Blake Thompson is owner/creator of Teammate Basketball in Grimsley, Tennessee. As a 2019 Connect Sports Game Changer, he discusses his passion for sports tourism.
What I do: I coordinate grassroots youth basketball tournaments; giving our youth an opportunity to spend weekends in a positive and productive atmosphere, all while economically benefiting the communities in which they’re held.
How I got here: I started as a volunteer in the travel basketball world during my time as a collegiate athlete at Georgia Southern University. After college, I held a variety of positions with NCAA Athletic Departments both at The University of Tennessee and the College of Charleston. My professional experiences did help put me in a position to successfully start and grow my organization, Teammate Basketball.
Why I am a Game Changer: Our organization will host more than 1,500 youth travel basketball teams in more than 40 communities in 2019. Our mission is to give youth an opportunity to play a sport in a structured environment, but also positively impact the communities in which they’re held.
Greatest career accomplishment: Successfully launching my own company at age 28.
Big-Time Event: Teammate Basketball National Championship: It’s held annually in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and is an incredible opportunity for teams to compete at a national tournament, all while providing a unique vacation opportunity for families as well. We brought in more than 160 teams to our inaugural national championship event in 2018.
Impressive stats: Teammate Basketball hosted approximately 550 teams in our first full season in 2016, and jumped to about 1,440 hosted teams in 2017.
What I am working now: We’re in the process of establishing events in new markets for 2020 and beyond.
What’s next? We’re in the process of improving team registration flow and integrating more features for travel basketball to benefit from via our platform. We want to be a one-stop shop for grassroots travel hoops.
What I do outside of work: My favorite thing to do outside of work is hang out with my best buddy and 3-year-old son, Tate.