a look at HootSuite or Later.com to schedule your posts in November 2020.

Build your registration platform

When sport finally returns to a normal degree, clubs can likely expect a massive uptick in sign ups from anxious athletes that have been stuck in their home for the better part of a year. Maybe now more than ever, clubs should have a reliable, streamlined process to register new athletes into their sport. If you've been operating with pen and paper up until now, this is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the downtime and look at an affordable, digital option for easy athlete registration. With likely reduced budgets from a "sportless" 2020, sports teams should be looking at saving money and limiting the amount of platforms they need to operate their business efficiently.

Sport Registration software's like Fiiber allow club admins to easily build their registration form with drag and drop technology. Clubs can add their logo, colours and branding to their form and customize it with special form fields like e-signatures and payment checkouts. Platforms like Fiiber are all-inclusive meaning they offer the registration, and also the in-house billing tools that clubs need to accept payment from their athletes, sell their products, and setup recurring subscriptions.

Staying positive in 2021

Sports fans have historically relied heavily on watching their team play hockey, football, soccer, etc. after a long day of work. Athletes have dedicated their lives to their respective sports. Sport in general has a massive impact on society and this time without it has felt nothing short of plain wrong. On a smaller but meaningful scale, individual sports teams, clubs and organizations, the fans that attend games and the parents that have put in countless hours to involve sport in their children's lives are all hoping for a positive turn around in the new year.

As sports club owners, it's important to extend a positive outlook to those that are looking forward to your teams return including staff, athletes, fans and parents. Even if sport initially returns in a limited capacity or perhaps in a way that doesn't replicate prior years, any return to sport can and will be an extremely relieving and exciting moment in the history of athletics.

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