More Than a Passing Fancy
To help boost budgets for local youth sports, the Red and Black Sports Club of New Smyrna Beach, Florida, a non-profit organization that derived its name from New Smyrna Beach High's school colors, sponsored the inaugural Elite 7-on-7 "Battle by the Beach" football tournament this July that awarded $15,000 to local high school booster clubs.
By Jack Holcomb
Vice President, Red and Black Sports Club
New Smyrna Beach, Florida
Due to the economic downturn in the country and the ramifications it has had on youth sports programs, we formed a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (www.rbsportsclub.com) to help support youth and high school sports in New Smyrna Beach.
We first envisioned this organization more than a year ago. Its purpose is to encourage participation in programs ranging from peewee to high school football. Mark Pernell, our club president, has been instrumental in getting our message out.
The inaugural "Battle by the Beach" 7-on-7 football tournament was a great way to bring together teams that don't normally have a chance to play each other and do it in our own backyard.
We held the two-day football tournament, July 8-9, at the New Smyrna Beach Sports Complex. Twenty-four high school teams from across the state participated in the passing skills event, including Class 2A champions Cocoa, Miami-Booker T. Washington, Miami Carol City, Oak Ridge and Class 5A runner-up Tampa Plant High. Local participants included DeLand, Mainland, New Smyrna Beach, and Seabreeze.
Booker T. Washington High School won the event and $10,000 for its booster club. Port St. Lucie's Treasure Coast High was runner-up and a donation of $5,000 went to its booster club.
The event began with pool play followed by a double-elimination tournament. Teams must throw on every down and players are down when touched by an opposing player. We played over 100 games in two days.
While the $15,000 donation for the winning team attracted a deep field that included some of the premier teams and prospects in the state, the tournament was a sign of the enormous growth of the 7-on-7 format, which includes all players except offensive and defensive linemen and special team players.
We got the word out by attending coaching clinics and handing out information. We also reached out to the various schools by calling or emailing the head coaches.
The tournament costs us $20,000 to run. But our club raised $25,000 at a recent golf tournament and $10,000 of those proceeds went towards an investment for "Battle by the Beach."
There was a $200 entry fee per team that generated $4,800 in revenue. We made around $4,000 in concessions and another $4,000 at the gate. There were 800 fans that paid $7 for one day or $10 for a two-day wristband. We also made another couple thousand dollars from sponsors and signage.
There were 40-45 people who helped with the concessions and working the gates. And 20-25 freshman football players from New Smyrna High picked up trash and ran scorecards back from the various games. We struck a deal with the referees and paid eight of them $3,500 for two days. We also had an on-staff athletic trainer who we paid $300 for two days.
While this year the tournament broke even, we hope to turn a profit in future years. But, just as important, is the goal of promoting youth sports in our communities. Over the years a lot of youth sports participation has waned. We think by adding various sports programs it will help keep kids on the right path by building character and respect. It is easy for kids to get distracted. A number of local businesses are contributing time and resources to working with coaches, school principals and others with the goal of producing successful youth sports programs.
The tournament also benefits our community economically. It generated a lot of business between helping sell a couple hundred hotel rooms and sending people into town to eat.
The club is committed to making "Battle by the Beach" one of the premiere 7-on-7 football tournaments in the country. Then, we'd love to have "Battle by the Beach" soccer and baseball tournaments. This is a business model that works. So it's a win-win for everyone.