CSL’s trademark is variety in recreation—traditional offerings like volleyball and bowling, and more recent additions like kickball and euchre. Most leagues are co-ed, and all feature championships. CSL also hosts happy hours, parties, and outings to help young Cincinnatians connect.
Events take place at local parks and businesses; most are in centrally-located neighborhoods. President Brian Polark is proud to keep player costs down by not owning a building for events. “If we need a gym, we pay the rental fee to a local high school or church, and so put cash back into their programs.”
The vision for Cincinnati’s own sports and event planning organization began when a similar national outfit closed overnight. Polark started CSL with two friends who also worked for the national company’s Cincinnati branch. CSL’s immediate success pointed up the city’s need for the social capital its leagues and events provide.
“CSL provides an opportunity to retain talent by providing benefits for young professionals in our
area. It fills a void. So many young people get training here, attend college here, but never really put roots down. They ask themselves, ‘Can work and social life coexist?’” Polark pointed out that CSL leagues can provide a team-building experience for corporate employees, or provide a fun activity for any group of friends. CSL can also place individual players on teams.
Polark and his team are always looking for creative ways to expand while meeting local needs. CSL has formed an innovative partnership with UC Athletics and UCATS (UC Athletics Team Support). “We cater events to the UC fan base, so that students would be familiar with CSL even before graduation.” Net proceeds from Friday night parties are donated back to university groups.
CSL’s upcoming events include Late Fall Leagues, and Halloween and New Year’s parties at Oakley’s 20th Century Theatre. Looking toward next year, Polark is working toward growth within Cincinnati, with eventual expansion to other markets.
Written by: Elena Stevenson
Source: Brian Polark, President, Cincinnati Sports Leagues