Sport and Social Clubs: How to grow your pickup group!

Make your pickup games HYPE with these tips and your games will be filling in no time!

1. Leverage instagram Stories!!

Create a post on your instagram story about your upcoming game(s) with a link to the events.

Tip: you can even add discount codes to your Instagram stories. Just create the discount on OpenSports like INSTA50OFF, post it on IG, and you’ll see how many players signed up from your instagram discount! Read below to learn more about creating discounts.

2. Good ol’ Facebook is great too!

If you have an audience on Fb, this is a platform that you need to be leveraging to promote your new pickup sports group and your upcoming events.

Sons of Pitches FC has use their Fb page to promote their group and to promote their upcoming events!! See how much hype they create!

3. Create Discounts — Players love getting deals!

Groups on OpenSports have been finding innovative ways to use discounts as a marketing tool and not only create buzz but fill up all of their available space in every pickup game!!

You can create a welcome discount of, let’s say, 50% off a players’ first game, or even make their first game free! Read here to learn more about creating discounts, and popular types of discounts.

ZogSports initially launched a series of free pickup games to gain traction before moving to a paid pickup game model as you can see on the left!

If you create a few free games to launch your group…

Tip: Once you have a few free games under your belt, and want to create paid games, you can message previous attendees with a discount code to those games. Your message can be something like, “Thank you for coming out last week / {the date}. We would like to give you a deal on our first paid game. Here’s your discount code: YOUROCK50OFF!” Once you have players in your group, you can use the announcements feature and it’ll ping everyone with the message.

Casco Bay Sports also offers 50% off to all first-time attendees. They set this discount up to automatically apply when a player joins their first pickup game! They announce it to everyone in their group!

4.a. Your Website is Grand Central Station

Make sure your pickup games page is prominent on your website so that players who are searching for sports to play have an easy path to join!

4.b. Embed the Events Iframe on your Website

You can embed our live updating widget into your website, so that players on your website can see your registration page and all of your upcoming events and can join directly through the widget.

It is one line of HTML code and we recommend that all Sport and Social Clubs use it!

5. Include Pickup Games in Your Newsletters/Mass Emails

Have a newsletter that goes out that highlights different things going on? Include your pickup events!

If you don’t send a newsletter, you can send an email to league players letting them know that you are launching a pickup sports program! Highlight the sports you will be running games for and links to join!

6. Game Day Operations / Game Leaders

You should leverage your field team members /refs/ “game day operations” who run your leagues! They can really help promote pickups because they talk more often with players in leagues! When players see pickups and hear about them “on the ground”, they will get interested!

Casco Bay even hired a summer student to take charge of their pickup project! The student, Harrison, did a wonderful job of launching pickup games which grew week over week.

7. Showing Attendees vs. Hiding Attendees

When you are just getting started and creating your first few events, the key thing is to drum up enough interest and critical mass for your events to happen.

If your “Attendees list” is visible, and nobody has joined so far, their default thought will be this event isn’t happening. We recommend you initially make the attendees list private, and then once 2–3 people have joined, make it public! Trust us, this actually works!!

8. Make Event Descriptions Sound Exciting!

Players want to know exactly what to expect, especially when this is a new type of sports program they are attending! Here’s a sample event description that you can copy and paste:

For a check list on getting ready to launch your first event, read here!

Make sure you keep in touch with us as you go through this process! alicia@opensports.net