#StPeteSmallBiz Success Story: Tampa Bay Club Sport

Posted On 05/03/2018 by St. Pete Chamber
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Member Business: Tampa Bay Club Sport
Your Name: Chris Giebner, Owner
What has been your biggest success?

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​Our biggest success has been our growth and success both locally in St. Pete as well as expanding from a home office to a statewide operation.

Club Sport was formed in 1996 as a social sports provider starting with a single day of kickball. It now offers coed adult sports leagues in 10 different sports; the biggest being soccer, softball, volleyball, kickball, and flag football. Current ownership took over in 2002 after its owners, Chris and Tracey Giebner, initially met playing soccer in the league. In the Tampa Bay area it operates over 70 leagues a week on a mix of public and private fields or facilities throughout Tampa, St. Pete, Clearwater, Sarasota and beyond. It has grown from an initial 1,000 players a year to over 35,000 participants in 2017. Through acquisition Club Sport also operates leagues in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and Pensacola adding an additional 12,000 players a year.

In addition to this core competency, Club Sport also expanded to youth leagues in 2008 with Club Sport Kids having 2,500 kids ages 3-17 playing soccer and flag football. Events in the form of tournaments and social outings are another area of its business. These include 15-20 sports tournaments a year, Rays outings, Bar Olympics, Poker Tournaments, Field Day, Mud Wars, and more.

Club Sport is also an area leader in Corporate Wellness – offering a unique twist on team building and corporate events to many of the areas top employers as well as visiting conferences. Having such a large footprint with Tampa Bay’s young, social demographic also allows Club Sport to offer excellent sponsorship opportunities – another growing piece of its business.


What has contributed to your success in St. Pete?
​Club Sport believes that everyone is looking for quality, organized, responsible fun! Athletic or not, we try to provide this to our customers in as many ways possible.

To that end, Club Sport is officially dedicated to two standards:

1. To provide our customers with quality adult & youth sports leagues and related events at competitive prices with the utmost service.

2. To provide you with wages and benefits comparable to others doing similar work within the industry and within the region.

These standards drive everything we do, from how we treat customers to developing our management style. Operating adult sports is definitely a unique industry; one where most days there is a “winner” and a “loser”. The biggest challenge is keep all customers happy and returning, win or lose. Training our staff to provide the utmost service when it comes to communication, organization, and customer experience allows us to achieve these high standards. Because of these efforts, Club Sport has been recognized as a top performer in its industry’s customer service survey the past 5 years.

Our industry lies at an intersection of fitness, entertainment, and socializing. How people choose to spend money on this mixture changes rapidly, and keeping up with these changes is an adversity Club Sport tries hard to stay on top of. We strive to innovate our programs, leagues, and events to cater to all of these categories. There are those who play for the pure competition of it – win at any cost. These players exist side by side with those who may not even know if they win or lose, but are there to meet new people and head for a social beer afterwards. Making our product and leagues appeal to both these demographics has been a challenge we’ve been perfecting for over 20 years. We realize there is not a one size fits all solution, but have a mix of more competitive offerings along with “social fun day” programs that focus on the experience over the result.

This not only applies to our weekly leagues, but to our one off events. Examples include producing a series of big cash payout corn hole tournaments that draw top ten ranked players in the nation – definitely a more serious event. Where on the social side Club Sport runs a series of pub crawls that allow people of all ages to spend an evening socializing, meeting people, and exploring an area of town. Our ability to identify these different needs and cater to them has gotten us where we are today.

Tell us about your favorite St. Pete small business.
​Aside from ourselves, obvious, we have a number of favorite St. Pete businesses. Most of these business owners are known to us personally and we connect with them as fellow small business owners. We know they face many of the same challenges and obstacles as we do and are also proud to call St. Pete home.

Our favorite is…

Trinity Graphics

Trinity is a fantastic screen printer. They started out as a home business a street over from where Club Sport was starting out of our home. They worked hard to get business and grow, finally opening up their own facility not far from downtown. They are all about the local community and work especially well with many of the local brewers.

The owner, Scooter Cardoza, is amazing in his knowledge and customer service. Screen printing is usually all about price but his service trumps that. He is a pleasure to work with.


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​​Members with small business success stories are invited to complete the form below to have their story told via the Chamber’s blog and on social media during Small Business Week.
Category: Chamber Updates