Aug 23, 2017

Success on the field in professional team sports starts with team construction within the constraints of a financial budget.   The Seattle Seahawks last year elected to apply their financial resources at quarterback and on defense and limit the allocation of money to the offensive line.  The decision resulted in Russell Wilson, the team’s franchise quarterback, being injured and a significant decline in the productivity of their running game.  Modifying the balance of resources, this season recognizing the value of a more experienced, talented offensive line the Seattle Seahawks signed former Jacksonville Jaguars 2013 #2 overall draft pick, Luke Joeckel, to an $8,000,000 contract and resigned center, Justin Britt, last week to a three-year $27 million contract.  Time will tell whether the Seattle Seahawks correctly allocated the $167 million dollars they had available for players this season and set course for a return to the Super Bowl through strong play on the field, prudent coaching decisions, and maintenance of health.

Playing sports in childhood is often one of the most rewarding & enjoyable experiences a person has in their life.  Many people try to recreate this experience through entrepreneurship as adults.   Entrepreneurship with an athletic component can take many forms.    IBA, as the oldest business brokerage firm in the Pacific Northwest, has had the honor of representing many entrepreneurs in the sale of their sports oriented businesses and facilitating business buyers getting a favorable return on their investment while working in a rewarding environment they are passionate about personally.

The first tier of sports oriented businesses are ones where the entrepreneur owns & manages the playing facility.   Examples of these types of businesses can range from private golf courses to shooting ranges; private soccer & softball facilities to water & trampoline parks; and marinas to batting cages.  An entrepreneur with real estate trend knowledge & vision is often critical to success in this business model.  Similar to movie theaters and gas stations, location is a critical component to success.   A mergers & acquisitions firm with experienced brokers holding commercial real estate licenses is recommended for representation in the sale of these businesses.

The second tier of sports oriented businesses are ones that teach & train individuals and teams on specific athletic skills.   Examples of these types of businesses can range from child oriented gross motor coordination development franchises like Little Gym, Great Play, and Water Babies to sport specific athletic fitness and training programs for basketball & soccer.   They can also include yoga studios, karate & martial arts programs, and sailing & kayaking schools.  The sale of these types of businesses requires a business broker that can effectively sell intangible assets because the tangible assets of the business will often be a very small component of the value of the business.

The third tier of sports oriented businesses are ones that provide medical or special assistance to customers often requiring specialized education and/or licensing.   Examples of these types of businesses range from physical therapy, chiropractic, and massage practices to personal training & nutrition professionals with the experience & knowledge to help their clients achieve specific goals.  IBA is unique in the business brokerage world in that it has intermediaries with the knowledge & experience to professionally represent professional practices.

The fourth tier of sports oriented businesses are the businesses that supply athletes, coaches, and programs with the products & supplies they need to play, teach, and facilitate a specific sport.  Examples of these businesses include sporting goods stores, screen printing companies, marine & auto sport supply businesses, and trophy & award shops.  These businesses can operate with a traditional brick & mortar operation or virtually with an online Ecommerce presence.

The fifth tier of sports oriented businesses are sports affiliated businesses with a customer demographic of people that watch and are passionate about specific sports & teams.   Examples of these include a sports bar, franchises like Sportsclips which intelligently combined watching athletics with a barber shop, logoed apparel & merchandise businesses, and travel & ticket services that allow fans to attend desired games.

A family quote when I was growing up was “If you work in an environment you enjoy, money will take care of itself”.  The ability to combine entrepreneurship with athletics is a dream come true for many business owners whether it is Paul Allen owning the Seattle Seahawks, Portland Trailblazers, and Seattle Sounders or former client, Jeff Jaeger, who owned a sports bar in Bellevue with his father after retiring from the NFL.

IBA, the Pacific Northwest’s premier business brokerage firm since 1975, is available as an information resource to the media, business brokerage, and mergers & acquisitions community on subjects relevant to the purchase & sale of privately held companies and family owned businesses.  IBA is recognized as one of the best business brokerage firms in the nation based on its long track record of successfully negotiating “win-win” business sale transactions in environments of full disclosure employing “best practices”.