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10-03-2011, 08:11 PM #1
Why is there a lack of facilities in Emeryville/Union City/Dublin triangle?
As much as I'm happy that growth of badminton in the Bay Area is rising, As a badminton enthusiast, I'm a bit disheartened by the lack of gyms around my area (San Leandro/San Lorenzo/Castro Valley).
Well the map probably says it all. There is a big gap between Union City/Emeryville/Dublin Area. Is there a particular reason why badminton gym owners have avoided this area? As far as I know, there are quite a few good places in San Leandro (probably along Wicks Blvd) that are good places to start a gym.
I'm almost at the point where I want to start my own badminton club just to make up for the lack of places to play in the area.
10-03-2011, 08:20 PM #2
your home to Z is only 10 miles.
you really cannot expect a badminton gym to sprout out every few miles. gyms are already stretched out as they are. any denser we will see empty gyms everywhere.
10 miles isn't that bad in the scope of things.
10-03-2011, 11:04 PM #3
First off, I'd like to emphasize that I am asking why there isn't anyone interested in building a gym in the Alameda/San Leandro Area. I am not demanding one. I believe it's a legitimate question.
Next, I don't expect gyms to sprout every few miles, but apparently they have sprouted every few miles along the peninsula and South Bay. If you check the distances between gyms in the Peninsula and South Bay, it comes down to 5-10 miles. As it is, there is a 20 or mile difference in distance between EBA and Z badminton. The complaint I had was the disparity in density of gyms in Northern East Bay as opposed to the Westerly/Southern Bay Area. Putting one more gym in Sunnyvale is different than putting one gym in Alameda/San Leandro. I strongly disagree that putting one gym in the East Bay between Emeryville and Union City will empty the gyms that are more than an hour away.
The point is, all the South Bay gym's targets are Asian population centers in the South Bay such as San Jose, Milpitas, and Sunnyvale. The new Bintang and BBC2 targets San Francisco. Even Z badminton just to strike a balance between South Bay and Southern East Bay. Currently only EBA targets the Northern East Bay population, and I believe having only one gym in a largely dense and populous area makes the area underserved as compared to South Bay and Peninsula.
Next, 10 miles in my area is roughly 15-20 minutes of traffic one way. (Mainly because of San Mateo bridge) Round trip is 30-40 minutes. It all depends on how you put things in perspective. Only 10 miles is not the only issue here. My main issue is the lack of choices within a reasonable distance (less than 1 hour roundtrip) I'm not that privileged to be wasting gas going to a further gym that I like.
And lastly, I am mainly asking this question out of my curiosity. I'm more interested in understanding the financial factors (i.e. customer base, costs, profit margins) that keep potential gym owners from building a gym in the area. As far as I can tell, there shouldn't be a lack of demand in the area.
10-08-2011, 07:22 AM #4
Easy answer... More players at one location = more gyms at that location...
10-31-2011, 09:23 PM #5
Thank you for your interest in a badminton gym in your area. With people like you who have interest, more gyms/clubs would open up. I will do my best to answer your questions you have about a club/gym as people might have misunderstanding on what it takes to open a badminton facility.
Right now I only see two reasons how a club can open up in certain areas. One is a large area of an Asian population and the other is disposable income. Now I am not saying that those two conditions MUST exist, but with badminton still a niche sport, those two conditions should be there for someone to consider opening up a new facility.
The next step would be to find a large enough warehouse with a high enough ceiling. Not many of these exists so finding one is difficult. One you find one, then you will have to consider the type of rent that a warehouse costs, as well as the type of money that goes into turning a warehouse into a badminton facility and the overhead to cover running costs.
As an owner, I can tell you that running a badminton job is not easy. There are many things to consider. We have to compete with other clubs as well as online stores. This is why you won't see a club every 10 miles up here in the North East Bay Area. In general, people have more disposable income in the South Bay as compared to the people who live around EBA. The badminton business is a low margin business. Because it is low margin, we have to make it up with volume. Therefore, the more players who come, the more it will help sustain the club. If there were more clubs, esp in the East Bay, there would not be enough players to keep the club doors open.
Right now EBA is doing it's best to keep service and facility at it's highest level in years. Even with the economy today, our staff and facility is considered one of the best. We are known for our helpful staff, clean facility, and friendly members and players. It is this that keeps our players coming back every time.
If you have any additional questions, please feel free to let me know. I will do my best to answer them.
11-12-2011, 03:59 PM #6
Thank you for answering my question, I didn't check back for a while because of lack of honest answers to my question.
I have actually looked into various of factors in opening a badminton gym including overhead costs, start up costs, location, ROI, and target population. I didn't think of disposable income which is a good indicator of the ability to participate in a comparatively expensive sport such as badminton. I do know that it is not an easy job as running a shop by itself is not easy already. (I have friends in SoCal that run a quasi-badminton shop) I know it's full of risk and uncertainty, so it's a tough job. I have respect for those who have successfully pioneered to make badminton as popular as it is today.
It's just that I think most gyms open in an area where there is a strong Asian populace, and the presence of high school badminton (potential customers for training and membership. Well... not them, their parents). Your answer has helped me rethink my initial concerns. I'm unemployed (recently graduated college) at the moment, so trying to keep playing a sport I love has been hard. It was easier when I was in college as I was spoiled a bit by a free nearby public facility with 10-15 courts and open gym at school.
I do have a few questions though, but it is up to you if you'd like to answer them. (that is, if they are not too personal for your business)
-What steps do you think would help promote badminton into a greater audience knowing that it is a niche sport at this point in time? I know that it will take a while, but I see badminton popularity as intrinsic to lowering cost of access to badminton as a sport. I do see the issue of costs restraining popularity of the sport all the while costs cannot be lowered if the sport is not popular enough. In other words, do you see expanding into a larger audience (beyond the Asian population) as a potential for reaching more customers with disposable income?
-How exactly do you figure the start up costs flooring, mat and lighting? Are those things you shop around with different vendors (i.e. Yonex, Victor, etc), or do you have badminton flooring specialists (I doubt there are any in USA) who know how to create badminton flooring come in to help you evaluate your options?
-Does badminton membership fees or coaching fees take a bigger part of revenue that covers running costs? As far as I can tell, drop-in and badminton shop revenue most times shouldn't be able to cover operational costs such as rent and utilities.
-Lastly, I am not sure if you have looked into this, but is opening a 24hr badminton facility a next to impossible thing in the Bay Area? I have only seen SGVBC 1 in El Monte, CA do it, and I'm not sure if there are anything to look for beyond a permit to operate 24hrs and a good look at whether the area is safe or not.
Again, thank you for taking your time to answer my initial questions. I appreciate the time you take to answer them.
11-13-2011, 09:50 AM #7
Don't be afraid to ask the organiser(s) the break-down of the club's expenses and income to hold a session.
It's there, where can judge whether the fees are high or low for players wishing to attend the club's session.
11-15-2011, 04:19 AM #8
Thank you for asking some excellent question. I will answer them in the order you asked.
1. In promoting badminton, this is a challenge where all badminton businesses need help in. Since we are catering to a niche sport, almost all club owners work with a razor thin profit margin. With this lack of a decent budget, it is very difficult to find extra money to put into big marketing campaigns. With this lack of marketing, then it is hard to find new potential players.
If popularity increased, then I don't see costs lowering. Instead, I see more clubs opening. Costs won't lower much because of fixed overhead costs which still needs to be paid. Clubs have a fixed number of courts, so even if they got 2-3 times more people, they cannot accomodate that. They must maintain a certain profit margin in order to pay those costs.
The steps needed in order to promote badminton is so numerous and complex that I don't see it in the foreseeable future. First off, club owners need to work together. If we pool our budgets to create a badminton campaign, it would have a greater effect instead of just promoting our own clubs. Next, club owners need support from big companies such as Yonex, Wilson, Li-Ning, etc. However, because they do not see the market being big enough, they most likely won't run national ads or other marketing campaigns. I guess it's a chicken or egg thing, seeing that comes first. Should they market and then get new customers, or only if there are enough customers they will market?
2. To estimate starting costs, it's about shopping around and getting prices from suppliers, contractors, landlords, permits, etc. There is no one source I can point you to. It's something that is a giant headache.
3. Memberships, drop-ins, pro-shop, lessons are all major revenue generating areas. There is no one area (at least at EBA) that covers a majority of the costs. They are more or less equal and are ALL very important.
4. I have considered a 24hr badminton facility, but EBA isn't suitable for that particular setup. That is mainly because of security issues. I can't speak for the other club owners, but I'm sure with the right conditions, it could work.
Again, please feel free to ask any question you feel I didn't cover in this post. If there were more people like you, I'm sure badminton would be in a much more popular.
12-05-2011, 08:23 PM #9
too many gyms on the peninsula
Although there are gyms every 5-10 miles here, it should be noted that many of them are not full and possibly not very profitable. That could be why there aren't as many gyms on the east bay. Too much saturation.
12-10-2011, 04:34 AM #10
Sorry about not replying sooner, I've been busy the last month. Thanks for answering the questions yet again, it's been quite an eye-opening experience. I don't have much questions left, but maybe others do.
And IllusionistPro, I'd like to just point out ZBTC and UBC are more like training centers than places to play. They have roughly 8-10 courts on each gym and they choose to take 6-7 courts just for training. This leaves 2-3 courts at most during peak times. I cannot comment for EBA as I have not been there often, but this is type of scheduling leaves people that want to play at a disadvantage for court time. Less courts for peak times? What sense does this make? Last time I went, there were 30 or so people waiting on two courts for about an hour before another 3 courts opened up because their training ended. By that time, the amount of people waiting must have been 40+. They simply do not have large enough facilities to have amount of classes they want to hold and the amount of people that drop in to play.
I still believe there is room for a badminton facility in the East Bay. Probably one at most. But I do believe it is a harder venture than it seems, therefore I can see why it's not easy to open a gym in the first place.
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