Business franchising is a common idea known to us all. Most local major business houses are under franchises or similar financial agreements. McDonalds, Kentucky Fried. White goods firms, bedding and furniture, huge building enterprizers and even the big-time hotel industry.
The concept behind all this is that the mother company builds the brand name through promotions and advertising and then the local store front - engages in the commerce in ‘whatever’ to the community.
What about sports. Let us consider the following ideas -
Families and sport
Families play a massive role in determining what sports their children play. In our family my mother played hockey before the WWII in Sydney and when the War came many members of their hockey team signed up for the Land Army. Hockey was a major sport in Canberra and our Canberra Baptist Church had hockey teams and so it was to hockey we played. Similarly netball.
Talk to any family in Australia who are in way sporty, you will hear similar stories where the parents played particular sports and so the family played those sports too. It was and still is - ‘evaluate the game’ - around the dinner table.
Schools and sports
Many schools have a sport focus and the plaques on their foyer walls illustrate their prowess in those specific sports. Certainly this applies to private schools, but also State Schools have a similar emphasis – such as on the annual athletics carnival and then to regional representative athletic carnivals.
Likewise soccer, hockey, netball, Aussie Rules, rugby, badminton, basketball, softball and numerous others. Those sports have weekend Clubs from which the schools become a drawing card and everyone in the community (country town regional centre, suburb) knows who is involved and how to join any one of them.
The bigger picture
This is where ‘franchising the idea’ comes into play. Television plays an enormous part in the promotion of their various sporting codes - NRL, AFL, Netball, Soccer, Rugby, The Olympics - to name just a few.
Each of these major sporting codes have “talent scouts” who check out what is referred to as ‘prospects’ to the larger stage. Young lads are invited to training camps. My son was invited to the Canberra Cosmos youth training (soccer) when at high school and then went to England and played for the Manchester Juniors. In 2006 they were the only English team to win any European tournament (in Prague).
The idea behind all this ‘marketing’ is to provide young people a dream, a hope, a step up so that the organisation might draw from as wide as pool as possible the very best prospects. The AFL draft on television is just this. For the young person, it is a wonderful opportunity. The idea behind franchising brings it all together.
Much the same when ….
Buying a house - which of the banks or multiple mortgage lenders - no not the sleekest franchise advertising albeit that plays a part - but which bank or lending institution did your family use. What of your friends (school and university buddies) similarly, then a search as to which bank might offer the best deal.
I’m finding more and more it is not that dissimilar in Protestant church life. Family, Friends, Franchise marketing. Indeed Hillsong has the third one (marketing) down pat.
Our local suburban church (a Baptist congregation but you wouldn’t know it) adjacent to the Gold Coast airport has a focus on the second – friends and friends, and life groups - so full in the morning service that those without children (like us oldies) were asked to attend the 6.00pm youth service to make room for families.
Have a look around you, in almost everything we engage in, has a franchise of ideas element. It seems that focusing is all important - sport, career, housing, church, life … and it all starts with family influences.
Families play such an important role in our society. And what did our Prime Minister Scott Morrison refer to them as, that’s it,. the quiet Australians.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand. Dr Mark Tronson’s Press Service International in 2019 was awarded the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award, The Gutenberg.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at