RECENT ARTICLES
  • 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

    The Introduction
    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.

  • RG3's Best Qualities Transcend Football

    by Michael Gaio December 2013

    A man best known for his athletic accomplishments does his best work off the field.

  • Partnership with TRX Instructor Brings Firemen’s Fitness In-House

    by Emily Attwood December 2013

    The Middleton, Wis., Fire District was looking for a solution to keep its 120-person volunteer force in shape. "What we do is pretty serious," says fire chief Aaron Harris. "In a moment's notice, we could be fighting a structure fire. The strains on the body, the heart — the number-one leading killer of a firefighter is heart attacks — it's something we wanted to address."

  • In Your Words: #ABCSanDiego Recap

    by AB Staff December 2013

    A recap of the 32nd annual Athletic Business Conference & Expo as told by the people who experienced it.

  • On the Road to #ABCSanDiego

    by AB Editors November 2013

    Like many college recreation professionals, staff members from the University of Missouri's rec department, MizzouRec traveled to the Athletic Business Conference & Expo in San Diego last week. However, unlike many college recreation professionals, MizzouRec's staff road-tripped more than 1,800 miles to get there.

    Follow along as we posted daily updates from Diane Dahlmann, Carrie Steuber and Emily Bach as they documented their four day journey #ABCSanDiego and the excitement of the event once they arrived.


    Day 6: Friday, November, 22, 2013
    San Diego, CA
     
    Friday was another exciting day for attendees at the Athletic Business Conference. While Thursday's keynote speaker, Dr. Ken Dychtwald's captivated everyone in attendance with his thoughts on the aging population and how it applies to fitness and recreation, Friday brought one of California's biggest celebrities, to the stage: Magic Johnson.

    It was also an exciting day as Missouri's own Diane Dahlmann was a featured speaker in one of the seminars.


    Then it was on to the keynote speech by Magic Johnson. About 3,000 people filled the ballroom to hear him speak. Magic didn't just speak to the people in crowd, he interacted with them. He immediately left the stage and strolled down the aisles, frequently asking people to stand up asking them about themselves and taking photos with them... all while continuing his speech. It was truly impressive.
    Diane 1.jpg
    Diane was one of those lucky enough to be singled out by Magic. This picture was taken as Magic was in the middle of his keynote address. Magic 1.jpg

    Of course, the journey to San Diego wouldn't be complete unless everyone in the group got to meet Magic. After his speech, their wish came true as they posed with their "Road to ABC" banner.

    It was a great way to end a fantastic journey to the 2013 Athletic Business Conference and Expo.

    Magic 2.JPG

    Day 5: Thursday, November 21, 2013
    San Diego, CA
     
    Thursday marked the grand opening of the Athletic Business Conference trade show. With nearly 300 exhibitors and 600 booths, the trade show features products and services related to every aspect of athletics, fitness, recreation and wellness. And yes, that even includes an HydraFacial who offered free facials on the trade show floor. facials 2.jpg

    Day 4: Wednesday, November 20, 2013
    San Diego, CA
     
    Day one at the Athletic Business Conference & Expo is always a fun one. The seminars, keynote and trade show don't begin until Thursday, but Wednesday features the ABC Golf Classic, hands-on workshops and facility tours.


    ABC attendees and exhibitors hit the links at Coronado Municipal Golf Course.

    This year, attendees had two different tour options to choose from. Our friends from Missouri chose the tour that visited the McGrath Family YMCA and the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

    First up was the 35,000 square-foot YMCA which opened just three years ago, but has already expanded to serve more members. This facility has a state-of-the-art aquatic center as well as a softball facility and an indoor soccer arena.
    The second stop was Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista. The OTC provides everything athletes need to train including food services, sports medicine, biomechanics, strength and conditioning and more. The facility features facilities for archery, BMX, field hockey, rowing, rugby, and track and field.

    "The Olympic Center was an amazing experience,"
    Bach said. "We got to meet members of the rugby team hopefuls." Rugby will be a new addition to the next summer Olympics.
    Tour 2.jpg
    The Athletic Business Conference tours are not only a chance to sight see, but for facility managers and operators, they can serve as a valuable learning tool. You never know what great idea might be sparked by something seen at another facility. As one attendee put it, "Facility tours are the best part of the whole conference. I can get many ideas from a couple hours in a great facility." Tour 3.jpg
    With the business portion of the day in the books, Emily, Carrie and Diane set out for a little fun. Of course no trip to San Diego is complete without visiting the beautiful and historic Hotel del Coronado on Coronado Island. Coronado 3.JPG

    Day 3: Tuesday, November 19, 2013
    Sedona, AZ — San Diego, CA
    Miles Logged: 463
     
    01 Sedona.jpg7:00 am: The crew from the University of Missouri awoke and once again hit the road bright and early, but not before capturing the sunrise in beautiful Sedona.

    Day three turned out to be the shortest leg of the trip, "only" 463 miles. However, it was filled with plenty of action. Diane, Carrie and Emily encountered everything from prisons to aliens.
    The first stop of the day came nearly 300 miles after leaving Sedona when the MizzouRec staff stopped at the historic Yuma Territorial Prison. From 1876 until 1909, the prison held more than 3,000 prisoners. In pop culture the prison was made famous the by the western movie, 3:10 to Yuma. 02Yuma.JPG
    Just beyond Yuma, the group stopped for a picture at the Mexican border. 03Border.JPG
    After the stop at the border is where things started to get weird. As anyone who has taken a road trip knows, you never know just what you're going to see along the way. In the case of our friends from Mizzou, they ran into what appears to be aliens in the California desert! 04 aleins.jpg
    And if you look closely in the window of this RV, you can see for yourself. 05 aliens.jpg

    Fortunately, these aliens were friendly and the Mizzou crew was on their way to San Diego in no time. Around 4:00 pm, they officially arrived, marking the end of a 1,722 mile journey. Today, they're attending the Athletic Business Conference facility tours of the McGrath Family YMCA and the Olympic Training Center.

    They'll check in with another update tomorrow. As always, stay tuned for what's next!

    01MizzouRecblog.png

    Day 2: Monday, November 18, 2013
    Tucumcari, NM — Sedona, AZ
    Miles Logged: 523
     
    6:00 am: Monday morning our friends from MizzouRec were once again on the road bright and early. They hit the road and continued their way west. After a stop at the historic El Rancho hotel in Gallup, NM which was once a swanky hotel for movie stars shooting westerns, the crew continued west to the Painted Desert/Petrified Forest National Park in eastern Arizona where they snapped this beautiful photo. photo 2.JPG
    About 50 minutes later came the next stop at the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, AZ. It's safe to say attendees at this year's Athletic Business Conference & Expo won't be staying in anything that looks like this: 01 Wigwam.JPG

    Today's journey was "only" 523 miles. Before reaching the day's final destination of Sedona, the group from Missouri stopped in Winslow, AZ., an old town on the original Route 66. Winslow achieved national fame in 1972 thanks to the Eagles' song "Take it Easy" which has the line "standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona," which of course provided another photo op.

    01 Winslow.jpg

    As for what's next? You'll have to check back tomorrow for the latest adventures on the road to #ABCSanDiego...

    01MizzouRecblog.png


    Day 1: Sunday, November 17, 2013
    Columbia, MO — Tucumcari, NM
    Miles Logged: 736
     
    5:00 am: The staff departs the University of Missouri's Recreation Complex and heads southwest toward Joplin, Mo. After about a four hour drive in the white Chevy Suburban they lovingly refer to as the "white shark," they arrived. 01Joplin.JPG
    Next up, the white shark made it's way toward Oklahoma City. Just outside of OKC is the famous Route 66 restaurant, POPS in Arcadia, Ok. 02Pops.JPG
    From there, the crew followed Route 66 heading west as they crossed Oklahoma and into the northern tip of Texas. The next stop was the famous Cadillac Ranch in Potter, Texas. Cadillac ranch is a public art sculpture made entirely of used Cadillacs. It's also the name of a 1980 Bruce Springsteen song. 03 Cadillac Ranch.JPG
    After taking in the sights at Cadillac Ranch, the crew hopped back in their Chevy and traveled into New Mexico where they called it quits in Tucumcari, NM. Day one of the journey lasted approximately 14 hours and covered more than 800 miles! 03 Tucumcari.JPG

    As for what's next? You'll have to check back tomorrow for the latest adventures on the road to #ABCSanDiego...

    01MizzouRecblog.png

  • Blog: 9 Social Media Dos and Don'ts for Student-Athletes

    by Michael Gaio October 2013

    A professor of mine in journalism school at Missouri once said (actually, he tweeted): "Social media is like a gun. Smart people will use it as a useful tool, not-so-smart people will shoot themselves in the foot with it."