• Clubs Benefit from Aggressive Collections Efforts

    by AB Staff April 2011

    One of the smartest business decisions we've made in recent years was to become more aggressive with our collections procedures for overdue accounts. This hasn't made us particularly popular with, ahem, certain members, but it has helped our cash flow and made us more confident that we are treating all of our members fairly.

    For years, we gently followed up on members who were 30, 60 and 90 days (or more) overdue, even using an outside agency to do so, but the real change was when we went to "Level 2" collections. If you've ever been in Level 2 collections for anything, you know that those collectors want their money. Their efforts with regard to our members are never rude or unprofessional, but they are persistent and effective, and our collections efforts are now paying dividends beyond the money we've collected.

  • Blog: David Barton Gym's Demise Is Simple Economics

    by Rob Bishop and Barry Klein March 2011

    The news that David Barton Gym has filed for bankruptcy protection was another kick in the teeth for our industry. It also should serve as a reminder to every health club owner that the next new thing is not necessarily the right thing.

  • Club-Owner Strategies for Finding, Saving, Managing Cash

    by AB Staff January 2011

    This is for all of you who were stumped over the holidays when a relative asked, "So, how's business?" — given that you have no access to capital and your product is considered a discretionary expense by most consumers.

    All sorts of observations and advice, usually proffered by people who don't actually run a business, have left us speechless as the Great Recession has dragged on. Perhaps you've read those articles on "How to Manage Cash Flow in a Down Economy," which advise business owners to "Get out there and sell!"

    Gee — thanks!

    Or, perhaps you share our disgust with bankers. We had at least four local loan officers actually say to us, "It looks like you had a rough 2008." Uh. . . yeah. Maybe you read about the worst economy since the Great Depression? It was in all the papers, and you bankers had something to do with it. . . ?

  • AB Conference: Doing More With Less

    by Nicholas Brown December 2010

    For the hundreds of attendees representing parks and recreation agencies, a running theme through the early stages of this year's Athletic Business Conference & Expo has been doing more with less.

  • Corporate Fitness Programs Add Value, Even if Difficult to Track

    by Paul Steinbach October 2010

    Corporate fitness professionals believe in the value of their programs, even if returns are difficult to track.

  • Non-Conference Scheduling Leads to Lopsided Scores, Balanced Books

    by Paul Steinbach October 2010

    Paid-game scheduling agreements often lead to lopsided scores, but they help many schools balance their books.

  • Economy Hits College Sports Hard

    by Michael Popke August 2010

    A new NCAA report shows that just 14 of the 120 Football Bowl Subdivision schools made money from campus athletics during the 2009 fiscal year, down from 25 the year before. Researchers blame the sagging economy and suggest that numbers for the 2010 fiscal year could be even worse.

  • Ryan Says He Can't Bring Relief From Ballpark Heat

    by Paul Steinbach August 2010

    During his playing days, no one could bring the heat like Nolan Ryan. Now, the newly minted owner of the Texas Rangers would like to take some away. But adding shade to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is being deemed unfeasible.

  • Safe At Home - But For How Long?

    by Michael Popke April 2010

    We've published lots of stories in recent years about school districts faced with budget crises so severe that administrators were forced to consider (or at least threaten) the elimination of prep sports. But, eventually, they would find a way to salvage at least some programs - whether through reducing or removing other creative fundraising solutions. Options, it seemed, were always available.

  • Cash-Strapped High Schools Struggle to Keep Pools Open

    by Michael Popke July 2009

    As aging high school pools fall into disrepair, cash-strapped districts either are partnering with other entities to keep facilities afloat or deciding to shut them down.