Sports Xtra goes for gold with Olympic boost

Newly launched sports development franchise Sports Xtra is set to capitalise on the build up to the 2012 London Olympic games

The success of team GB at the Beijing Olympics last summer and London hosting the 2012 games has rejuvenated the British public's interest in sport. This coupled with growing concerns over child obesity has meant that many parents are now actively looking for a safe and fun environment in which children can be introduced to sport and stay fit and healthy.

Sports Xtra was founded by Gareth Lippiatt in 2002 and provides a high quality sports provision for communities. Gareth explains: 'Sports Xtra is based on the business concept of sports development and aims to improve the quality of sports provision through working in schools and local partnerships. We provide a complete range of sports from mainstream traditional activities, such as football, tennis and cricket to unconventional ones like street dance, fencing and rock climbing.'

Gareth spent nearly six years perfecting the business concept until he felt the company was ready to expand nationwide through franchising. Sports Xtra has already awarded two franchises and is looking for potential franchise owners throughout the UK. Gareth says: 'This is a management franchise opportunity where franchisees sell products and services as well as manage a team of coaches. Franchisees also spend a lot of time out and about meeting clients and potential customers. Additionally franchisees must make sure that their staff and clients are happy and their business is running smoothly. Franchisees can expect to gain a good income from their business, for example our best performing pilot franchisee is expecting a minimum turnover of £160,000.'

As part of the Sports Xtra franchise package franchisees will receive territory sole rights and the rights to use the Sports Xtra brand, complete set of business manuals covering every aspect of the Sports Xtra business, IT assistance and support, stationery, marketing materials, coaching equipment and lesson plans, as well as initial and ongoing training.

'We provide franchisees with a comprehensive training programme,' reveals Gareth. 'There is one week's training at our head office in Welwyn Garden City, which covers all the theory aspect of running a business such as systems and operations and sales and marketing. Franchisees will also get one week's on the job training at the Cambridge branch. The training programme covers everything a franchisee will need to know for the day to day running of their business.'

In addition to providing franchisees with a thorough training course, Sports Xtra has also developed a complete ongoing support package which includes: schools and local authority contract selling assistance; helpline facility for advice on all aspects of the business; website management and development, including an intranet facility; regular visits in order to provide an opportunity for review, analysis and advice on your business; national marketing and PR initiatives to keep the message fresh; group meetings that will bring franchisees together to exchange ideas and further business development; and professional business consultancy to help keep you on track.

The demand for the services that Sports Xtra provides is set to increase as the build up to the 2012 London Olympics intensifies the public's interest in sport. Furthermore the Government's encouragement of a long-term fitness drive that is set to continue beyond the 2012 games will keep the demand for Sport Xtra services high. Sports Xtra St Albans & Hemel Hempstead franchisee Andy Hill comments: 'Sports Xtra is a fantastic business to be involved in! A concern for any franchisee is whether there will be sufficient demand in their area, but I am continually amazed at the demand for my coaches and the potential for my business. Sports Xtra has developed a model that specifically meets the clients' needs and ticks all the right boxes... the products speak for themselves.'

The comprehensive training course provided by Sports Xtra means that potential franchisees do not need to have a background in sports. However, Gareth says, 'a candidate needs to be a people person and someone who is able to relate to different people on different levels as they will be dealing with a wide variety of people including teachers, coaches and parents. Additionally, experience in management or sales is a must.'

Furthermore, candidates should have a strong commitment to providing an exceptional service and enjoy working in a quality focused and fun environment. Sports Xtra Hertford & Ware franchisee Andy Scott adds: 'If you believe in the value of sport for young people this is definitely an opportunity for you to build an exciting business. With the support of the Sports Xtra team I now regularly have over 10 coaches working throughout the week. It's a lot of hard work but I'm doing something I love, making a good living and providing children with opportunities to enjoy sports.'

Over the next few years the build up to the 2012 London Olympics is set to capture the attention of the entire British public and by owning a Sports Xtra business franchisees will be in a unique position to not only capitalise on the interest but also continue the promotion of sports beyond the games.

Reported by Derin Ibrahim