Destination Athlete: World’s Driving Sports Franchise

If you’re enthusiastic about sports, this is an extraordinary time to get into the sports business. Researchers have recently observed one of the greatest development time frames throughout the entire existence of the industry, with development averaging at 4.3% since 2014. Today, the sports industry is an estimated 480.5 billion USD industry, with a projected future worth of over 550 billion USD.

It is 2020…fans are stuck at home, seasons are in danger, and income is plummeting. While things may appear bleak for pro athletics, some of the world’s top sports franchises are flourishing even more this year than last year. One of them is the Destination Athlete®.

Everything Team, Everything Better™ has been the mission of Destination Athlete® since 2008. It is all about building better communities through athletes™. Destination Athlete® exclusively supports the youth and high school groups to get them to their own destination by furnishing a one-stop resource with everything a team needs to grow and succeed.

Inception Tale

Destination Athlete® was born out of a need for a more advantageous, streamlined way of getting things done. The journey started when Destination Athlete® Founder and Chairman, Doug Dickison understood that sports parents, like himself, were becoming increasingly involved with the coaching of youth sports in his town. He perceived a need for considerably more than the market was giving to the athletes, coaches, and their families.

After predicting all of this, Doug spent the following two years making a business strategy, investigating the current merchants in the industry and emulating organizations that put their clients first. Additionally, he recognized the four key zones to be the organization’s primary focal point of services: Apparel, Equipment, Fundraising, and Performance.

Stand Out from the Crowd

Since inception, Doug perceived that the industry was also lacking a focus on holistic development. The need for a more comprehensive way to deal with and address this concern brought about the formation of 360 DEVELOPMENT™, a customizable platform driven by a top tier group of specialists versed in different aspects of personal development so often overlooked in youth sports. So, he brought in winning lacrosse coach, Jim Stagnitta to serve as President and spearhead the program.

“The concept of 360 DEVELOPMENT™, was born from my experiences over 30 years of coaching college lacrosse”, states Jim. He adds “As a young head coach I brought in leadership specialists, sports psychologists, team and culture experts as well as educational professionals. In every case I was left unfulfilled coming away with their insights and thoughts on our areas of need, but never with an answer on how to address the issues. The result was never sustainable nor was there a means of making recommendations operational. I set out to fill this void and provide a holistic approach to development that provided sustainable, operational and transformational results.”

The objective of 360 DEVELOPMENT™ is to create effective groups, teams, and organizations by helping to create winning cultures, respected leaders, and connected people. Their client list currently includes an impressive array of high school, college, and professional teams along with coaching staffs, athletic departments, student bodies and faculty.

Destination Athlete® additionally helps groups with fundraising solutions by creating awareness, raising money and reinforcing team spirit. The organization has made fundraising simple and viable by developing an individual rewards program that is built for success. The platform is completely online with no forthright expenses, no door-to-door selling, no delivery required and no money to collect.

Influencing Innovation to keep a tab on Development.

Destination Athlete® uses the most recent technology tools, both proprietary and third-party software to create scoreboards. In addition, the organization utilizes tracking to capture analytics on growth and growth opportunities.

Key Achievements 

In past 12 years, Destination Athlete® has grown to 142 franchises in 20 states and continues to expand. For the fifth consecutive year, Destination Athlete® has been named a Top 500 Franchise by Entrepreneur Magazine and continues to move up in the ranks each year. This positive exposure has enabled imminent business visionaries to see the benefits in owning their own Destination Athlete® franchise. It permits them the chance to consolidate their passion for sports with a rewarding career in the ever-growing youth and high school sports industry.

“We view ourselves as the most thoughtful company in the athletic community, taking care of youth sports teams with our comprehensive holistic solutions and worldclass service. We strive to be the single recognizable choice of teams who have a quest for development and/or winning,” says Doug Dickison.

Fundamentals of picking a new Franchisee.

We search for individuals who want to be both financially and emotionally rewarded and who want to help out in their community. Since we are in the business of building better communities through athletes, understanding sports is key in helping shape athletes. Consequently, athletics helps shape the community at large”, says Doug.

Making the New Franchisee Ready

Destination Athlete® highly esteems a solid culture of development. It has a group that is committed to the preparation, development, and achievement of each franchisee. Training has three stages: home study, active 1:1 training (over the course of several months with heavy mentoring and coaching) and lastly, ongoing training and support.

New franchisees are introduced and familiarized with the entirety of the assets and services in its tool kit. The headquarters team sets them up with the vital authoritative functions, the Marketing team provides both print and electronic materials and overall brand guidance and the Customer Care team helps them to build and set up their online team stores.

The organization also assists them with promoting their stores through social media channels so as to drive sales and increase fundraising opportunities along with the processing and delivering of orders for easy distribution. Finally, it imparts turnkey solutions and continued national brand support for the entire Destination Athlete® family.

Since every one of its franchisees has an exclusive domain in their territory (one franchise = one county) and are all associated with their local sports teams, they can promote the Destination Athlete® brand through local fundraising and other efforts. Alongside premier Destination Athlete® equipment and apparel, they also have exceptional services that nobody else can offer.

Managing the Franchisee Desires and Contradictions

The organization has created a thorough company operations manual written in layman’s terms. During the onboarding process, it invests a ton of time and energy going over expectations and guaranteeing there is agreement at present and moving forward. Franchisees know the organization only makes money if they make money. So, everyone is on the same page.

Long Haul Plans for Future Development

In the past, the organization’s growth has been steady in both number of franchises and in locations throughout the country. But over the years it has grown drastically. This year, Entrepreneur Magazine ranked Destination Athlete® as one of the fastest-growing franchises in the United States.

“With sports being so popular in America and barely any sports franchising opportunities, we are able to distinguish ourselves in the industry. We are very blessed to have so many talented people that want to join our successful team,” says Doug Dickison.

“By limiting the number of franchises, we train in a given year, we can carefully plan our growth”, he adds. For example, in 2019, Destination Athlete® had in excess of 3,000 leads but awarded just ten franchisees the chance to join this organization. Every year it adds a couple of more seats to the training classes. It is important to the company to continually manage its smart growth.

Moreover, future growth opportunities stem from an ongoing increase in the number of products, services, and resources Destination Athlete® offers to the marketplace.

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