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Youth Sports- Surviving the Pandemic

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Koa Sports

We talked to Tony Korson of Koa Sports on how the organization is shaping kids’ lives through sports.

First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times? 

Tony Korson: Healthy, thanks for asking.

Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Koa Sports.

Tony Korson: I played sports my entire life, and truly believe they are the best way to stay fit, make friends, and learn life skills. After my college baseball career ended, nobody wanted to pay me to play, so I decided to casually start coaching. Fast Forward 15 years, and we have 13 full-time employees, an amazing training facility, and a part-time staff of over 200. 

How does Koa Sports innovate? 

Tony Korson: When our country went into lockdown, we quickly pivoted to Zoom practices and training sessions. Gathering limits are low, so we created small group sports “PODS” to keep athletes engaged and allow them to see their friends. While the idea of PODS isn’t proprietary, I believe we were first to market or early adopters of this concept.

How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?

Tony Korson: COVID is affecting every part of our business, from gathering limits to reduced capacity inside, and many customers opting out of our programs. We are coping by providing as many sports as possible outside and staying in small groups.

Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?

Tony Korson: Yes, we have difficult decisions to make. Which salaried employees to keep/cut and how digitally should we be versus in-person instruction. 4 Lessons Learned/Reminders during the Pandemic:

1. Cash is King

2. Only retain your A employees, time to let B/C players go

3. Only the strong survive, and there will be consolidation/opportunities on the other side- human capital or distressed businesses to purchase

4. Always innovate and be able to pivot

How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and Koa Sports in the future?

Tony Korson: I do my best to work out and spend time outside to deal with stress and anxiety. I try to be honest and positive with my staff when dealing with the future!

Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?

Tony Korson: We have several competitors; however, parents can be our biggest advocates or adversary. Parents can choose to coach their children or enlist our help! We plan on staying in the game by valuing every dollar, working harder than everybody, and being smart with government assistance.

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