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SGMA Members Offered Exclusive Opportunity For European Business Development

Date: 9/9/09

Washington, DC -- September 9, 2009 -- The SGMA has launched a new program, the SGMA European Help Desk, designed to assist member companies in improving their competitiveness in the European marketplace.  The SGMA European Help Desk will provide SGMA members direct access to experts who can provide and facilitate in a wide range of European business ventures such as effectively establishing new European markets or monitoring and - if necessary - restructuring existing markets, all with the benefit of preferred SGMA membership service rates.

“These challenging economic times require creative business solutions and our members tell us they often need expert advice on the ground in Europe,” said SGMA President/CEO Tom Cove.  “The European Help Desk will provide an efficient, economical tool to help our members address questions on licensing, cross cultural marketing, distribution, subsidiary relationships and European Union regulations.”

The program was developed in Munich, Germany by two prominent sports industry service providers -- Dr. Jochen M. Schaefer (sports industry legal counsel and practicing attorney) and Tanya Carter (co-owner of The Missing Link Brand Engineers). The European Help Desk provides an exclusive three-step solution for SGMA members, including a micro website; special member rates; and legal, sales and marketing advice. On request, the teams are also able to provide operative solutions through their network in Europe.

"In short, SGMA members will benefit from the exclusive advice of well-established sources that would normally be next to impossible to find independently and with a better price-quality ratio than ‘off-the-shelf’ service providers due to our special agreement,” commented Cove. To learn more  about SGMA's European Help Desk visit www.sgma.com/europeanhelpdesk .

In Step One, SGMA members can access brief free (in most cases) advice on a strictly confidential basis from the Munich-based team. Based on need, Step Two consists of a strategic or operative plan on a pre-negotiated preferential fee basis. In Step Three, if members decide to move ahead with European expansion, the European-based advisors can assist in coordinating the agreed-upon strategies including sales, marketing and legal advice. The program enables SGMA members to launch business in Europe without costly ‘trial and error’ due to lack of local knowledge and contacts. Once SGMA members have established an initial or expanded brand presence, they can either retain advisory services or work on a project-by-project basis. This style of doing business is becoming increasingly more popular in Europe due to the complex nature of business in the European Union.

Members will benefit from Schaefer’s extensive legal knowledge with more than 25 years experience in the global sporting goods industry and his ability to create professional legal solutions that are understandable and acceptable for all parties. This type of expertise is highly beneficial to companies who are unsure of legal issues when opening or conducting European operations since it provides solid platforms for contractual negotiations. It also substantially accelerates the implementation process resulting in considerable cost savings.

The Missing Link Brand Engineers team includes an American-born partner, Tanya Carter, with 18 years of sports industry experience as head of international sales and marketing divisions for companies such as Olin Skis, PreSkis, K2 Skis and LOWA boots. The management team is rounded up with product developers who hold international product patents and even a partner that brings retail experience to the table as a former Intersport shop owner, one of Europe’s oldest and biggest sports industry buying groups.

The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products industry.  SGMA helps lead the sports and fitness industries by fostering participation through research, thought leadership, product promotion, and public policy.  More information about SGMA membership, SGMA Research, and SGMA's National Health Through Fitness Day can be found at www.SGMA.com .

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