How to Start an Office Sports League

Office sports leagues can improve morale, reduce stress and increase communication. Here are tips to start your own.

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Written by Brian Sigafoos
Updated Aug 30

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of how to plan, manage, and promote your office sports league, let's look at some of the reasons why you would want to start one in the first place. Creating or joining an office sports league has many benefits as a group and individually.

office sports league

Benefits of Office Sports Leagues

Reduce Stress

It's no secret that physical activity reduces physical and mental stress. Exercise is basically a trial run for your body. When you voluntarily put yourself in a stressful situation, like playing basketball, your body has the opportunity to practice the interactions needed to respond to that stress. The more we practice handling stressful situations well, the easier those situations are to handle.

Build Morale

Giving co-workers a common goal outside of work will help to build morale. Feeling victory and failure together deepen trust and loyalty between co-workers. People tend to feel loyalty to peers rather than a company or title. This connection can lead to higher productivity and efficiency.

Open Communication

Building strong relationships on the field will improve workplace relationships. Allowing co-workers, supervisors, and managers to work in a new context will increase trust which carries into the office and can improve communication. A positive relationship on the field lends itself to a positive relationship in the office.

How someone plays a game and how someone solves a problem are very similar. Having the chance to see co-workers on the field can bring insight to how they work and how communication can shift to their problem-solving style.

Now that you've decided a sports league will benefit your office it's time to get started on creating your league.

office sports league

Creating Your Office League

Choose a Sport

This sounds like a simple task but deciding on what game to organize will make a big difference on how you plan your league.

Consider the general activity level of your potential players

  • If you have a very sports inclined office a more aggressive sport may be appropriate. Soccer, basketball, and flag football are great options for this case.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, if you're planning a lunch league or know your team doesn't want to necessarily get sweaty, games like ping pong, badminton, and pickleball will be more appropriate.
  • Most offices will have a mixture of die-hard athletes and recreational players. If you have a large office, splitting your league into competitive and noncompetitive can be a great way for everyone to feel challenged.

Consider the supplies needed when choosing a sport

  • While crochet sounds like a fun game, it may end up being a large hassle to buy and move all of the supplies needed. A game like soccer requires very little.

Consider expenses

  • Some sports are more or less expensive than others. If you have a company budget for your league, keep that in mind when choosing your sport. If you are going to ask players or teams to contribute you want to keep costs low, to reduce any barriers to play.
  • If you require players or teams to play you'll also want consider a way to collect payments. Whether it's cash or using online registration(that's us!), have a system in place.

Choose a Location

Make it easy for your employees and co-workers to attend your games by choosing a field or gym near your office. Even better if you're able to host your game in the office.

Make Teams

If you're choosing a sport that involves teams eliminate the potential for drama by creating teams rather than having players choose their own. Try to mix departments to give employees who don't usually spend time together a chance to connect!

Make a Schedule

Again you want to make it easy for people to join your league. After work games can be tricky when many people have families and other commitments, plus not everyone will be thrilled about staying late. Weekends are even harder depending on where your players live.

The ideal times are lunch and weekday afternoons. When given the option to take a long lunch or end the work day early for a game, most people will be excited to join!

Will your league be competitive or recreational?

  • Recreational leagues are organized in a round robin fashion, where each team plays every team at least once.
  • Competitive games can be organized in a bracket with single or double elimination. If you choose a bracket but still want to keep people playing even after they are eliminated, a round robin group can be created.

Get Players Excited

The most important part of the equation is to get your co-workers and employees to join your league! Here are some ideas on how to build up excitement for your office league.

  • Promote your league as much as you can! Create flyers, post reminders on group messaging platforms, and tell people in person.
  • Offer prizes to winners. Even if it's something small, prizes and the idea of winning creates excitement.
  • Create team names and shirts. Better yet have teams create and design their own!

Ready to go?

Check out our Ultimate Guide to Organizing a Sports League for more tips!