SPORTS AND FITNESS EXECUTIVES PRAISE INAUGURAL SFIA INDUSTRY LEADERS SUMMIT
SPORTS PARTICPATION, THE CONVERGENCE OF TECHNOLOGY AND SPORTS, THE IMPACT OF THE ECONOMY ON THE INDUSTRY AND FORECASTING THE RETAIL MARKETPLACE WERE A FEW OF THE KEY TOPICS ADDRESSED
SILVER SPRING, MD – September 26, 2013 – Executives from the sports and fitness industry praised the inaugural SFIA Industry Leaders Summit which was held in Baltimore, MD in The Four Seasons Hotel September 25-26. Attendees gathered to discuss the future of the industry and learn how they can best prepare their businesses for what lies ahead.
“The sessions were great,” said Modell’s CEO Mitchell Modell. “The networking was outstanding. This type of event…bringing together executives from the products brand companies, the leagues and the retailers…it was long overdue and it delivered.”
A recurring theme throughout the sessions was the need to address the decline in participation rates taking place across a wide number of activities. Tom Cove, SFIA President & CEO, discussed how inactivity will cost the sports and fitness industry $28 billion by 2018 if the industry doesn’t come together and take action.
During Under Armour Founder & CEO Kevin Plank’s keynote address, he stated that it is up to industry companies to take a collective, proactive approach to addressing the obesity and healthcare epidemic.
“We can’t afford to build bigger healthcare systems. We need people to be fit,” said Plank.
This was also addressed in the Professional Sports Executives panel discussion.
“The most important thing is for people to play or do something physical,” said NFL Executive Vice President Eric Grubman. “It’s a way to create more fans. It’s good for our country, good for the world, and good for business.”
With resounding support throughout the event, the SFIA announced a call-to-action to increase participation among all sports and activities. Along with the strong thought-leadership offerings, the event provided the opportunity for executives to network in a way that the industry has not seen since the days of the Super Show.
“The SFIA Industry Leaders Summit has ignited a spark for me professionally,” said Laura St. George, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Gared. “I plan on taking what I learned from the summit and applying to our strategic plan.”
The industry honored Isaiah Kacyvenski (MC 10 Sports), Keenan Long (Easton-Bell), Bob Najduk (Johnson Health Tech), Alex Stone (Under Armour), and Nathaniel Woo (Life Time Fitness) as the inaugural class of Future Industry Leader Scholars.
“Being a scholar, it was a great experience to hear and learn from executives on what the future of the industry will look like,” said Under Armour’s Alex Stone. “The networking opportunity to meet with so many great people with vast experience was invaluable.”
In addition to Kevin Plank, other keynote speakers included Ted Leonsis (Founder, Chairman and CEO, Monumental Sports & Entertainment), Hugh Hewitt (National Talk Show Host & Partner, Hewitt Wolensky McNulty & Hickson LLP), Jeffrey Rosensweig (Director of Global Perspectives, Emory University), Dan O’Connor (President & CEO, RetailNet Group), Joe Pellegrini (Co-Head Consumer & Retailer Group, Robert W. Baird & Co.) and Robert Reiss (Host of The CEO Show, Author of The Transformative CEO and Forbes Columnist).
The panel sessions included an examination of the Relationship between Professional Sports and the Sports & Fitness Product Industry which included Lisa Baird (CMO, USOC), Tim Brosnan (EVP, MLB), Eric Grubman (EVP, NFL), Brian Jennings (CMO, NHL), Sal LaRocca (EVP, NBA), and was moderated by Scott Baxter (President Jeanswear Americas & Imagewear, VF Corp.) A second panel was the Aspen Timeout session, which was hosted by Aspen Institute Director of Sports & Society and ESPN Reporter Tom Farrey, who discussed the keys to getting more people involved in sports and reducing the barriers to participation. The panel featured Christine Brennan (USA Today Columnist), Ed Foster-Simeon (US Soccer Foundation President & CEO), Dan Jablonic (Washington Capitals) and Caitlin Morris (Nike, Sr. Director for North America, Access to Sport). The final panel of the Industry Leaders Summit, the Global Industry President/CEO Roundtable, was moderated by Tom Cove and featured Scott Baxter (President Jeanswear Americas & Imagewear, VF Corp.), Sarah Fields (President, Century Martial Arts), Hugo Malan (President, Fitness Sporting Goods & Toys, Sears Holdings), and Dusty McCoy (Chairman and CEO, Brunswick Corporation).
The date and location of the 2014 Industry Leaders Summit will be announced later this fall. To stay updated on the latest information, visit www.sfia.org/ils.