i9 SPORTS:
THE WAY YOUTH SPORTS MARKETING SHOULD BE

With over 100 franchises from New York to Hawaii, i9 Sports offers youth sports leagues for boys and girls between the ages of 3 and 14 with a focus on age-appropriate instruction, healthy competition and good sportsmanship. The company has recorded over 1 million registrations for kids in flag football, soccer, basketball, baseball and more.

Measured Marketing

Managing a PPC account with national reach and a finite budget can be a challenge, particularly when promoting a range of product offerings. With an emphasis on geo-targeting, A/B testing ad copy and campaign optimization, we produced measurable results that far exceeded the previous year’s results. In the key build-up months for the fall season (July and August), our PPC management efforts in 2017 yielded 23% more leads than 2016 with 26% less marketing spend. Cost per lead for those months improved 65% year over year and 79% from 2015’s figures.

Going Local

In addition to managing the brand’s national PPC account, we developed a local advertising program for franchisees to voluntarily participate in that enabled them to supplement the reach of the company’s digital advertising budget.

Franchisees can partner with Hook & Blade to manage a local Facebook or local Google Adwords campaign. This local option gives owners the ability to dedicate a portion of their advertising budget to targeted advertising with specific geographic messaging relevant to their local customers. At the end of each campaign, franchisees receive a full report detailing performance, including total number of leads generated.

Each month, nearly half of the brand’s franchisees participate in the program, generating an additional 1,000+ leads per month for the company.

New Tagline Development

i9 Sports approached our team about helping them to develop a new tagline that represented their brand better than their original tagline of “An Experience Beyond the Game.” With over a decade of success organizing youth sports leagues, the brand wanted a fresh approach. We hosted a brainstorm session with the brand’s marketing department to find the right words and phrases that resonated internally and externally.

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Through the brainstorm session with i9 Sports as well as an internal Hook & Blade discussion, we developed eight new tagline concepts for the brand. We mocked up each new tagline in a variety of formats including t-shirts, pop-up tents, website banners and social graphics to help the marketing team see how the tagline would look in a real-life scenario. The team selected “The Way Youth Sports Should Be” and announced it to their entire franchise network at their annual convention.

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A Website Design that Fits the Brand

At its core, i9 Sports is supposed to be about fun – kids and parents enjoying the energy and excitement of youth sports. The website is the storefront for the brand and needed to reflect that energy. With our design partner Studiomax Designs, we took a look at various graphic treatments used by sports teams at the collegiate and professional levels.

The new look for the website showcases kid athletes while giving them an edgy look commonly seen in professional sports.

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