I can't stop thinking about how the looming recession is going to impact wrestling, particularly at the youth level. I've spent a lot of time digging into the historical impact of recessions on youth sports and compiling my thoughts into a guide.
First and foremost, we are all placing the health and safety of our teams above all else (as we should be). Given the pandemic, this means uncertainty around participation levels and a likely drop in revenue for your youth team as seasons are skipped or cancelled. That's the bad news, but still something you can prepare for by reducing your fixed expenses as much as possible.
The good news is that, historically speaking, youth sports are remarkably resilient in times of recession. Participation levels tend to stay relatively constant; however, participation numbers flow away from high cost sports to low cost sports. In other words, demand for youth activities does not diminish, but the ability for parents to pay does go down, which causes research into other sports near them. Wrestling - a low cost, gender neutral sport - is ideally positioned to welcome new families onto the mat.
Wrestling is in a state of limbo right now, but that doesn't mean we can't prepare for the future. My full thoughts are linked in the guide below, but the high level takeaways are:
1. Reduce your fixed expenses as much as possible.
2. Transition to monthly installment plans instead of upfront fees. WrestlingIQ has this built in if your registration software does not allow it.
3. Communicate to your community that you encourage all genders to participate (and consider a sibling discount if you don't already have one).
4. Get creative with fundraising, or virtual activities, to keep your team knit together in these tough times. If you are looking for some inspiration, here is a virtual event put on by Wrestle Like A Girl to get those creative juices flowing: https://wrestlelikeagirl.org/wlag-virtual-events
How your wrestling club can survive and thrive in a recession