After the 2010 Winter Olympics, my husband found he had contracted curling fever. I mean, he had it bad. But we never looked into playing, figuring that opportunities to try curling were thin where we live. Then one day, an ad appeared in the local paper. The Potomac Curling Club (I didn't even know there was one) was holding an open house, and everyone was invited. "No experience necessary," the ad noted, but "dress warmly."
I thought the "dress warmly" part was all about being on the ice, but it was actually because when we got there, we had to stand in line to get in the door. No kidding. A long line of people were waiting outside in the freezing cold so they could try curling. While we were out there, PCC members circulated, answering questions, making jokes, handing out hot cocoa and talking up their sport.
Curling turned out to be a great spectator sport for me (there was no limit to my lack of on-ice talent), and tremendous fun for my husband (who inquired about league play). Without the ad, though, neither of us - and probably 99 percent of the people in line that morning - would not have known the facility existed, despite the fact that it was practically in our backyard.
Holding an open house is a great way to bring people into your sports facility, and even better when you tie it in with a high-profile event: World Cup Soccer, the Fed Cup, the Olympics, "The Biggest Loser," roller derby, anything.
The prospects are out there. All they need is an invitation.