In 2013, USA Swimming had a record-breaking year with a 13.2% increase in membership rates. This was a big jump from the previous highest increase of 11.9% recorded back in 2009. Prior to 2009, the largest growth in membership rates was dated back in 1993 with 10.1%. All of these dates: 2013, 2009, and 1993 have one thing in common: they are years immediately following an Olympic Games.
In years not directly following an Olympic Games, USA Swimming membership rates increase on average around 2.0%. If we follow these trend patterns, we should expect to see an increase in membership rates for 2017. Will this increase surpass the 13.2% from 2013? That’s left to be determined, but here are a few ways to use this new audience to your club’s advantage:
1.) Organize an Olympic Trial and/or Olympic Viewing at Your Club’s Pool:
Rent a projector and set up an event to watch the Olympics on a big screen. It would be a great way to promote your club’s facility and gain attraction within your community. You could charge a small fee for attendance if providing food or drinks, but getting people interested and through your door may be enough. Make it an open event and allow non-team members and families to attend.
2.) Design and Sell Olympic Year Merchandise including Your Team Logo:
What’s another swimming t-shirt? Design a new t-shirt for your current swimmers and allow outside purchases. You could expand this “Olympic” line to include hats, pins, magnets, and swim caps. Creating apparel that appeals to fans, but also has your team’s logo on it is a great way to advertise for your club.
3.) Add Additional Tryout Dates:
Most teams host tryouts during August. Try adding a few winter and spring dates to accommodate for new interest. If that is not possible, look into reducing team joining fees for the first few months or have a “trial” rate for new attendees.
4.) Host a Social Media Contest:
Most swimmers have social media accounts nowadays. Use this platform to your advantage. Create a #hashtag and ask swimmer’s to post a picture of “What They Believe Olympic Spirit Means” or the biggest Olympic viewing watch party. Have fun with it. A prize for the winner never hurts either…
5.) Promote or start a learn to swim program.
Children ages 1-4 have the highest recorded rates of drowning. Most of these drowning incidents happen at home pools. Starting a learn to swim program is not only a great way to combat drowning rates, but it also can be a great feeder into your age group program. With a peak in interest during post-Olympic years, a learn to swim program may be a great way to boost your club’s numbers.