Improving communities through sport

3 Keys for Creating and Executing Local Programs for Recreation Centers

recreation center programs

Guest post written by Gregg Wisecarver, Account Executive, The SF Companies. 

When it comes to sports and recreation programs, there are so many options within our communities. How can your recreation center’s programming push pass a forest of heavily marketed gyms to enter the hearts and minds of consumers? It’s all about narrowing your focus. Below are a few tips for making your recreation center programming stand out in a crowded market:

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Identify Your Differentiators

Before we offer any program to our communities, it is vital that our entire staff understand our differentiators. For adult offerings, what is it that we are doing different that will draw new participants in and capture existing participants from our competitors?  What sets us apart?

For children’s programs, what causes parents to take notice of us above other options?  What stands out for participants?  Why do coaches want to coach in our leagues?  Even examining why referees prefer calling games at our venue is important. If we struggle finding answers to these questions you can rest assured, we will have the same struggle driving registrations.

Deliver More Than They Ask For

When executing programming, you must turn your attention to one goal – exceeding expectations. To be clear, a sparkling new venue can do that for a moment, but it’s your people that will set the standard. This can be done in a number of ways, including:


  • Overcommunicating with customers
  • Paying close attention to the details from the customer’s perspective
  • Making sure programming starts and ends on time. Doing this acknowledges that family schedules are not built around yours
  • Divide playoffs into several tiers of talent in order to have multiple champions (gold, silver, bronze). This ensures that more people leave on a high note

Invite Them to Be A Part of Something More

The ideal customer relationship, that’s what we are all after. A customer that automatically thinks of us first when they are looking for recreational and athletic programs. Don’t let anyone leave your programs without inviting them to be a part of the next program. Leagues, summer camps, birthday parties, Friday night at the FEC, corporate parties, fitness classes – can all be cross promoted. This is a critical part of keeping customers in your recreation center.

It’s really about bringing focus to the before, during and after of your program offerings. Making what you do intentional and not accidental will transform your venues from a place to play to THE place to play.

For more information on our recreation center management services or to learn how we can develop programming that helps you reach your ideal customers, contact us at 727-474-3845.


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