April 12, 2024

CityFutsal - Sold Out Podcast #2

This interview with Ximena from CityFutsal explores the league organizer's journey from its founding in 2011 to becoming a prominent futsal league program in Dallas, Texas, focusing on strategic growth, community engagement, operational challenges, and future digital enhancements.

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Welcome to Episode #2 of the Sold Out podcast where we interview league organizers across the country for trips and tricks on how to sell out leagues.

In this insightful interview, Ximena from CityFutsal discusses the organization's journey from its inception in 2011 to becoming a prominent futsal league operator in Dallas, Texas. Starting with a single facility and expanding to a second location, CityFutsal has successfully established both youth and adult leagues, attributing growth to strategic planning, community engagement, and effective management.

Ximena outlines the early challenges of introducing futsal to the local community and the strategies employed to cultivate interest and participation in the sport. She emphasizes the importance of providing high-quality experiences, customer service, and the innovative use of technology to enhance operations and player engagement.

The conversation delves into operational strategies for managing growth, such as addressing scheduling complexities and maintaining competitive balance within leagues. It also highlights the role of staffing, specifically the introduction of coordinators to ensure smooth league operations and uphold standards of sportsmanship.

Furthermore, Ximena discusses City Futsal's approach to marketing, the evolution of their technology use, and future aspirations for leveraging digital tools to enrich the player experience further. This interview offers valuable insights for anyone interested in sports management, community sports programming, and the operational nuances of running successful leagues.

Below is the full transcript from this episode. The Sold Out Podcast is available on Spotify or you can watch the entire interview on our YouTube Channel! Tune in every other week to hear AREENA interview the country's best league organizers about their success in selling out leagues consistently.

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Lance (00:00.886)
Alright, today we have Ximena from City Futsal on the podcast. Thank you so much for being here. Let's just start with some of the basics of the business of City Footsall. How many teams you guys have, where you're located, sports, all that.

Ximena Mariel (00:07.903)
Thank you.

Ximena Mariel (00:14.511)
Yeah, okay. So we are City Futsal. We're located in Dallas. We have two locations. We have one near downtown Dallas and we have one in the colony. We run two different leagues. We run an adult league and we run youth with our youth leagues. We have we average at about 120 to 150 teams per season.

And with our adults, we average at about 90 teams per season. And we run six seasons a year. OK.

Lance (00:48.622)
Is that for both, across both locations or is that the Dallas or how is that?

Ximena Mariel (00:51.895)
It's between both. It's between both locations. Yes.

Lance (00:56.77)
Got it, all right, but y'all just set up the new location in the colony.

Ximena Mariel (01:02.971)
Yes, we just opened the colony in the winter of last year, 2023. That was our first season there.

Lance (01:11.262)
Okay. Awesome. So like we were saying before, a lot of the point of this is just to help people in how to get stuff off the ground. Very different to go from one location to two than it is from nothing to your first location in terms of just having a brand and people knowing about you and all that. But can you talk, maybe that's a good thing to talk about is like when you first, when you guys first started, like, you know, when was the original location and what was it like to get off the ground and how did y'all do that and how has that kind of evolved now that you're going into a second location in terms of just how do you...

Ximena Mariel (01:22.146)
Mm-hmm.

Lance (01:38.67)
How do you go from nothing to just having rest and having whatever, and you guys own facilities as well, which is different than some folks, but like how do you go from just nothing to something?

Ximena Mariel (01:41.104)
Mm-hmm.

Ximena Mariel (01:48.487)
Yeah, well, the way that CityFutsal started in the beginning was founded in 2011 by my three younger brothers and my father. We're a family business. My two of my younger brothers are twins. They played soccer growing up. They wanted to stay in the sport as adults. So they were always training kids. Okay. They went to Brazil.

They trained there, that's where they got introduced to the sport of futsal. And so growing up playing futsal in Brazil, coming back, you know, wanting to stay in the sport of soccer, but like wanting to be able to provide or offer something new and a value to the market, to the youth market, they introduced futsal to them.

The key thing that they were able to do, the main thing that you're able to do whenever you're starting anything like this is they found a location, they found courts that they were able to rent long term, right, like a partnership. And from there, you know, they started a training program. Once that training program started, they realized that in order to kind of like

In order to really introduce a new, not a new sport, but a new sport to this community, um, you had to offer competition as well, which is why then in November of 2011, they introduced a futsal league. Okay. Um, yeah, I mean, that's just kind of like the way that you, you know, you can, the best way for anybody to learn a new sport is to play the sport.

So you can offer the training and the way in, in order for that sport to grow in training as well, you have to give them competition. So that's why we started.

Lance (03:45.166)
The original, yeah, but the training that they provided in the beginning was futsal training, and then there, but there were no futsal leagues to play in basically. Is that?

Ximena Mariel (03:55.199)
Correct. Yeah, yeah. They introduced the sport of futsal to individuals because they did soccer training, right? Like individual sessions, you know? And then ultimately they created sort of like a school of futsal and kids would get out of school early at two o'clock and then they'd come to city futsal or to the gym that we were renting courts in. They would have a program there. They'd be there for...

Lance (04:03.458)
Wow.

Lance (04:12.11)
Hmm.

Oh.

Ximena Mariel (04:24.575)
two hours, you know, or two to three hours, depending on how long the program was. And yeah, and then we had, you know, youth pickup games every Friday, you know, but yeah.

Lance (04:26.926)
God.

Lance (04:30.475)
Okay.

Lance (04:37.626)
So they kind of grew from training a few of those people then they just kind of pick up and then there was like enough of a community of people to start forming some teams and actually make some real competition.

Ximena Mariel (04:47.063)
There was, however, in order to get those teams to start playing, you really do have to, that's where kind of like there's another hustle that happens. You know, in order to get those leagues started, which were really started and introduced by our father, Federico, you know, because my brothers were a part of that sort of that club soccer scene growing up, they

Lance (04:57.984)
Hmm.

Ximena Mariel (05:15.463)
had contacts, they still kept in touch with people, old coaches, any friends who grew up who maybe went into training, went into coaching, they could reach out to. But yeah, it was really just like, you get on to the websites of the soccer clubs and you just start reaching out to coaches, reaching out to teams and just introduce yourself and tell them what you're doing.

Lance (05:20.779)
Mmm.

Lance (05:43.162)
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Ximena Mariel (05:44.815)
you know, invite them out. Our leagues, the way that we started our youth leagues, we really approached them as events and wanted them to be, you know, not just, you know, the sport itself, futsal, is a really exciting sport. It's a fast-paced game. It's a high-scoring game. You know, there's, you know, everybody who's playing is really involved in it.

So I think that for the spectators, for the parents, they really enjoyed watching their kids play. And then for coaches, they really started seeing the benefit of the sport in terms of developing players as well. And we would make these leagues just really great events. We would be there servicing them, talking to them, having music, showcasing games.

you know, just making them really exciting and making them like a very welcoming and inclusive experience, you know? And I think that is what sort of differentiated us between just like your regular outdoor league where you just, you go to a field, there's really nobody there other than the people who are playing and you have your referees, of course, but there's no one there that's like welcoming you in and welcoming.

Welcoming you to the league itself or to you know wishing you a good game, right? So yeah, it was just there is a lot you know, you had to be really involved in every part of it Yeah

Lance (07:18.286)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, that.

Lance (07:26.89)
Right. That reminds me of when I started, you know, our leagues. I was out there and I would get a cooler gist of Gatorade and just give it away for free. And I would just, you know, there's hardly anybody coming, but I was there just like you're saying, welcoming and here's a Gatorade. I'm so glad you're here. Yeah. And like, you just got to get that kind of hustle in that really, really early, that early phase. So I guess, you know, what's all my next question was kind of around differentiating.

Ximena Mariel (07:37.406)
Yeah.

Ximena Mariel (07:42.17)
Mm-hmm.

Ximena Mariel (07:45.771)
Yeah, yes.

Lance (07:52.31)
the product the player experience from the competition's futsal in itself was differentiating and also what you just said just the amount of like customer service and stuff that you guys were there and you were making it kind of an event did that sort of evolve over time from you kind of first got ten fifteen twenty whatever teams uh... calling coaches bringing them out there like that obviously there's a lot of transition from that to having a hundred and fifty teams or something like that so how did you think about the player experience and

think about evolving the operation to go from being small to being much larger.

Ximena Mariel (08:27.475)
Well, I think that one thing that we did that helped, and I'm saying this, I came into the operation about four years after it started, and I came into the operation on a scheduling side as just an administrative side. And I think that helped a lot.

I think that once you're able to get your leagues to a certain point where, you know, it's one, the hustle never stops, right? Like you have to keep reaching out to teams. You have to keep calling teams. You have to keep reminding them to sign up that they want to sign up, you know, and encouraging them to do so. But I think that...

what you have to include once you start growing and you realize that you can't do everything by yourself is that you need to bring other people on to support your operation, right? So for me, I think that what I was able to give to them was one, another aspect of customer service because I realized when I came on also that in scheduling and dealing with schedule conflicts,

You can really turn a lot of people off if you don't service them appropriately, you know, and that can really push people away if you're not going to accommodate them. Because at the same time, you have to realize that you are not their primary league of, not, I don't want to say their league of, not their league of choice, but you're not their primary league, right? You are.

Lance (09:54.35)
Thank you.

Ximena Mariel (10:17.275)
you're a recreational league for them, even though it can be a competitive league and you can play competitive games, they're there for extra touches, they're there for fun, they're there for competition, they're all there for lots of different reasons. So I think that when you get to a certain point of growth, where you have a lot of teams, you need to think about how you're servicing them in the backend as well.

to make that experience enjoyable, to accommodate them. And then, you know, to continue on, on the front end with what you're doing, you know, making your events, you know, treating your leagues like events, being there, you know, rooting, you know, cheering them on, on the sidelines with them, just educating them as well in the sport because it was new for a lot of them. So yeah.

I don't know if that really answered your question.

Lance (11:16.534)
No, it did. It definitely, yeah. The administrative, the organizational, there's the front-end operational, like you're at the fields and there's people there and the game is going to happen and all that, but just everything else about getting that to happen and communicating. And I've seen some of the stuff that you do when there's 150 teams that have to be scheduled and a lot of them have, like you're saying, they've got other things that they're doing and they can't play this week or this time or they're not going to be traveling for a tournament or whatever.

accommodating all that it gets it gets to be a pretty complicated problem I think to do all that and I can you know Having somebody who's dedicated to figuring that out Makes a ton of sense

Ximena Mariel (11:53.527)
Yes, I think that is really, really important. Um, and don't get me wrong. I, I remember coming in, you know, and I didn't do the schedules initially. Um, and they were awful. You know, they're awful. And I remember just like getting so many complaints about schedules and it was really stressful. So.

Yeah, I mean, you have to bring someone on who can kind of tackle that and who can dedicate themselves to that and just, you know, and really just give them that job of just like making sure that the people show up to their games, right? You have to, you got to fill the space. Yeah.

Lance (12:37.614)
Yeah, what? So...

Yeah, so in terms of like if building an excellent schedule is a key part of this whole thing, and one part of that is that you accommodate all these requests, are there other pieces that you think about of what makes a really, really great schedule? I mean, what obviously kind of comes to mind is competitive balance and ensuring that there's good competition. Like how do you think about that element or any other elements of what a good schedule looks like?

Ximena Mariel (13:05.163)
Yeah, I mean, obviously you want your leagues, you want your divisions to be balanced. You want teams to be playing in the appropriate division for them. So when you're getting teams to register for leagues and when they're new teams that you're not familiar with, it's good to get as much information from them as you can, you know, our leagues, the way that we have our registrations are

You know, anybody can register into any division. I mean, they, they're the ones telling us. If they're a competitive team, if they're intermediate, if they're a beginner. And sometimes teams maybe think that they're at a certain level that they're not quite at, or they're coming from rec and they want to go, you know, they want to play a little bit more competitive games because they're not getting that in their rec league. Um.

but then you have competitive club teams as well playing in the same division. So over time, once you become, and I think it takes a good two to four seasons really to get teams consistently playing, to really get a feel for who they are and where to place them.

Because at first you're gonna place them where they tell you to, you know? If they say, hey, I'm, you know, a silver level team this age, you're gonna place them in that division, right? With those teams. But you'll see over time through a few seasons whether or not they really are, or maybe they're playing below their level and they should be playing higher. So that way then you balance out your seasons or you balance out your divisions.

Lance (14:52.142)
Are y'all?

Lance (14:57.41)
So yeah, like you're saying, that obviously sometimes doesn't work and sometimes a team's gonna come in and it's not a good fit. Do you guys, like how do you think about that if somebody comes in and they just get blown out in the first game? Like how are you gonna...

Ximena Mariel (15:03.303)
Mm-hmm.

Ximena Mariel (15:10.139)
Um, well, what I do when I see a team, um, struggling or maybe not having the best season or that they're placed in the wrong division is I'll offer them games and an appropriate division. I don't change it. I don't change the schedule. I don't remove them from the division. Um, but I will try to balance out their season. So that way they at least get some games that are good and they don't have

a horrible experience. You know, we definitely don't want anyone coming in having just being blown out every single, and I mean, sometimes it happens and sometimes you really can't do anything about it, but if you can, if you can balance out their schedule and just give them extra games in another division or invite another team to come out to play them, then you should, you know, you should make it a good experience for them.

Lance (16:07.638)
Interesting, I don't think I've ever heard of that.

Ximena Mariel (16:08.803)
Yeah, that's what I do. Or that's what I do for youth. I don't do that for adults. For the adults, I don't do that. But for our youth teams, I do.

Lance (16:16.658)
Okay, okay. Got it. Sorry you think I do. Yeah, yeah. That's, that's, okay, yeah. I've never heard that before. So they'll have a schedule, and then you'll give them extra, like, free games that you think will be a better fit, just to make sure they're having at least some that are good. Yeah. Interesting. So. Yeah. Yeah, okay. That makes sense.

Ximena Mariel (16:35.74)
Yeah.

Lance (16:40.446)
And so that kind of touched on scheduling and competitive balance, and you get to know these teams over these seasons, and eventually things kind of click and lock into place. And so there's some element of just stick around for a while and things will get better if you're new to this, because you'll get to know the teams, you'll build these relationships, you'll get more competitive balance. So I think all that makes sense. But you talked about youth and adult. You guys started with youth. How did you think about adding adult and like why? And also y'all do soccer as well as.

Ximena Mariel (16:54.719)
Mm-hmm.

Lance (17:09.17)
as futsal, right? So how did that all?

Ximena Mariel (17:11.13)
Yes.

Yeah, so when we started with youth, we started with futsal league. A futsal, futsal is a 5v5 sport, okay. When we opened our location in Dallas next to the Dallas Farmers Market, we had one futsal court, which is not ideal for us, but we had one court, and we had two fields.

Lance (17:14.547)
Yeah, so.

Ximena Mariel (17:44.731)
uh, small sided, they're small fields. So we stuck to that, um, five V five format, um, because. It is it's related to futsal, right? We, we take our, even the rules for the games, we ma we base them off of futsal rules, right? We kind of stayed true as true as we can to futsal, even on the turf. Um.

Lance (18:08.258)
Hmm.

Lance (18:13.111)
Yeah.

Ximena Mariel (18:14.735)
So having those turf fields gave us a new opportunity, right? A new opportunity to have a new league. We did have youth, we call, what did we call them? I think we, yeah, we called them youth soccer leagues at first, 5E5 soccer leagues. But at this location, you know, because of where we were,

in the city, it made sense for us to invite adults to come in. So we started having a lot of pickup games, having free times. The park open for free for adults to come in and play. And they showed up. They came. And we started building our adult leagues with free agents.

and just built teams out of free agents. We only had one turf field as well. So it wasn't, you know, when you have just one surface, it's not too difficult to fill just that one surface. But yeah, we started building with free agents and, you know, again, we made the space super exciting, right, it was this new outdoor park. We called it a park.

You know, we had music, we had a concession. We, you know, we just, we had bibs that were branded with our logo. We made the members, you know, we made, we wanted them to feel kind of like, this is a, this is a family, this is a place where you can come and meet other people. You know, we had, we had a beer, you know, they could get a drink afterwards, they could hang out. So yeah, we really wanted it to be kind of like this, you know,

Lance (19:48.773)
and

Ximena Mariel (20:09.983)
play and social place that people could come to. So yeah, from there, it just kind of, it built. And we only had one field, we had sand, and we had a futsal court. So as those, as the adults kind of grew and we started filling those leagues and there was more demand for people wanting to play, we ended up...

Lance (20:12.174)
Sure.

Yeah.

Ximena Mariel (20:38.795)
replacing that sand with another field and we were able to grow that adult league into two fields.

Lance (20:42.341)
Mm.

Lance (20:46.798)
Yeah, that makes sense. So it's kind of a similar story with adult and youth in terms of just this really like high touch kind of method of getting it off the ground, getting people to come out, a lot of great customer service and all that. And then you kind of mentioned it grew from there. So, but how does that growth look like? I mean, was most of the growth just super organic from 10 teams to 12 to 14 or whatever, or?

were y'all doing any kind of marketing at any point to get more people to come in? And how did y'all think about growing sort of through paid means, I guess?

Ximena Mariel (21:19.651)
Yeah, I think that a lot of it was organic. A lot of it was word of mouth. We did, or we do, use for this location, we did a lot of Facebook ads for our adult leagues. I think that we realized that, you know, doing those Facebook ads, you could really, like, it made sense for you to be able to put out an ad for an adult league like that.

We've never done them for youth leagues though. We did also try to at that time sort of get really creative with our Instagram accounts or our Instagram account. We had a segment every week called the weekly minute that was kind of like, almost like a call to action, right? This is what's coming up and this is what you need to do, right?

Lance (21:48.894)
Oh.

Lance (21:52.448)
Oh.

Ximena Mariel (22:19.643)
But yeah, I think that for the most part, I'm sure that they grew that way. It's kind of hard to gauge or figure out how much like marketing really works, like paid advertisement really works. Especially if you're not really asking those questions and looking at the answers, right?

Lance (22:37.85)
Mm.

Lance (22:42.574)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know, yeah, some people have done it where they'll do a discount code through a specific channel. Like they'll do one discount code that if you go through a Google ad you can see or one through a Facebook ad and then you can see who kind of applies that. Did y'all ever do anything like that with discounts to?

Ximena Mariel (22:51.112)
Yeah.

Ximena Mariel (22:58.683)
We never did that with our adult leagues. No, we really didn't. I guess we just didn't feel like we needed to. We do that in other programs that we run, but we really don't do that with our leagues. I think that, you know, it grew organically. It was a word of mouth thing. And, you know,

Lance (23:06.934)
Yeah.

Lance (23:23.927)
Yeah.

Ximena Mariel (23:24.879)
I think it's also really important when you do run a league is that you have a specific code of conduct or like a mission, you know, to, um,

Lance (23:31.541)
Hmm.

Ximena Mariel (23:35.355)
in order to keep your league, you know, pretty solid, you know, so that way you can one, know who your customer is and.

give them expectations of the league, you know? So that way, then it's like, okay, yeah, I wanna go play at this league because this is what they're about, right? Like these things don't happen there, or they don't tolerate a bunch of fights breaking out in adult, you know, because that is something that happens in adult leagues. You get fights, right? So I think that...

Lance (23:50.135)
Mm-hmm.

Lance (24:06.422)
Yeah, yeah.

Lance (24:12.642)
Yeah, I was gonna ask you about that. Yeah, like, how do y'all manage sportsmanship? So you have a code of conduct, and then, I mean, fighting is pretty egregious, but there's probably a number of things that are outside that. So how do y'all, how do you deal with that? I mean, are you really upfront with new players and teams when they show up? Have you had to kick teams out because of this stuff, or have you thought about that?

Ximena Mariel (24:15.807)
Yeah, it's really difficult.

Ximena Mariel (24:33.983)
Mm-hmm. Oh, yeah, no, we are very upfront about it. We have a code of conduct that we send to everybody. Whether or not they read it, I don't know, but they should. And yeah, any time that a fight breaks out, we deal with it immediately, you know? Or any time there's an issue on any end, we'll deal with it immediately. And...

Lance (24:49.058)
Yeah.

Ximena Mariel (25:02.319)
If we need to kick anybody out, we will. Absolutely. We have, we definitely have.

Lance (25:08.525)
Who deals with it? How do you think about the staff? Because you guys can't be out there all the time anymore, right? So how do you think about the staffing part of it? Who's going to be there when a fight breaks out? Is that on the referees to deal with that? Or is that something else?

Ximena Mariel (25:23.291)
Yeah, so that's another thing, right? Staffing, you can't be at all your leagues, right? You can in the beginning, and like we said, as you grow, you need to bring on new people. Staffing has always been challenging for us. I think it's challenging for everybody. Just because...

You are, I think what you have to realize when you are hiring somebody to do your job that you've done is that you need to. You need to train them right, you need to train them to do that job so we've actually gotten to a point now where who we hire we call them coordinators.

Lance (25:56.544)
you

Ximena Mariel (26:12.623)
Um, we've recognized that we do want someone there that is watching the games. That is, um, there to support your referees if needed. Um, the referees are in charge of their game, so it's not, they're not there to tell the referees what to do at all. Um, but they are definitely there to support them, to evaluate them, to give them feedback if needed. Um,

And yeah, and to intervene if there's ever a conflict that arises between two teams and they need to support the referee or if they need to kick somebody out that they can. So yeah, with that, that that's what we now we have coordinators, we have someone who's always at our games who

Lance (26:59.894)
Is that one per field or is it one per like group of fields?

Ximena Mariel (27:04.843)
Um, it is so for league play it's one per, um, well, let's see. And, and the colony, we have two fields, so we'll have one person. Um, and Dallas, we have three surfaces. We'll have one person. Um, if we're, if we're running a tournament or something, then we'll have multiple. Um, but for league play, no, we'll just have one and they just have to, um, you know, circulate the space. Yeah.

Lance (27:33.07)
Yep, that's who we do it as well. If you were advising somebody who's gonna make their first hire for a coordinator, they're gonna kinda take a step back for the first time from being out there all the time. Do you have sort of thoughts or advice on what kind of person is a good fit and who's not? Like have y'all ever made any bad decisions with who you hired and been like, oh that's not the right profile, they need to be older, younger. Some experience with this or that, like how do y'all think about who's a good person to hire?

Ximena Mariel (27:56.194)
Yeah.

Ximena Mariel (28:01.175)
Um, the P we've definitely hired the wrong people before. Um, but no, what we look for now, um, and the people that we're hiring, hiring for that position is someone who is confident, you know, um, someone who's not really, who can understand their role. Um, but who's just extremely confident.

Lance (28:07.136)
I'm sorry.

Ximena Mariel (28:27.951)
You know, I think that is really the most important thing. Someone who's confident, who knows how to talk to people, who's a people person, who can see things objectively, who's not going to take it. You know, you don't want them to take anything personal because it's not, like it's not personal. None of it is. Um, but I think that you also have to realize that just because you're hiring somebody to do a job that you are doing, doesn't mean that you are no longer doing that job.

Lance (28:46.306)
Bye.

Ximena Mariel (28:57.827)
you still have to go every weekend or every day for as long as you need to, to make sure that they're doing their job, that they're doing it the way that you would do it, you know? Because I think, I know that once you kind of like lay back and relax a little bit and kind of like let things go and say, okay, it's yours now, do the job, they'll, you know, as an employee, you kind of are like...

Lance (29:09.87)
Mm-hmm.

Lance (29:25.751)
Yeah.

Ximena Mariel (29:28.503)
I'm going to sit back. I'm not really going to, I'm going to avoid watching this game because I don't want to, I don't want to deal with those, those people right now, you know. But yeah, so you have to always be on top of them. And, you know, for us, what we do, we have a weekly Zoom meeting every, every week we have a meeting. And it's a

Lance (29:30.687)
Interesting.

Ximena Mariel (29:56.095)
place for us to one, go over our calendar with them, this is what's coming up, but also to just kind of get their feedback to be, for it to be a space where they can, if any issues came up, like that we can talk about it and we can see if they have any solutions to those problems or if we need to come up with a solution to the problem, or how do we deal with difficult customers, or how do we deal with a fight that breaks out?

Um, so it gets really, it does get redundant, you know, and you will repeat yourself a lot, but I think that it's, I think it's appreciated, you know, I think it's appreciated and I think it's necessary, but, but yeah, just because you hire someone to do a job that you need to lay off of doesn't mean that you're off the hook. It still falls back. It still falls back on you. So you want to make sure that, that you're on top of them. Yeah.

Lance (30:44.312)
Okay.

Lance (30:48.237)
Yeah.

Lance (30:52.622)
for sure. Yeah, that makes sense. Okay, so I think we're close to being out of time, so let's do one more question, which is kind of broad, but I guess you said you started, they started like November 2011, I think is what you said or something like that, or at some point, so you all have been around for a little while now. How has technology changed and how has it like influenced the way you guys do business from then to now to how you see it in the next five or 10 years? Like what's...

Ximena Mariel (31:01.18)
Okay.

Ximena Mariel (31:08.287)
Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Lance (31:22.53)
What is the role of technology in your operation and the player experience? And yeah, where do you see it going? Where do you want it to go? That kind of thing.

Ximena Mariel (31:31.847)
Yeah, technology. That one's tough. That, that.

Lance (31:34.246)
Because you're the most involved in anything, right, with the tech in general.

Ximena Mariel (31:38.911)
Um, I am in terms of our systems, right? And like how we administer our leagues, how we communicate with our customers. Um, and to be honest with you, uh, I'm, I think it's important to find technology that, that is going to support what you're doing and make it easier, not just for your customer and

their experience in terms of registering, but also for you, like as the organizer, like you need something that is going to support you. The way that we're kind of looking at technology now and how we used to do things is we kind of wanna go back to how we used to do things. We wanna go back to...

making our leagues feel like these events, right? We wanna go back to using technology to showcase games, right? And to have interviews, to interview the coaches, to interview the players, to interview the adults, to like pick a game that we know is going to be a good game to watch and showcase that, have some commentary.

and use technology in that way. So that way then we really can make it about the player experience rather than, you know, just making whatever our backend work a little bit easier or something, which you're always gonna have to have your hand in the administrative side of things. It's not ever, I don't know that it's ever gonna be totally automated. I would love it, but.

Lance (33:14.082)
Sure, sure.

Ximena Mariel (33:27.699)
but you're always gonna have to, that's why you need to find a system that supports you enough, right? And then hopefully, you know, schedulers will get better and algorithms like you've said, will be able to recognize conflicts or, you know, just be a little bit smarter, I guess. I don't know if that's the right way to say it. But I think that the way that we're looking at technology going forward is to

Yeah, is really to make it more about the player experience, to make it about, you know, and also to just like keep them engaged, right? So that way they come, they play a game, and then they go home and they watch the game, you know? And they enjoy that and they keep watching it, or they're able to take clips from that, right? But yeah, I think that that's the way that we are kind of looking at technology right now and how we want to do it.

Lance (34:10.599)
Yeah. Right.

Ximena Mariel (34:26.251)
Use it. Yeah.

Lance (34:26.926)
Yeah, it's a consistent theme for you guys is all what is the player making it feel like an event this player experience and You're thinking about content now to say that can we support it and make it more of an event and more of a special Experience with content with clips with ways they can engage and all that kind of stuff. It makes sense Okay, I think that's I think that's all the questions and all the time. So Yeah, I appreciate the conversation and hopefully some other people will as well

Ximena Mariel (34:55.867)
Yes, well thank you for inviting me. It was nice to talk about it. I never get to talk about this with anybody. Yeah. All right, thank you.

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