We Tell You Just A Little About Keith Sutton

Hi Tom:

Thank you so much for telling me about this story…and sending me the news link.  I hope as many shufflers as possible read it.

This story has single-handedly done more to restore my faith in the future of shuffleboard, a sport I respect and love to play, than anything else I’ve heard of since St Petersburg successfully launched their St Pete Shuffle on Friday night and introduced Free Social Shuffleboard and the game to a totally new audience and market segment.

In this news story, the Royal Palms facility has launched “shuffleboard leagues with 800 players, and the place has only been open two weeks.”  

This presents an enormous opportunity for the FSA Board of Directors to learn from the Business and Marketing Plan that the Brooklyn entrepreneurs and enthusiasts, Johnathan Schnapp and Ashley Albert, used to achieve such unprecedented success.  Perhaps one or both of them could be invited to Florida and to share with us what elements they believe have been most important in achieving such success at attracting so many in so little time. In fact, the FSA should spread word of this success to every District and Club plus shuffleboard-related entrepreneurs and businesses.  Businesses like the Allan R. Shuffleboard Company, who will benefit from the growth of the sport might also elect to expand their business to include opening other “Royal Palms-like” facilities.  Success could come from marketing them to the market segments that are not being served by the FSA’s nearly singular emphasis on running weekday tournament play for people in retirement, and who have been playing shuffleboard for years.

For shuffleboard to survive, change must take place.  The sport must be introduced and woven into the lives of younger people and families both of which include members who work weekdays and yet seek recreational and social activities to participate in both occasionally as well as become active members of sport leagues and clubs.  According to the following news story and video, (see link below), facilities like Royal Palms provide both the destination and the sport that 800 people joined in just their first 2 weeks of operation…and at a cost of $40 per hour!  That is in sharp contrast to our slowly diminishing number of retirees who can occasionally be heard to complain about paying $5 and $6 for 2 days of tournament play.

Another part of this news report that really caught my attention is the enthusiasm of the reporter.  Not only did she clearly refer to and yet contrast this new sports venue with our “grandparents’ sport”, she also sounded quite sincere and enthusiastic when describing how challenging and enjoyable the sport can be today!

There is a successful business model being launched here that is undeniably meeting the needs of the residents of Brooklyn.  Our lesson?  We must change the way in which we offer participation in Shuffleboard.  If our current Associations and Clubs don’t change the way they offer Shuffleboard to residents, we can’t expect any new market segments to embrace and participate in the sport we so want to prosper.  

But according to this news report, if we do, they will come, join and even pay.  Spread the word!  

Thanks again Tom.

Keith Sutton

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