CURLING STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS – THE ECONOMICS OF CURLING
This is the fifth segment in a series of creating a hypothetical and entrepreneurial approach to rebuilding the sport of curling in the fictional community of Aasvogel, Ontario. It follows from: http://yorkurbanist.com/recreation/curling/curling-a-recreation-to-a-business/building-plans/
Never forget that the economic generator of curling is ‘Behind the Glass’. The group of curlers and investors in our group were disconcerted with the draft budget posed by Iain Archibald. http://yorkurbanist.com/recreation/curling/curling-a-recreation-to-a-business/the-business-plan-part-2/ In the red for five years was not enticing to potential investors. Starting with the labour item, Zachary Machman asked: “what does the $100,000 for labour entail?” The four-sheeter would require a part-time (PT) iceman and PT manager. “But we discussed contract services?” Iain had included the contracts in labour.
Four sheet facilities cannot afford full-time (FT) staff because the volume of users (typically less than 400) cannot sustain the bar and amenities. In this case, the revenues from the ice rental/memberships are greater than the lounge and other revenues. Therefore, we would have to develop a dedicated curling community within Aasvogel. This would take marketing, not unlike the effort to bring back the Winnipeg Jets in the hockey world.
The threshold for profitability is at the six sheet size of facility that generates over 600 members at competitive rates for ice rental. With six sheets, one can entertain hiring FT staff as manager and a stipend to a programs coordinator. Increasing the size of the lounge and considering adjunct facilities such as a mini-gym would provide more rentable space, and revenue. If this facility became a Go-To place for Aasvogel, then not only would the facility support FT staff, but also volunteers would emerge, who want to participate in such a successful venture. This piqued the interest of those who saw curling as a growing phenomenon and low risk for their capital.
Iain was tasked with developing a new model. He approached the golf course and the municipality about getting land for $1.
The argument for the golf course collaboration: a curling facility would bring revenues to the existing golf club services, smoothing out year-long revenues in their bar and restaurant and adding marketing for their event floor space. Staffing would be shared, so that the budget would recognize revenues that would be generated primarily from the sports/recreation floor space. Profits from the golf course’s winter revenues would also be shared. The model would need to be meshed with that of an established corporation. This is another complication but not insurmountable. Like the golf course, volunteers would run the programs.
The Municipality scenario: Municipal Staff and Council would add layers to approvals, so time would have to be considered in the budget. A strong case would need to be made to lease public land. The argument for this collaboration is that a curling facility provides a unique recreation amenity for the residents, one that has been missing since 1988. Proof that the facility would not compete for public moneys and other public facilities, need to be part of the business plan. A gold star will be applied if the plan shows that there is job creation. Which it does – manager; iceman; catering spinoffs; event planning. The key though is expanded recreation opportunities for the residents. Could the curling facility be adjacent to an existing or proposed athletic facility?
As a matrix to the locational scenarios, how would the programs evolve? Typically in a curling facility, the programs are devised by the volunteers. What if the typical format of weekly league play was exploded? Consideration could then be given to corporate rentals, or NFP service clubs could attend monthly, or training camps could draw new curlers from farther away, or elite curlers could book ice anytime. The sport of curling and recreation in general are changing. A new facility may warrant creative business planning.
The scenarios would be developed by Iain and reviewed by the Group of 18. Stay tuned for the decision.