Yes, curling is a business! If you have 100 members in a two sheet club, then your revenues will be (should be) at least $80,000. Presumably, your expenditures are less and the business prospers with capital added annually for those (un?)foreseen replacement costs. A six sheet curling facility should, at minimum have revenues over $300,000. There are curling corporations in Ontario over $1,000,000. And yet, I interviewed with a club to provide a business planning exercise and one executive board member reacted, “I never thought about the club as a business”. That is both healthy and naïve.
That is naïve from the standpoint that someone in a decision-making capacity could be spending recklessly or, worse yet, not spending to improve the business.
That is healthy in that there is comfort in the activities within the facility. In other words, players and executive members are enjoying the sport as they should. A healthy club is one that continuously reinvests in their assets.
Ontario is in a growth pattern, unlike its Manitoba counterpart. Demand is increasing for experiential facilities – curling centres fit the bill. Where else can one combine recreation, fitness and social activities all in one place, all in one night, during the dullest of weather? I left out competition. You can include that, and it is the primary reason for about 5% of the curling public, but the growth is in the other 95% - recreation adherents. The York Curling Club (see pic) is one example. The two new sheets were filled to overcapacity (over 100 members per sheet) by the time they were constructed and opened.
Changes to competition are coming, starting with the Annual General Meeting June 28, 2015 and the accompanying workshop prior. OCA has recognized through their administrative changes that their role is changing. Yes, they will continue to promote competitions for the competition elite, but their role should also continue to promote the health of curling in Ontario, with business acuity.