Following a decade of continuous increase in the number of facilities, the indoor soccer market has recently started to get stable in countries like France, Italy and UK, and it is very rare to see new centers open in such an ultra competitive landscape. As a consequence, many French, Italian and British business developers – aware of the potential of the concept – are trying to export the 5-a-side soccer concept in USA, where soccer is expected to become more and more followed (Forbes writes in a recent article).
What are the reasons behind this trend? Is it justified? What is the key to succeed?
A standardized business model – TRUE
An indoor soccer business model is reasonably the same everywhere, with a few adaptations to the local market. This implies that the manager of a center in London can easily reconvert as a manager of one in New York.
Managing an indoor soccer center is simple – FALSE
Rent a site, find one or two partners, install the fields, wait for customers, then cash the money… In the imagination of several clients that we meet, the management of a center is limited to that.
It is not surprising, therefore, that those who wish to move to the USA, when choosing their future activity, choose to invest in a 5 a side facility without fully understanding the implications.
The Globalization of Football – TRUE
Soccer is becoming global and the social dynamics that are taking place are the same everywhere. As the charts show, Americans who play soccer increased by 30/40% in the last 5 years. However, this increase did not reflect in an increase inthe number of fields, neither outdoor nor indoor …This implies that there is a huge space for privately owned quality 5-a-side facilities in order to intercept this new audience. And as it is not practical to go and play regular 11 a side soccer for 30-year-old executives who wish to de-stress after work, indoor soccer will get the biggest piece of the pie. This is a huge opportunity for the French, English or Italian who have missed the indoor soccer boom in the last 10 years and do not want to make the same mistake again.
The Fall of Tennis – TRUE
When Italy won the World Cup in 1982, Adriano Panatta (the most famous Italian tennis player) had just retired from the activity. Thousands of tennis courts, overnight, were no longer used. Problem solved quickly with synthetic turf posed on the clay and … voilà. Suddenly we had thousands of mini soccer pitches for those who wanted to feel like Paolo Rossi for 1 hour. A research from Statista confirms that Tennis clubs in the US suffered a decrease in memberships in the last 5 years (-30%). It seems that the same thing is now happening in the USA …