Customer Service Targeting the Club Membership Majority
by Rob Bishop and Barry Klein February 2014
No good deed goes unpunished. Said differently, we’ve decided that at times we provide customer service that is too good.
We don’t mean that arrogantly. What we mean is that we can’t care about things that aren’t important to the majority of our customers. It’s just too hard, and it takes a toll on us financially, professionally and emotionally.
Video: Augie Nieto Prepares to Walk on IHRSA Stage
by Michael Gaio February 2014
They told him it would never happen. As the paralysis gripped Augie Nieto's body and the awful effects of ALS took away his ability to move, doctors told him he would never walk again.
But Augie refused to listen.
Blog: Don't Let Sexual Orientation Define Sam
by Michael Gaio February 2014
"I'm not afraid to tell the world who I am. I'm Michael Sam: I'm a college graduate. I'm African American, and I'm gay," he said. "I'm comfortable in my skin."
In Recruiting, Handwritten Letters Are Enduring Staple
by Michael Gaio February 2014
Wednesday is National Signing Day for prep athletes. When the student-athletes sign their Letter of Intent, it will mark the end of a months-long, or in many cases, years-long recruiting process.
Education, Entertainment at 2013 Athletic Business Conference & Expo
by AB Staff January 2014
The Athletic Business Conference & Expo celebrated its 32nd year by welcoming sports, fitness and recreation professionals from around the world to San Diego last November for educational seminars, golf, facility tours, product demonstrations, parties, Zumba and some Magic, as in Johnson — one of two marquee keynote speakers at ABC 2013. Co-location partners included the International Council on Active Aging, the Medical Fitness Association, the National Alliance for Youth Sports, as well as the iClubs Conference, the independent club owners and executives conference.
Blog: Event Organizers Can Do Better Than Free T-Shirts
by Mary Helen Sprecher January 2014
A group of us happened to be in the midst of organizing a recent racquetball tournament when the chairman looked at me and said, “Can you think of anything other than a T-shirt to give out here?”
The more I thought about it, the more I thought about how right she was to ask. Is there anyone out there who doesn’t have way more than enough T-shirts? Specifically, is there anyone out there reading this who doesn’t have an entire boatload of T-shirts gained from participating in an athletic event?
Like anyone else who is looking at this, I’ve played in tournaments, run in 5Ks and gone swimming for charity. I’ve ridden bicycles, given blood and probably a bajillion other things I don’t remember, all in the name of health and benefitting a non-profit. And I have a drawer full of T-shirts to prove it. Most of them I haven’t even worn yet. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the shirt; it’s just that honestly, there are only so many you can wear. Ever.
Need proof? Every year, my church flea market receives donations of hundreds of T-shirts emblazoned with the logos of frat parties, scout camps, mud runs, sports teams, community fairs, you name it. Even neatly folded, they fill multiple cardboard boxes. We have to give them away to people who collect them for shelters and other groups. Why? Because after more than a decade of doing this, we know: nobody will buy them. Nobody. Ever.
A few months ago, I spoke with someone who happened to be in the business of providing logo merchandise and other souvenirs for various events. He told me there has been a definite shift in the choice of souvenirs people are offering.
“In fact,” he noted, “I can’t even remember how long it has been since someone ordered a box of ceramic coffee mugs for souvenirs.”
These days, he said, souvenirs are small, light and easily packed (thanks in part to weight restrictions on airline baggage, for those who travel to participate in events) and there is a distinct preference for two types of souvenirs: tech items (thumb drives, smart phone holders, mouse pads, iWallets – those are cases that stick on smartphones and provide a place for credit cards and whatnot), and what he termed eco-friendly souvenirs (in this case, meaning items that could be used long after the event is over, like pens, reusable grocery bags, etc.)
T-shirts, he noted, were the ‘evergreen’ of souvenirs since there was always someone who wanted them – but, he cautioned, “most people already have too many plain cotton ones.” Shirts in wicking fabrics, shirts cut for women and in fashion knits, shirts in a color other than white, and so forth were apt to be more desirable than the traditional 100% cotton T-shirts.
Of course, he added, all those do cost more.
So as we sat around, trying to decide what to give away as souvenirs for the tournament, we ran through the various other possibilities: hats, towels, socks, magnets, lanyards, sweatbands, water bottles, travel mugs, you name it.
In the end, we went back to T-shirts because we’d put on the registration form that everyone got one. But we resolved to think more creatively next time (I refuse to say ‘think outside the shirt’) and come up with some ideas for better souvenirs for future tournaments.
So what about you? Are you stuck in the same ‘T-shirt rut’ we are? If not, what are you offering as a souvenir for your 5Ks, tournaments and so forth? Less creative minds want to know.
Mary Helen Sprecher is a technical writer with the American Sports Builders Association and the editor of Sports Destination Management.
Unforgettable Experiences at Athletic Business Conference & Expo
by Dennis Van Milligen January 2014
Circle of trust time AB readers: Between us, I really had no idea what to expect at the 2013 Athletic Business Conference & Expo, held last November in San Diego. Which is odd for me to admit, as I consider myself somewhat of a trade show warrior.
Former Sporting Goods Exec Rallies Industry Around Inactivity Epidemic
by Paul Steinbach December 2013
While president of Wilson Sporting Goods at the time tennis was bouncing back from its 1990s participation slump, Jim Baugh began fielding calls from industry peers wondering how the turnaround could be replicated in other sports. That got Baugh thinking about a broader inactivity epidemic taking shape in America.
The Journey: On the Road with ROCK 360
by Tommy Saunders December 2013
Fitness is an industry of innovators and entrepreneurs. Some of the most recognized companies in fitness come from humble beginnings, started with nothing more than an idea and a drive to become successful.
Tommy Saunders is one of those innovators. Like so many entrepreneurs, he started his company at a time when his life was at a crossroads. Undecided between pursuing an NFL career, playing professional rugby or jumping into the coaching ranks, Saunders, a former wide receiver for the University of Missouri, founded ROCK 360.
One on One With Heath Nielsen
by Michael Gaio December 2013
On Saturday, Florida State's Jameis Winston was awarded the Heisman Trophy at a ceremony in New York City. Two years ago, Heath Nielsen, Baylor's associate athletic director of communications sat in the audience at that very ceremony and heard the player he and his staff had campaigned so hard for have his name called. Before joining AB, eMedia Editor Michael Gaio was on the staff in Baylor's athletic communications department. We had Michael catch up with his former boss to relive that season and gain insight into what it takes to market a Heisman Trophy winner.