Okay, here goes...
1. You are in a war. Not to say you have to kill the other guy, but if you are not successful in your competing strategy, you (the league) will die.
2. You are doing something wrong, and the other guy is doing something right...why are your players leaving?
a. ice participation is only one possible reason...
b. other leagues offering a better value? note that price/fee might be higher in other leagues, but they offer more...
c. structure of your league...can a novice player play effectively with your veterans, and have success = fun?
d. who are you losing, why are the non-returnees not returning? can you ask them? and be prepared to listen to their reasons?
3. Are you prepared to totally change the way your league is structured, if the reason players are leaving is to go to something else?
4. Do you have the resources to offer the same value that the other guy is offering? Maybe you need to pack it up and join the other guy yourself.
5. Only if your league is a better value will more advertising type of promotion work. This is not going to help at all if everybody already potentially knows of your organization, and they have chosen an alternative that they feel is a better value.
6. What factors are your players even considering when they sign up for your league? What has caused the players that you have kept to stick around?
7. You must constantly analyse your "product" in light of how you can constantly offer more and more to your players, and charge less and less, this will cause your league to increase over time, instead of decrease. You may or may not be able to do this (#4 above)...
Over the last five years in my town, we have developed a local league, operated by the municipal parks department, that has: house shirts for every team, sportcourt, border patrol boards, indoor facility, dressing area, 2-5 games per week year round (depending on how many divisions you want), free open floor time 5 days a week, tournament team participation, USA Hockey Inline membership...etc, etc...all for $105 per player per year. We have put six other inline hockey programs out of business, because we are the best deal, and offer more, than anybody else in town.
The harsh reality is, (not trying to criticize, but we are trying to be honestly analytical here) it sounds like you are one of the other six programs that I have killed in my locale. Even the YMCA's cannot compete with me in value...
e-mail me at [email protected]
and I will try to give you all the help I can. I sincerely applaud the effort that you are making to make things better for your players. Let me know what I can do for you.
Recreation Services Supervisor,
El Paso (Texas) Parks & Recreation Department